DUI Defense Lawyer in Stuart, Florida

At Meltzer & Bell, P.A., we are committed to helping Stuart residents accused of DUI offenses to prepare for the best defense possible and fight the charges. As experienced DUI defense lawyers with a track record across the Treasure Coast region (Martin County, Indian River County) and Maricopa County, we have helped many DUI-charged clients get acquittals, reduced charges, case dismissals, and many other favorable case outcomes.

 

A DUI charge can alter your life if you get convicted. Potential imprisonment, license suspension, challenges securing employment, are some dire consequences that can follow a DUI conviction. Not forgetting the financial implications such as higher insurance rates, the cost of installing an ignition interlock device (IID) if required to do so, and so forth.

Besides, the fact that the offense stays on your driving record for decades means that you might not be able to purge the charge out of your criminal history for a long time. For this reason, getting an experienced DUI defense attorney to fight the charges aggressively is essential.

If you are facing a DUI charge in Stuart, Florida, you are welcome to visit us at Meltzer & Bell, P.A., so our DUI lawyers can help you consider your defense options. We advise that you do not wait until it is too late; the earlier you get legal counsel on your case, the better. Contact us anytime for a free consultation.

Why Meltzer & Bell, P.A. Stuart DUI Lawyers

At Meltzer & Bell, P.A. Stuart, our sole focus is defending clients facing DUI and criminal offenses. We always consider it an honor when a client approaches us to represent them. And in acknowledgment of the faith they have in us, we leave no stone unturned to give them the defense they deserve. Thus, we exploit every available option to defend our clients aggressively.

With offices in both Stuart and Fort Pierce, we are ready to help you win the best possible outcome.

We are…

Client-Driven Law Firm

At Meltzer & Bell, P.A., we treasure our clients. From our intake staff to the attorneys, we know how valuable your freedom is. Moreover, we understand how stressful facing a criminal charge is, no matter its magnitude. Hence, our commitment to providing compassionate and empathic legal services.

Having walked many other clients on this journey, we believe your life should come before everything else. This fuels our passion to fight for you even more, as we know every submission we make is a deciding factor for your future. No matter how simple or complex your case is, with us, you are in good hands.

Approachable

Once you hire us to defend you, you know you have a personal representative you can talk to freely and openly. Technically, we work as your voice but have the advantage of being knowledgeable in the relevant laws and experience in similar cases. Thus, we have developed a culture that allows our clients to relate with us comfortably and benefit from our legal counsel in the best way possible.

Besides, we are accessible 24/7. Whenever you have an urgent matter that needs our attention, you can get in touch with us regardless of the time, through email or phone call.

Experienced DUI Defense Lawyers

Any defense lawyer can represent you. And as much as no one can accurately predict the outcome in any trial case, having an attorney experienced in handling similar cases is always a plus.

At Meltzer & Bell, P.A., we are experienced in representing DUI clients in Stuart and across Florida. We understand the specific laws governing DUI offenses, besides being conversant with the Stuart DUI prosecution landscape. Though there are no two similar cases, our experience in local DUI trial charges helps us navigate the cases better.

Proven Track Record

Once we take up your case, we do not promise to win. However, we promise to give it our all and exploit every legal option available to fight for a favorable outcome.

As much as no lawyer can be justified by promising to win your case, it is always safer to work with a law firm with a proven track record. At Meltzer & Bell, P.A., we have over 500 5-star reviews, thanks to the many cases we have represented successfully.


Overview of DUI Defense in Treasure Coast, FL


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Definition of DUI Under Florida Laws

Under Florida laws, a person is guilty of a DUI offense if they drive or are in physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, an unlawful chemical substance or a controlled substance, that impairs their faculties.

To be charged with DUI, a law enforcement officer must establish through a test that either your blood-alcohol level is 0.08 grams or more per 100 milliliters of blood or your breath-alcohol level is 0.08 grams or more per 210 liters of breath.


