Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a crime in Florida, and thousands of people are picked up every year. It makes perfect sense for the state to take impaired driving seriously, since over 5,000 motor vehicle crashes each year are alcohol related.
However, prosecutors often overcharge these cases, and many defendants are rightly worried that they might end up in jail or lose their license, which makes it much harder to go to school or keep a job.
If you’ve been arrested for DUI, realize that you do have options for bringing a defense. Instead of immediately pleading guilty, meet with a Palm Valley Florida DUI defense lawyer for a free consultation. We have provided representation for the following DUI cases.
Florida sets a maximum blood alcohol level (BAL) of 0.08, though you can be picked up a charged with DUI regardless of your BAL. Someone impaired by drugs, including prescription drugs, can also be arrested.
A first-time offender is likely to be charged with a misdemeanor, which might not sound like a serious charge but is. Someone convicted of DUI is facing a fine between $500 and $1,000 and possibly up to 6 months in jail. Of course, not every first-time offender gets jail, but it is a possibility under the law.
Even worse, someone convicted of a DUI can lose their license for up to one year and have their vehicle impounded for 10 days. Probation is also a possibility, which will require that you meet detailed probation requirements otherwise you could be sent back behind bars.
Not all first-time offenses are misdemeanors, however. Some are felonies. If your BAL was 0.15 or higher, or if you hit someone while impaired, you could end up in jail for a very long time.
Drugs & DUI
As mentioned above, it is against the law to be impaired by drugs, including prescription drugs. Unfortunately, DUI cases involving drugs can be a nightmare for our clients. Prosecutors will not only bring DUI charges, but they can also prosecute for drug possession, which might be a felony with up to five years in prison.
Drug DUI cases are usually more complex than those involving only alcohol. However, there are also options for fighting the charges, since police often do not have solid proof that you were under the influence of drugs when arrested.
If someone ends up dying in a DUI accident while you are behind the wheel, then you are facing over a decade in prison. DUI manslaughter occurs when you are driving under the influence and someone dies in the crash. This person could be a passenger, a pedestrian, or someone in another vehicle.
If convicted of DUI manslaughter, a defendant faces a minimum of 10 years in prison. Some defendants will get an addition 20 or more years on top of this. Many defendants will permanently lose their driver’s license.
Florida law prohibits those under age 21 from purchasing or consuming alcohol. So when a minor gets picked up with any alcohol in their system, they have committed a violation of the law. Florida sets the maximum blood alcohol level at 0.02 for those who are under 21, and even one drink can put most people over this threshold.
The penalties minors face will depend on the circumstances, including their exact age and their driving history. However, most minors caught for DUI are charged as adults and face all the same penalties that someone in their 40s would. A criminal record for a young person is usually very serious, since it can make it harder for them to get jobs and become more established in life, so a vigorous defense is warranted.
Defending against DUI Charges
Regardless of the precise charges you face, Lockett Law will aggressively defend you. We excel at poking holes in the state’s case, and we don’t automatically accept a plea deal under the theory that it is the best resolution available. Often, our team can challenge the admission of evidence involving drug possession or your blood alcohol level. We can also force the state to meet its burden of proving our clients guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Speak with a DUI Defense Lawyer in Palm Valley, FL
If you are facing a DUI charge, speak to an attorney as soon as possible. The weeks after an arrest are a critical time, and we can help you fight to hold onto your license and your freedom. To schedule a free consultation, please contact us today.