Tampa Florida Criminal Defense And DUI Information And Articles

Overview And Basic Information For DUI Penalties In Florida

A DUI conviction is very serious in the State of Florida. Not only will you face legal or Criminal problems but it can be a very expensive experience to go through. Listed below is a brief overview of “some” of the criminal penalties that you will incur. In this article we will only scratch the surface and touch on a few issues regarding basic DUI penalties in Florida. For more serious DUI offenses or repeat offenders the criminal and financial aspects can be astronomical. You should check the complete statutes or consult a licensed Attorney for more information on specific cases.

DUI (Driving Under the Influence of Alcoholic Beverages, Chemical Substances or Controlled Substances). s. 316.193, F.S.

Under Florida law, DUI is one offense, proved by impairment of normal faculties or unlawful blood alcohol or breath alcohol level of .08 or above. The penalties upon conviction are the same, regardless of the manner in which the offense is proven.

Fine Schedule s. 316.193(2)(a)-(b), F.S.

First Conviction: Not less than $500, or more than $1,000. With Blood/Breath Alcohol Level (BAL) of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle: Not less than $1,000, or more than $2,000.

Second Conviction: Not less than $1,000, or more than $2,000. With BAL of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle: Not less than $2,000, or more than $4,000.

Third Conviction More than 10 years from second:
Not less than $2,000, or more than $5,000. With BAL of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle: Not less than $4,000.

Fourth or Subsequent Conviction: Not less than $2,000.

Community Service – s. 316.193 (6)(a), F.S.

First Conviction: Mandatory 50 hours of community service or additional fine of $10 for each hour of community service required.

Probation – s. 316.193 (5)(6), F.S.

First conviction, total period of probation and incarceration may not exceed 1 year.

Imprisonment- s. 316.193 (2)(a) 2, 4(b), (6)(j), F.S.

At court’s discretion, sentencing terms may be served in a residential alcoholism or drug abuse treatment program, credited toward term of imprisonment.

First Conviction: Not more than 6 months. With BAL of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle: Not more than 9 months.

Second Conviction: Not more than 9 months. With BAL of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle: Not more than 12 months. If second conviction within 5 years, mandatory imprisonment of at least 10 days. At least 48 hours of confinement must be consecutive.

Third Conviction:
If third conviction within 10 years, mandatory imprisonment of at least 30 days. At least 48 hours of confinement must be consecutive. If third conviction more than 10 years, imprisonment for not more than 12 months.

Fourth or Subsequent Conviction: Not more than 5 years or as provided in s.775.084, Florida Statutes, as habitual/violent offender.

Impoundment of Immobilization of Vehicle – s. 316.193 (6), F.S.

Unless the family of the defendant has no other transportation: First conviction = 10 days; second conviction within 5 years = 30 days; third conviction within 10 years = 90 days. Impoundment or immobilization must not occur concurrently with incarceration. The court may dismiss the order of impoundment of any vehicles that are owned by the defendant if they are operated solely by the employees of the defendant or any business owned by the defendant.

In addition to the penalties listed above you will be arrested on the spot and the conditions for release are listed below.

Conditions for Release of Persons Arrested for DUI-s. 316.193 (9), F.S.

  • The person is no longer under the influence and;
  • The person’s normal faculties are no longer impaired
  • The person’s blood/breath alcohol level is lower than 0.05; or
  • Eight hours have elapsed from the time the person was arrested.

Keep in mind that this article just touches on the basic penalties associated with a DUI offense. There are many more consequences associated with a conviction. Greater penalties can occur if there is bodily injury or property damage involved.

What to do if you are arrested for a DUI

As a general rule any time you are arrested it is a good idea to invoke your right to remain silent and call a Lawyer as soon as they will allow you to. You should be cooperative and polite but take advantage of your right to remain silent. You are not going to talk your way out of anything.

It is in your best interest to call an attorney immediately and let them communicate for you. A good DUI Defense Attorney will be able to explain and guide you through the entire process. The sooner you call the better off you will be. This will give the attorney a better chance and more time to find ways to help you. Since your license will be in jeopardy you will want your lawyer to get to work right away to help you keep your driving privileges.

In many cases a good attorney may be able to have the charges reduced or maybe even dismissed depending on your specific circumstances.