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Penalties of DUI Offense in Florida

DUI Lawyer Stuart Florida

Upon conviction for a DUI offense, the penalties may vary depending on the magnitude of the offense and whether it is a first or repeat violation. For instance, second and subsequent offenses carry stiffer penalties than the first one. However, the fate of a first-time DUI offender can change significantly if they cause an accident resulting in bodily injury or death.

Generally, Florida penalizes DUI offenses as follows.

First Conviction

  • Fine – $500-1,000
  • Imprisonment – Maximum 6 months
  • Community service – 50 hours
  • Vehicle impoundment – 10 days
  • License suspension – 6 months
  • Probation
  • DUI school

Second Conviction

  • Fine – $1,000-2,000
  • Imprisonment – Maximum 9 months 
  • Ignition interlock device – At least one year
  • Community service – 50 hours
  • License suspension – 12 months
  • Probation
  • DUI school
  • Second conviction (within five years after prior conviction)
    • Imprisonment – At least ten days
    • Vehicle impoundment – 30 days

Third Conviction (Within ten years after prior conviction) – Third-degree felony

  • Fine – Maximum $5,000
  • Imprisonment – Maximum 5 years
  • Ignition interlock device – At least two years
  • Community service – 50 hours
  • License revocation – Up to 10 years
  • Hardship license ineligibility – 2 years
  • Probation
  • DUI school
  • Third or subsequent conviction (within ten years of a prior conviction)
  • Imprisonment – At least 30 days
  • Vehicle impoundment – 90 days

Third Conviction (More than ten years after prior conviction)

  • Fine – $2,000-5,000
  • Imprisonment – Maximum 12 months
  • Ignition interlock device – At least two years
  • Probation
  • DUI school

Fourth or Subsequent Conviction (Third-degree felony)

  • Fine – $2,000-5,000
  • Imprisonment – Maximum 5 years
  • Probation
  • DUI school

Aggravated Penalties

Penalties for DUI with damage to property or person (First-degree misdemeanor)

  • Fine – Maximum $1,000
  • Imprisonment – Maximum one year
  • Probation
  • DUI school

Penalties for DUI with serious bodily injury (Third-degree felony)

  • Fine – Maximum $5,000
  • Imprisonment – Maximum 5 years
  • Probation
  • DUI school

Penalties for DUI with the death of a person or unborn child (DUI manslaughter)

Second-degree felony

  • Fine – Maximum $10,000
  • Imprisonment – Maximum 15 years
  • Probation
  • DUI school

First-degree felony (Knew or should have known the crash occurred and failed to render aid)

  • Fine – Maximum $10,000
  • Imprisonment – Maximum 30 years
  • Probation
  • DUI school

Penalties for DUI with a blood-alcohol level of 0.15 or more and with underage passenger

First Conviction

  • Fine – $1,000-2,000
  • Imprisonment – Maximum 9 months
  • Ignition interlock device – At least six months
  • Probation
  • DUI school

Second Conviction

  • Fine – $2,000-4,000
  • Imprisonment – Maximum 12 months
  • Ignition interlock device – At least two years
  • Probation
  • DUI school

Third or Subsequent Conviction

  • Fine – At least $4,000
  • Probation
  • DUI school

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Implied Consent Laws

According to Florida law, a person who operates a motor vehicle within the state consents to submit to a chemical or physical test to determine whether they are intoxicated while operating the vehicle. Refusing to submit to the test is an offense and attracts the following penalties;

First Refusal

  • Fine – $500
  • License suspension – One year

Repeat Refusal (First-degree misdemeanor)

  • License suspension – 18 months
  • Fine – Maximum $1,000
  • Imprisonment – Maximum one year

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Breathalyzer Testing

If a law enforcement officer stops you or finds you in physical control of a vehicle and has a reasonable cause to believe you are under the influence of alcohol, an unlawful chemical substance, or a controlled substance, they may request you to perform a breathalyzer test to determine your intoxication level.

The legal breath-alcohol content must be below 0.08 grams per 210 liters of breath. Otherwise, the law deems any levels above this to be capable of impairing your faculties while driving, hence unlawful.


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How Can Hiring a DUI Lawyer Help?

