THIS IS MY FIRST DUI. WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT?
According to the National Highway and Safety Administration's annual Traffic Safety Fact, one out of every 135 people will be arrested for driving under the influence each year in the state of Florida. If you have been caught with your first DUI charge, you may not know where to turn.
Speaking to a highly-skilled Florida DUI defense attorney should be your first step, and my firm is here to help. For over a decade I have been committed to providing experienced legal services and comprehensive representation to clients facing a variety of different charges, including driving under the influence. I can offer you the reliable legal guidance you need to pursue the best possible outcome for your case.
I’m also proud to serve clients throughout Boca Raton, Florida, and the surrounding areas of Palm Beach County, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Deerfield Beach, and Coral Springs, Florida. Reach out today to learn more about how I can help you with your case.
What Happens if I Get a DUI Charge in Florida?
It is important to remember that a DUI arrest and a DUI conviction are two different things. Just because someone was arrested for DUI does not mean the State of Florida can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person was, in fact, impaired. It is important to consult with an experienced DUI lawyer. Do not take a plea deal without consulting an attorney. Being convicted of a DUI can have long-lasting consequences. If evidence was illegally obtained, the State of Florida may not be able to use it against you. An experienced DUI lawyer may be able to challenge evidence and have some of the evidence against you thrown which could result in the case being dismissed.
The traffic stop may not have been lawful. If the stop was illegal, the case could be dismissed. There may not have been enough evidence to request roadside exercises. Without the roadside exercises, the case may be dismissed. Even a breath test can be challenged. The law imposes standards and procedures that must be followed to ensure the reliability of scientific evidence. Therefore, if your breath test was obtained in violation of the law, that may be enough to get your case dismissed.
Further, even if all the evidence was properly obtained, the State of Florida still may not be able to convince a jury that you were impaired. Depending on how a person looks on video, they may have a strong case for trial. I have been successful at obtaining Not-Guilty verdicts on numerous DUI trials.
Initial DMV consequences
If you refused the breath test your driver's license will be suspended for twelve months. If you provided a breath sample but blew over .08 your license will be suspended for six months. If this was your second refusal, your license will be suspended for eighteen months. The drivers' license suspension is an administrative penalty through the DMV. It is in addition to the pending criminal DUI charge you are facing at the courthouse. You can challenge the DMV suspension but you only have 10 days to request a formal review hearing with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. During this hearing, you can challenge your license suspension and fight to have your driver’s license and all driving privileges reinstated
Can the State of Florida prove its case?
As mentioned above, if you are charged with a DUI, you should consult with an experienced DUI lawyer immediately. In today's world, most law enforcement agencies have video, as they have in-car dashboard cameras, body cameras, and videos at the breath testing facility. Video footage is probably the most important evidence in a DUI case. This is because in most DUI cases, the person refuses to provide a breath sample and, therefore, there are no scientific results. Therefore, whether or not the person was impaired often boils down to how they look and talk on video. Is their speech slurred? Do they look unbalanced or uneasy on their feet? Were they able to perform the roadside exercises? Your lawyer needs to obtain any video footage ASAP and review it numerous times. The video is usually more valuable than the police reports. It may cast inconsistencies between the actual video and the police reports. It may show the person performed the exercises better than the officer alleged in their report.
After investigating your case, review all the police reports, and watching all the video footage, an experienced DUI lawyer may be able to have evidence thrown out so that it cannot be used against you. An experienced DUI lawyer may be able to have portions of the video redacted so that it cannot be used against you. As evidence gets excluded, it makes the State of Florida's case weaker. This could mean that they dismiss your case or that the government will have a difficult winning at trial.
Possible Penalties for a First Offense DUI Conviction
If this is your first offense, your conviction could cost you as much as $1,000 in fines, probation for up to a year, up to six months in jail, having your driver’s license suspended for up to six months, and serving fifty hours of community service. If you have no significant prior criminal history and this is a first-time offense, you may be able to avoid some of these penalties.
If your license does get suspended, you can apply for a restricted license, also known as a hardship license. A hardship license gives you limited driving privileges during your suspension, allowing you to drive to work, school, or other necessary events such as a doctor’s appointment.
Work with an Experienced DUI Defense Attorney
At the end of the day, being arrested and charged with a DUI doesn’t have to mean a permanent conviction on your record. For years I have been working with individuals in Boca Raton, Florida, and the surrounding areas of Palm Beach County, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Deerfield Beach, and Coral Springs, Florida to help them fight their DUI charges and avoid harsh penalties. Even if you think you were DUI, consult with an experienced DUI lawyer before accepting any plea deal. You may have defenses available you are not even aware of.
An experienced DUI defense attorney understands the charges you are faced with, the system you are working within, and how to help you with your case. No matter what the circumstances are that led to your arrest, my firm can provide reliable legal guidance and strong representation every step of the way. If you or someone you know has been charged with a DUI in Boca Raton, Florida, or the surrounding area, call or reach out to my firm today to receive the help you need.