Florida DUI Defense Attorney Serving Clients in Orlando and Throughout the State
A DUI conviction is quite serious.
It can result in the loss of your driver’s license, financial penalties, and even jail time.
When you are facing DUI charges in Florida, know that the state takes alcohol-related traffic offenses seriously.
A DUI conviction will have repercussions far beyond your sentence. Even a first-time offender can face significant penalties.
At Skubiak & Rivas, P.A., we know that people make mistakes, and we also know that people are wrongly accused of DUIs in Florida.
An experienced criminal traffic lawyer in Florida can get started on your defense today. We have decades of experience handling DUI and other traffic cases.
What Is a DUI Under Florida Law?
When can a Florida driver face driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI) charges? Florida law (Fla. Stat. § 316.193), defines driving under the influence as a situation in which a person is driving or is in control of a motor vehicle and one of the following is true:
- Person is under the influence of alcohol, a chemical substance, or a controlled substance such that it impairs their normal faculties;
Personhas a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more; or
- They have a breath-alcohol level of 0.08 percent or more.
As you can see, police can charge you with a DUI even if you do not have a blood-alcohol concentration at or above the legal limit. Any behavior that demonstrates a driver’s impairment as a result of alcohol or drug use can result in DUI charges and, ultimately, a DUI conviction.
Penalties for a Florida DUI
The state of Florida takes DUIs very seriously, and there are substantial penalties, which can include the following:
- First conviction: up to 6 months in jail and a fine of anywhere from $500 to $1,000; and
- Second conviction: up to 9 months in jail. A fine of anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000. And, the use of an ignition interlock device for at least one year (at the defendant’s expense);
- Third conviction occurring within 10 years of prior conviction: third-degree felony offense with up to 5 years in prison. Up to 5 years probation and a fine of up to $5,000. Revocation of driver’s license, and the use of an ignition interlock device for at least two years (at the defendant’s expense);
- Third conviction occurring more than 10 years after the prior conviction: up to 12 months in jail and fine of anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000. Use of an ignition interlock device for at least two years (at the defendant’s expense);
and Fourthconviction (regardless of timetable): third-degree felony offense that can include up to 5 years in prison. Up to 5 years probation, a fine of up to $5,000, revocation of driver’s license. Use of an ignition interlock device for at least two years (at the defendant’s expense).
These penalties are for DUIs with no property damage and no bodily injury. When drunk driving results in property damage or bodily injury, the penalties are much more severe:
- Damage to property: first-degree misdemeanor. Can result in up to 1 year in jail, 1 year of probation, and a fine of up to $1,000;
- Serious bodily injury: third-degree felony. Can result in penalties of up to 5 years in prison, up to 5 years of probation, and a fine of up to $5,000;
- Death of a human being or unborn child: DUI manslaughter. Can be either a second-degree felony or a first-degree felony depending upon the specific facts of the case.
Second-degreefelony can result in up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. A first-degree felony can result in up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000).
What Happens If I Refuse to Take a Breath Test?
Florida, like other states, has implied-consent laws. As such, any motorists on the road give implied consent to a blood-alcohol or breath-alcohol concentration test. The penalties for refusing to take a breath test or to submit to a blood test if police stop you for a DUI are severe:
- First offense: misdemeanor charges and driver’s license suspension;
- Second and subsequent offense: misdemeanor charges and 18-month suspension of your driver’s license.
Keep in mind that these penalties are not for a DUI conviction. They are merely for refusing to take a blood or breath test when a law enforcement officer requests one. It is also important to note that such a refusal constitutes a misdemeanor offense in the state of Florida. This means refusing to submit to a blood or breath test will result in you having a criminal record (even if you were not driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs).
Do I Need a Lawyer for My DUI Case?
Many people who have been charged with DUIs wonder if it is necessary to hire a lawyer. The best DUI attorney in Florida can help to build a strong defense in your case and can bring decades of experience to the process. The laws in Florida surrounding drunk driving and related penalties can be extremely complicated. It is important to have a dedicated advocate on your side to ensure that you present the best possible defense in your case.
Even in situations where building a winning defense strategy is more difficult, or aggressive Florida DUI lawyers may be able to have your charges reduced by negotiating with the prosecutor on your behalf. You do not want to face Florida DUI charges on your own. The consequences of a conviction could last a lifetime.
Seek Advice from the Best DUI Attorney in Florida
If you are facing DUI charges, you should know that you could be facing extremely serious penalties upon conviction. You should not have to handle your defense on your own when an aggressive Florida DUI defense attorney can help with your case. Contact Skubiak & Rivas, P.A. for more information about the criminal defense services we provide to clients in Florida.