Florida is aggressive in prosecuting DUI charges. Going to trial without a lawyer puts you at the mercy of prosecutors who leave no stone unturned to pin you down for drunk driving. In addition, if there are other aggravating factors to the charges, such as property damage or bodily injury to another person, you should expect to face the personal injury attorneys representing those other parties. In this case, your chances at freedom become slimmer.

Actually, whenever you are facing criminal charges, it is always advisable to hire a personal defense attorney to fight for you. Besides gathering evidence and representing you in court, a local attorney, in this case, a Stuart-based DUI lawyer, can prove beneficial. Since they are well conversant with the local prosecution system, they are better placed to prepare strong defense submissions based on their past experiences. But above all, a DUI lawyer understands the relevant laws, which enables them to prepare possible defenses to counter the accusations.

Among other things, a DUI lawyer can help you;

  • Examine your case and conduct investigations to gather necessary information for trial
  • Develop a strong defense strategy to minimize the chances of conviction
  • Prepare eyewitnesses and expert witnesses
  • Take full advantage of the applicable laws
  • Caution you against don’ts that might compromise your case
  • Represent you in court and defend you against the charges
  • Determine the best plea for your case
  • Negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor (if necessary)
  • Appeal sentencing (if it happens)
  • Expunge your record (if convicted)

In a nutshell, without a dedicated lawyer working on your DUI case, there is usually so much at stake. Thus, it is always in your best interests to get an experienced attorney to fight your criminal charges, however their magnitude. Even if they do not succeed at getting the charges dismissed or winning an acquittal, they can exploit available legal provisions to get your charges reduced.

Ideally, a defense lawyer works aggressively to mitigate the apparent consequences and better your situation as much as possible.


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DUI Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most common DUI penalties?

DUI penalties vary depending on the severity of the offense and whether it is a first or repeat offense. But generally, a conviction almost always attracts penalties in the form of fines. You may also face imprisonment, community service, license suspension and enrollment in a DUI school.

Is DUI a felony offense?

DUI is a criminal offense, but it is not necessarily a felony. Mostly, first-time DUI offenses are charged as misdemeanor violations. But where there are aggravating factors such as an accident resulting in bodily injury or death, the crime is treated as a felony whether it is a first or repeat offense.

How long does a DUI offense stay on my record?

Once convicted of a DUI, it stays on your driving record for several decades. Hence, the importance of hiring experienced DUI defense lawyers to aggressively fight the charges. In Florida, the offense can stay on your driving record for up to 75 years.

Do my insurance premiums go up after a DUI conviction in Stuart, FL?

Yes. Following a conviction, you are subject to higher insurance premiums for 3 years. For instance, Florida law requires you to increase your cover to at least $100,000 for bodily injury and up to $300,000 per accident, plus $50,000 for property damage.

What defenses can I use to fight my DUI?

There are several defenses you can ride on to secure a lighter sentence, request for case dismissal or fight for an acquittal. For instance, you could admit you were guilty of the DUI but present arguments to justify your actions or deny you did not commit the crime. Examples of possible defenses include;

    • Necessity – It was necessary to drive, and you did not have an option
    • Duress – You were forced by someone to drive while drunk
    • Actual physical control – You were found maybe passed out behind the wheel but had no intention of driving
    • Entrapment – You argue a law enforcement officer/agent trapped you
    • Challenging traffic stop – There was no reason for the officer to stop you
    • Wheel witness – There is no evidence to prove you were the one driving
    • Challenging the tests – You could argue the officer did not follow the right protocols when conducting the tests

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Fight Your Stuart DUI Charges With the Help of Meltzer & Bell, P.A. Lawyers

Once charged with DUI violations, your chance at freedom or even a clean driving record depends on how well you can present your defense to counter the charges. It would be misleading to promise that we will win your case, but hiring us comes with a solid assurance – we commit 100% to providing the best defense possible to secure a favorable outcome. We have represented many clients in DUI charges in Stuart, Florida. So you can trust our experienced counsel. To learn your legal options for your case, contact us today for a free consultation.


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