In most cases, a first or second DUI without any “aggravating elements” will be tried as a misdemeanor crime. DUI is a criminal crime in the state of Florida. To be found guilty of the charge, one must demonstrate impairment of “normal faculties” and unlawful blood alcohol or breath alcohol level of 0.08 or above. The following material is intended for persons who have received their first criminal conviction.
Punishments for Dui in Florida
1. Fines: If this is your first conviction, you will be fined between $500 and $2,000, depending on the severity of the offense. Suppose your blood alcohol level is. If you have a youngster in the vehicle, you will be fined between $2,000 and $4,000, depending on the circumstances.
2. Community Service: If this is your first sentence, you will be required to complete 50 hours of community or pay a fine of $10 per hour of needed community service. If this is your second conviction, you will be required to complete an additional 50 hours of community service.
Provisional Release (Probation): For first offenses, the total duration of probation and incarceration will not exceed one year.
3. Imprisonment: The court has the authority to sentence someone to prison. Residential alcoholism or drug misuse treatment programs can be used to satisfy the requirements of a sentence and be counted toward the total time spent in jail. Your first conviction will result in a maximum of 6 months in prison.
If your blood alcohol level is.15 or greater, or if there were a youngster in the car, you would receive a sentence of no more than nine months in prison or community service.
Driving While Under the Influence of Alcohol (DUI) is defined as follows:
It’s easy to think that all DUI cases involve the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Indeed, if Stephen, however, for the case to be successful, the prosecutor must establish that Stephen was influenced by drugs or alcohol. It is possible to obtain proof from a variety of sources.
Consider the following scenario: If an officer who pulls Stephen over does a breathalyzer exam and Stephen blows an.08 or more on the test, this can be taken as evidence that he was driving under the influence. Additionally, if Stephen agrees to a blood alcohol test and an officer, for example, puts Stephen through a battery of field sobriety tests and determines that he is intoxicated, the officer can arrest him.
In addition to being administered during a routine traffic stop, field sobriety tests can be administered at the site of an accident or a sobriety checkpoint.
If the officer believes they observe indicators of impairment – such as slurred speech or glassy eyes, for example – it is sufficient to establish the reasonable suspicion necessary to give field sobriety tests to the suspect. If he has a blood alcohol level of.08 or more, this can be used as evidence against him in court.
According to the officer who gives the test, the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test is used to determine whether or not Stephen’s brain’s capacity to regulate his eye muscles is impaired by alcohol or another substance. They’re not seeking to see if his eyeballs bounce back and forth but rather to see if they follow the officer’s pen as it moves across Stephen’s field of view.
During the Walk and Turn test, the officials assess Stephen’s ability to follow directions and make specific motions. They instruct him to walk nine steps heel-to-toe in a straight line, pivot on one foot, and then walk another nine steps heel-to-toe in a straight line. The officer will check for the following signs to determine whether Stephen uses his arms to balance, deviates from the bar, or miscounts the number of steps.
Operating a Motor Vehicle While Under the effect of Another Substance
Alcohol is only one of the drugs that can result in a DUI arrest in Florida. Drinking while under the influence of illegal or legal substances, prescription or non-prescription medications, or a mix of drugs and alcohol can cause impairment, resulting in a DUI arrest and prosecution. Consider the following scenario: Stephen goes to bed after taking his evening pills, including anti-anxiety medications and an anti-depressant, and then receives a phone call from his wife.
She claims she has become stranded and requires Stephen’s assistance retrieving her. Should his ability to drive be impaired due to the prescriptions and he is stopped over, Stephen may be arrested for driving under the influence. The same conclusion would be reached if Stephen had smoked marijuana, inhaled alkyl nitrites, or injected heroin before getting behind the wheel.
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs in Florida has serious consequences.
According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, 33,873 people were seized for driving in Florida in 2019. While arrests for driving under the influence are not uncommon, the consequences of a conviction can be devastating. As a follow-up to the previous question, “Is driving under the influence a crime in Florida?” the answer is that it is dependent on a person’s prior criminal record.
A first-time DUI conviction is usually charged as a misdemeanor in most jurisdictions. A conviction results in a fine of between $500 and $1,000 and a possible jail sentence of six months. Instead of going to jail, it may be possible to earn probation and be obliged to attend DUI school in place of incarceration. Additional penalties include an automatic driver’s license suspension after a first DUI conviction for one year.
Fines and imprisonment are only the tip of the iceberg.
When it comes to a misdemeanor or felony DUI conviction in Florida, the prison time and costs of the offense only tell part of the tale. An arrest and conviction for DUI result in a slew of additional bills and heartbreaks. Consider the example of a DUI conviction on your record: you will almost certainly have your driver’s license suspended or revoked due to your conviction. That entails spending a significant amount of money out of pocket for alternate modes of transportation.
After all, you can only rely on the generosity of friends and family for so long until you run out of options. You’ll be required to pay a continuous stream of money to Lyft or Uber to transport you to and from work, shopping, or take you anywhere else you need to go.
What a Florida DUI Attorney Can Do to Assist
It’s understandable that if you’ve been arrested for a misdemeanor or felony DUI in Florida, you might be wondering how hiring a Florida DUI attorney will help. The truth is that having a Florida DUI attorney on your side might be the difference between spending time in prison and being able to put the incident behind you permanently.
An attorney who has extensive experience representing Floridians who have been charged with driving under the influence understands the various defenses that may be available to them. These are some examples: Legality of the Traffic Stop: Your attorney may challenge the legality of the traffic stop conducted by the police officer.
The DUI checkpoint would breach your constitutional rights, for example, if the officer stopped you without reasonable suspicion that you were driving under the influence. Illegal Search: If the officer searched your vehicle or your person without your consent, your counsel could argue that the open container or substance that the officer discovered is inadmissible in court since it was located in an open container or on your person.
If the officer didn’t have enough training to administer the field sobriety tests, or if a medical condition caused your poor performance, your attorney can question the legitimacy of the field sobriety tests. Obtaining Inaccurate Breathalyzer Results: Your attorney can challenge your breathalyzer results by claiming that you were not given the required 20 minutes before administering the test, that the machine was not correctly calibrated, or that you had residual alcohol in your mouth, which tainted the results.
If I’m guilty of DUI, will I have to serve time in jail?
No, not for the first time in a court of law. On the other hand, a second conviction occurring within five (5) years of the first conviction has a mandatory minimum prison sentence of ten (10) days. It is compulsory under the law to serve a minimum of thirty (30) days in prison after receiving a third conviction within ten (10) years of a prior conviction.
If you’ve been charged with a DUI or arrested, here’s what you should do next.
If you have been charged with a DUI, you must contact an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible. Such an advocate should be well-versed in all of the nuances of the law about DUI convictions and should be able to assist you in making the best decisions and saying the right things in the courtroom.
It is especially critical to retain the help of a criminal defense attorney if you believe that you were unlawfully arrested or if there were aggravating circumstances involved. Having a lawyer on your side can permit you to move more rapidly toward acquiring a court date and dealing with any license suspensions that may have occurred. If you or a loved one has been arrested or charged with a DUI, contact the law firm of Lufrano Legal, P.A. for a no-obligation initial consultation.
Furthermore, while the easiest way to prevent prosecution is never to drink and drive, you or someone you care about may be charged with a DUI at some point in the future.