SARASOTA DUI ATTORNEY
Helping people who have been arrested and charged with DUI throughout Sarasota and Manatee Counties
FLORIDA DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE LAW
If you are arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Florida, the penalties can be severe. Under Florida law, a DUI offense occurs when a driver operates, or is found in actual physical control of, a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the extent that the driver's normal faculties are impaired or with a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or higher. Blood alcohol levels are measured by administering a breath test on an Intoxilyzer machine or by taking a urine or blood sample.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some frequently asked question related to Driving Under the Influence and the law in Florida
Can you keep me from having to go to jail?
Most likely yes. Our DUI clients very, very rarely are sentenced to jail. Even in cases involving property damage and prior DUI's there are things that can be done, and legal issues that can be fought, that can usually keep you from having to serve a jail sentence.
What does "in actual physical control" mean?
Actual physical control of a vehicle means the person was in the vehicle and had the ability to operate the vehicle, regardless of whether the person was actually operating the vehicle at the time.
What is a "wheel witness" in a DUI?
A "wheel witness" is an essential witness in a DUI case. The prosecutor must be able to prove that the individual accused of DUI was, in fact, driving the vehicle or in actual physical control of the vehicle.
Can I be convicted of DUI if I was not Drinking?
The state must be able prove that you were under the influence of alcohol, a harmful chemical substance set forth by Florida law, or any controlled substance, in order to successfully convict you for driving under the influence. If the state has no evidence that you were under the influence of one of these things than they likely do not have a DUI case.
Will I have to get an ignition interlock device installed?
An "ignition interlock" is a device typically installed on the dashboard of a vehicle that requires a person to provide a breath sample by blowing into the device in order to start the vehicle. In Florida, if a person is convicted of driving under the influence (DUI), they will sometimes be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle. This will depend upon what type of DUI they are convicted of.
Refusal of the Breath Test
While first time offenders are generally permitted to refuse a breath test, if there is a refusal, administrative consequences with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will result.
If you refuse the test, your driver license will be immediately suspended and your refusal to submit to testing can be used in court as evidence against you.
If you are arrested again for DUI in the future, and you refuse to submit to a breath test a second time, you can be charged with an additional criminal charge of refusal.
Driver’s License Suspension
When you are arrested for driving under the influence in Florida, your driver’s license will be suspended. If this is your first DUI offense and your blood alcohol level was measured at .08 percent or higher, your license will be suspended for six months. In the event that you refused to submit to a breathalyzer test, your license will be suspended for one year.
If this is not your first refusal of lawful blood, breath or urine test, the penalties will be more severe. For those who refused a prior lawful breath, blood or urine test, your license will be suspended for 18 months, and an additional misdemeanor charge of “refusal” will be brought against you.
It is possible to save your driver’s license. Contact us for more information regarding the administrative process to help preserve your driving privilege.
If you've been charged with DUI and received traffic tickets you may not have to pay them!
What is the 20 minute observation period in a DUI?
If the police did not adequately comply, the breath test result can be inadmissible in court.
The state wants jail for my DUI, can I do rehab instead?
It may be possible to do a rehab program instead of having to go to jail.
Was there an emergency and you had no choice but to drive?
Learn about the necessity defense and how it is relevant to DUI.
Act Quickly! - Florida 10 Day Rule
If you have been arrested for a DUI, you will need to take action quickly. Under Florida law, you have the option to challenge your license suspension by requesting an administrative review hearing. Alternatively, you may choose to waive your right to the review hearing and request the immediate issuance of a Business Purpose Only (BPO) license.
If you are issued a BPO license you will only be permitted to drive in order to maintain your livelihood (this would include driving for work, educational, church or medical reasons). In the event that you have been convicted of a previous DUI or have had an earlier DUI license suspension, you will not be eligible for the “fast track” to a BPO license.
Regardless of which option you choose, you only have 10 days from the date of your arrest to take action. There are certain procedures that need to be followed no matter which option you decide is best for you.
DUI Fines, Penalties and Imprisonment
If you are convicted of a DUI in Florida, the penalties and fines can be harsh. If this is your first conviction the fine will generally range from $500 to $1,000. In the event that your blood alcohol level is measured at .15% or higher, or a minor was in your vehicle, the fine will increase to $1,000-$2,000.
The fine ranges for repeat offenders are higher and depend upon the number of prior DUI convictions. Additionally, DUI fines may be increased substantially if you are in an accident involving property damage, injury or death of another person while you are driving under the influence.
What is the potential punishment for DUI case?
In addition to fines, if you are convicted of a DUI you may be subject to other penalties, including imprisonment. First time offenders can be sentenced to jail for a period of six to nine months depending upon their blood alcohol levels.
Jail periods increase for repeat offenders if the DUI driver is involved in an accident that causes property damage or injuries to another person.
If someone dies as a result of a driving under the influence accident, the charge becomes DUI Manslaughter and there is a potential prison sentence of up to 15 years in prison. If one leaves the scene of a deadly accident without rendering aid, they can be convicted of a first-degree felony and subject to a prison sentence of up to 30 years.
Contact The Experienced DUI Attorneys at Soler & Simon
A DUI conviction can have serious and long-lasting effects on your life. If you are dealing with a DUI arrest, you should discuss your situation with a lawyer who is familiar with Florida’s DUI laws as soon as possible. When you contact our firm, our experienced DUI lawyers will review your case in confidence and help you to determine the best course of action.
Choose the lawyers who know how to fight, and beat, Driving Under the Influence cases. Call us for a free DUI case evaluation.