Do you ever get behind the wheel even though you’ve had a glass or two of wine or a shot of your favorite spirit? What about after you’ve taken certain medications that have warning labels about drowsiness? Where and when do you draw the line and say, “I shouldn’t be driving right now?” How do you evaluate whether your judgment is impaired or if you are under the influence?
Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is never something anyone should do, but it occurs far too often. This action is illegal throughout the country, but if you live in The Sunshine State, you should know that Florida has some of the most rigid DUI penalties to discourage drunk driving.
As a Florida driver, it’s essential to understand what could happen if you choose to drive after drinking. Read on to understand your options, and be sure to hire a DUI lawyer to help you avoid, reduce, or dismiss some DUI charges should you find yourself in this position.
What Is a DUI?
In Florida, a DUI charge occurs when someone is in physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Anyone who has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more is legally considered too impaired to operate a car, truck, dirt bike, motorcycle, or any other motor vehicle, regardless of whether they feel drunk or not. See Florida Statutes 316.193.
Drugs that can impair your driving can be illicit drugs, prescriptions, and over-the-counter medications. When a Florida police officer determines that a driver is not in complete control of their normal faculties, the driver can receive a DUI charge.
Types of Penalties for Driving Under the Influence in Florida
The state may enforce several types of penalties to discourage DUI and prevent repeat offenders. These include, alone or in combination:
- Monetary Fines: Depending on the severity of your case and how many DUIs you have on your record, you may have to pay the court restitution. For example, first offenders may pay $500 to $2,000, but the amount can increase to $4,000 with a BAC exceeding .15%.
- Community Service: Another penalty for first offenders is a mandatory 50 hours of community service or an extra $10 fine per required community service hour.
- Suspended Driver’s License
Working with an experienced drunk driving accident lawyer can help you understand your charges, punishments, and legal options. Be sure to contact a DUI lawyer such as Oldham & Delcamp LLC in Florida to receive legal counsel.
1st, 2nd, and 3rd Offenses
DUI penalties in Florida can be complex because the state gauges them based on your driving record. The more DUIs you have, the more severe your punishments will be.
If you get a DUI and have an otherwise clean driving record, you could receive a fine between $500 and $1,000 or six to nine months of jail time for an aggravated DUI charge, which is when your BAC level is twice the legal limit. The judge could also suspend your license, order up to 50 hours of community service, or impound your vehicle.
A second charge might get you nine to 12 months of jail time, plus a suspended license. A second DUI charge will double the fine to $1,000-$2,000.
The court may also require you to install an Ignition Interlock Device for up to two years to prevent you from driving while intoxicated. These devices are expensive to install and maintain.
Beyond the Second Offense
If you have three DUI charges or more, you can expect to pay higher fines, have longer jail times, and have a suspended license. Your vehicle will also need to have an Ignition Interlock Device installed.
Hiring an experienced DUI attorney may help you reduce some of the penalties.
Need a DUI Accident Lawyer? Contact the Team of Oldham & Delcamp LLC Today
Searching online for a “DUI attorney near me” will produce hundreds of results. However, be sure to hire a legal team who will take your case seriously and work hard to represent you fairly, both in and out of the courtroom. Oldham and Delcamp LLC is that team.
We understand the emotions involved in getting a DUI charge and its penalties. The proper legal counsel can help you avoid severe consequences and, in some cases, get charges reduced or dropped entirely.
Oldham & Delcamp LLC is knowledgeable about DUI laws in Florida as well as the rights of citizens. We personalize our legal services to find solutions for clients on a case-by-case basis. Our experienced litigators provide efficient local representation and know how to try cases through a jury verdict.
We offer free consultations for criminal defense. If you need a DUI lawyer and you’re a resident of the Tampa Bay, Pinellas Park, or St. Petersburg, Florida areas, contact us at Oldham & Delcamp LLC today at (727) 201-5458 for a consultation or fill out our online form.
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