About the Author

Choosing the right DUI defense attorney is an important decision. For more information on Florida DUI laws and defenses or a free consultation, visit Florida DUI Lawyers

You Should Hire A Lawyer Immediately When Arrested

Why you should hire me immediately upon arrest:

Most times when people get arrested, the police file a probable cause affidavit that goes to a judge to determine your bond. Cops are not lawyers.

The lawyers who decide whether to file charges, or which charges will be filed, are called “prosecutors” or “state attorneys.” Shortly after your arrest, the prosecutor will subpoena all the witnesses against you to attend what’s called an “invest.” At the “invest” (short for investigation), the state attorney gathers evidence from these witnesses to see whether they have all the elements of a crime which can be proven to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt. If they do have all the information, they will file a formal charge against you. The formal charging document is called an “Information.” It will detail the statute you violated and the date it was allegedly committed. If not, a NINF (No Information) will be filed.

A qualified Attorney can influence the outcome of an “invest.” Without a lawyer intervening on your behalf at this invest, all the prosecutor will hear are the accusations against you. There is no balance or anticipated defenses for them to consider. What an Attorney will do is convey all of your defenses to them in writing and by telephone contact. This way, they are able to consider legal hurdles that may exist (i.e. motions to suppress based on illegal search or seizure, or Miranda violations) as well as factual disputes they will have to anticipate at trial either by your testimony or the testimony of additional defense witnesses who were not interviewed at the scene. It is critical that your Attorney intervene on your behalf as soon as possible to even the playing field on your behalf. Countless cases have been positively affected through my early involvement and intervention.

For example, let’s say the police stopped a vehicle where you were a passenger. The police then searched the car and maybe you. You were then arrested for possession of cocaine, marijuana, oxycodone or some other controlled substance, or drug trafficking. Many issues could potentially exist which could lead to charges not being filed. The police may have violated your right against unreasonable search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment of the Florida and United States Constitutions. If you were the driver, perhaps the police didn’t have the right to pull you over in the first place. You may not have committed a traffic infraction. Reasonable suspicion of a criminal activity may not have existed to detain you. If your constitutional rights were violated and those violations led to evidence being seized, a motion to suppress could be filed on your behalf, potentially leading to a dismissal of your charges.

Confessions can be extremely damaging evidence in your case. Your Miranda rights protect you from incriminating yourself. If you were in custody (not free to leave) and were asked incriminating questions (questions designed to elicit damaging information against you), were had to be read your Miranda rights and knowingly and voluntarily agreed to waive the rights and speak with law enforcement. If this did not happen, your confession may be thrown out after a hearing on the matter. So let’s say you were being questioned by police about your possible involvement in a Grand Theft charge, Domestic Violence allegation, Dealing in Stolen Property, Doctor Shopping or Drug Trafficking investigation and you gave a confession or statement that is being used against you, that confession may be thrown out if you were not properly Mirandized or if the police are twisting your words and a Judge feels the confession is not accurate or reliable.

Drug Trafficking arrests are becoming increasingly common. The prosecutor does not have to prove you were selling drugs to present a case to a jury for drug trafficking against you. Florida Statutes on trafficking charges only require that you possessed a certain amount of prescription drugs without a prescription. Many times, the amount of pills needed to make a trafficking charge are minimal. We are experienced at helping clients avoid trafficking convictions. Your lawyer can intervene on your behalf to show that your possession of pills stemmed from a drug habit that developed as the result of an injury. Some clients of Hamilton Law Services have even had their drug trafficking, doctor shopping and/or withholding information from a practitioner arrest records sealed after their cases were resolved. Getting arrest records sealed in Florida allows clients to lawfully deny they were ever even arrested in many circumstances.

If you are a professional who has been arrested, Florida licensing agencies can institute an action against you. For instance, if you are in the medical profession and are arrested, the Department of Health can investigate you to see if you are a danger to the public safety. Our law firm can advocate on your behalf to protect your license and your livelihood.

Immediately after you are arrested, call a local Attorney to schedule for a free initial consultation. Put legal experience to work for you. You need an experienced and passionate attorney working on your behalf to make sure your Constitutional rights are protected and to treat you with the respect and dignity you deserve.

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