Jacksonville DUI Lawyer
At Lockett Law, P.A., when we accept a DUI case, we focus on beating the DUI charge, not simply negotiating “the best possible deal.” With extensive experience defending countless DUIs, from first DUI offenses to such felonies as DUI manslaughter, our team is deeply familiar with the complexities involved in these cases. We regularly pursue DUI dismissals, evidence suppression or charge reductions — not guilty verdicts — based on each client’s individual case.
To find out how we can help you fight your DUI, contact our law firm. We offer free initial consultations to give you the opportunity to share your story and understand our approach to DUI defense.
The DUI Defense Representation We Provide
We offer the following information for potential clients:
DUI Misdemeanor Defense in Jacksonville
The State of Florida defines driving under the influence (DUI) as operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or any controlled substance. This includes illegal and prescription drugs. When it comes to alcohol, you are considered over the legal limit when your blood alcohol level hits 0.08 or greater.
Most Florida first offense DUIs are tried as misdemeanors, and are punishable by a fine between $500 and $1,000. More serious incidents could see a revocation of driving privileges for up to one year and imprisonment for no more than six months. On top of that, your vehicle could be impounded for 10 days and you could face a probation period of up to one year.
Subsequent offenses carry more harsh penalties, including enhanced fees, longer periods of mandatory jail time, and can eventually lead to felony charges.
That’s why it’s so important to fight back against misdemeanor charges in an attempt to get them dismissed and dropped from your record.
First-Time DUI Offenders in Jacksonville
Dealing with a DUI charge for the first time can be terrifying and confusing. That’s why you need an experienced Jacksonville DUI lawyer to fight back and clear your name.
If your DUI incident did not involve an accident or a blood alcohol content above 0.15, chances are you’ll be facing a misdemeanor charge, which generally has more lenient consequences.
However, if your blood alcohol content was above 0.15, and/or you were involved in an accident, you could be facing some serious penalties, including jail time. Going into the Florida DUI court process without representation can be one of the fastest ways to wind up behind bars.
Remember, just because it is your first offense does not mean that the court will go easy on you. Lockett Law, P.A. will fight your conviction and help you hold onto both your driver’s license and your freedom.
DUI Drug Charges in Jacksonville, FL
If you’ve been caught driving under the influence of drugs, you can wind up facing a two-front assault. Prosecutors can come at you for a DUI as well as drug possession, which can be charged as a third degree felony that could land you in jail for up to five years.
It is important to start building a strong case right away to counteract any evidence the prosecution could be trying to use against you. Some common defenses we use to justify your innocence include sleep deprivation, sickness, mental health issues, anxiety, and depression.
Remember, the prosecution relies on fallible evidence procured by flawed urine and blood tests, which makes it much harder to prove your guilt. It is also important to note that police officers are not always in the right. If your field sobriety test was conducted improperly, you have a chance at getting the charges dropped.
DUI Appellate Representation
If you’ve been convicted of a DUI, all is not lost. Defendants in Florida are allowed to appeal the decision, and we have a proven track record in successful appellate representation.
When you appeal a Florida DUI, you’re asking a higher court to review the case to determine whether any procedural or legal errors occurred which influenced the conviction. The appellate court of Florida will not judge the facts of a DUI case in place of a judge and jury. Instead, it will review all legal decisions made throughout the case and make a determination as to how the law was interpreted and applied.
Since a DUI is a criminal case in Florida, only defendants can appeal a decision. Prosecutors cannot appeal an overruled decision, as that would violate laws against a defendant being charged twice for the same crime.
Reversal of a Florida DUI Conviction
It is possible for someone who has already pled guilty and been convicted of a DUI in Florida to file for a plea reversal, which is different from an appeal.
Once our attorneys isolate grounds that allow for a motion to vacate the plea, a hearing will be scheduled to set aside the conviction. If the state does not oppose the motion that we’ve filed, the judge will reverse the conviction. However, if the state does oppose it, a new hearing is set in which we will fight to have your charges vacated.
If the conviction is reversed, all penalties are immediately dropped. If your driver’s license is suspended, it will be returned to you.
Underage DUI Charges
DUI cases for individuals under the age of 21 can be far more strict. While it normally takes a blood alcohol content of 0.08 for a DUI charge, if the driver is under 21 and legally barred from consuming alcohol, police only need to find a BAC of 0.02.
Minors caught driving under the influence in Florida are tried as adults, which means they’re facing the same penalties as someone over the age of 21. This can include revocation of driving privileges, immobilization of a vehicle, and even prison time.
Avoiding a DUI conviction as a minor is especially important, given the impact such a charge could have on the young person’s life. A serious blemish on a criminal record can hurt a minor’s chances at being accepted into college and have a substantial impact on their ability to secure employment or housing.
DUI Manslaughter Charges
DUI manslaughter is a serious offense. It occurs when a DUI charge is issued along with an accident that results in someone’s death, either directly or indirectly. DUI manslaughter is a felony offense, and could lead to many years in prison.
A conviction of DUI manslaughter in Florida carries with it a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 124.5 months. Additionally, up to 15 years of prison time could be tacked on, and 15 years of probation. Fines can total up to $10,000 and your driver’s license could be taken permanently. The only way to avoid the mandatory minimum sentence would be if a judge imposed a downward departure sentence. But even in that instance, there would still be a mandatory sentence of four years in prison.
Some common defenses to Jacksonville DUI manslaughter cases include illegal traffic stops, improper field sobriety tests, lack of probable cause, and inadmissible breath test results. However, it is up to your attorney to prove your case.
When you’re facing such a massive amount of jail time, it’s vital that you secure the services of an experienced Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer with a proven track record, like Lockett Law, P.A.
Our Jacksonville DUI lawyers are dedicated to protecting your rights. An officer must have probable cause to pull you over and charge you with DUI. The prosecution must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt to make a DUI conviction. We work to ensure that you are treated fairly and to hold police, the courts, and prosecutors accountable for your constitutional rights. Not every DUI case is the same and not every defense should be the same.
DUI and Your Career
A DUI conviction can substantially impact your current job and career opportunities in the future. Some industries, companies, and government positions have zero tolerance for DUI convictions. If your job requires a professional license such as a commercial driver’s license, it is critical for you to obtain representation from our experienced Jacksonville DUI defense attorneys.
Contact Our Jacksonville DUI Lawyers
When arrested for a DUI in the Jacksonville area, your first priority should be to ask for a Jacksonville DUI lawyer. Anything you say can and will be used against you. For a free consultation, call our experienced team at Lockett Law, P.A. at 904-858-9818. We have Spanish speakers on staff. Se habla Español. Our attorneys serve clients in Ponte Vedra Beach, St. Augustine, Fernandina Beach and Yule from our Jacksonville area offices.