Driving under the influence is one of the most common crimes committed in Florida. As with every other state in the nation, driving under the influence is prohibited in the Sunshine State, and a conviction can carry time in jail and hefty fines.
When a driver is arrested in Florida for a DUI, she or he will not only face criminal penalties but administrative penalties as well. The best way to defend yourself is to speak with an experienced DUI attorney.
Defense Attorneys for First DUI in Treasure Coast, FL
Just because you were arrested for DUI doesn’t mean you can’t fight the charges. Meltzer & Bell is an experienced DUI defense firm that will strive to protect your rights and possibly get the charges against you reduced or dismissed.
Call Meltzer & Bell today at (772) 291-2534 or submit your information in the online form to set up a free case consultation. We proudly represent clients in Martin and Saint Lucie County.
Florida sees almost 5,500 DUI related accidents a year, and the state has established strict laws to combat the issue. Florida defines driving under the influence as driving or in physical control of a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher.
Most DUIs involve driving a vehicle, but it’s possible to receive a DUI without actually moving your vehicle. In Florida, it is illegal to be in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence. For example, police find a drunken motorist passed out in his car with the keys in hand. Because he was in the front seat and in possession of the keys, the motorist could be charged with a DUI.
Florida also has implied consent laws that typically require all motorists who are lawfully arrested for a DUI to submit to a chemical test. A chemical test can be done using breath, urine or blood samples and it’s used to determine the amount of alcohol or drugs in the driver’ system. Refusing to submit to a chemical test can result in a license suspension ranging from one year to 18 months.
Being convicted of driving under the influence in Florida comes with both criminal and administrative penalties. And while there are no required minimum penalties for the first offense, you could still face jail time and fines. The penalties for a first DUI offense depend on a number of factors and are listed below:
- A standard first DUI offense is punishable by no more than 6 months in jail and at least $500 in fines but not more than $1,000
- For a BAC over .15% or having a passenger in the vehicle who is under 18, you could face up to nine months in jail and fines ranging from $1,000 to $2,000
- If there was an accident involving property damage or minor injuries, you could face one year in jail and fines ranging from $1,000 to $2,000.
- If the accident involved serious bodily injury, you could face five years in jail and fines up to $5,000 in fines.
Not only will you face criminal penalties, but administrative ones as well. These penalties can include a license suspension for up a year.
Just because you were arrested for a DUI doesn’t mean you’re guilty. The best defense you can take is retaining legal counsel from a firm with a proven defense record such as Meltzer & Bell. Listed below are possible defenses to a DUI charge:
DUI Testing Errors: DUI tests have a large margin of error and are incredibly flawed. A driver’s medical conditions, lack of coordination, fatigue, physical limitations and environmental conditions can affect the test result.
No Miranda Rights: Law enforcement is required to read Miranda rights to suspects in police custody before questioning. If a suspect is not read Miranda rights and they make an incriminating statement in response to police questioning, the statement will likely be thrown out of court.
Illegal Traffic Stop: There must be reasonable suspicion a law is being violated for a law enforcement officer to make a traffic stop. If an officer does not have reasonable suspicion to make a stop, the evidence collected during the stop may be deemed inadmissible in court. Such evidence can include the blood or breath test.
Actual Physical Control: This typically involves an intoxicated person asleep in their vehicle with the keys in the ignition or a single car accident. The cases involve a number of questions and facts that are usually open to interpretation by the court. If there were investigative mistakes by law enforcement or insufficient evidence the case could be thrown out.
Additional First DUI Resources in Treasure Coast, FL
Florida DUI and Administrative Suspension Laws– Visit the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) website to learn more about administrative penalties following a DUI in Florida. The website also includes information on DUI fines, imprisonment and repeat DUI offenders.
Driving Under the Influence | Florida Statue 316.193- Read the full text of the Florida Statute that governs DUI in the state. The statute defines what is driving under the influence and penalties. The statute can be read on Online Sunshine, the official website for the Florida legislature.
Lawyer for First DUI in Treasure Coast, FL
If you have been arrested for your first DUI, you should contact Meltzer & Bell today. Our attorneys are experienced with DUI defense in Treasure Coast, and they will fight to achieve the best possible outcome for your situation.
Meltzer & Bell defends clients across communities in Martin and Saint Lucie County. Call us today at (772) 291-2534 or submit your information in the online form to set up a free case consultation.