Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious crime and the stakes are high. Convictions in Volusia County range from fines and loss of driving privileges to lengthy prison sentences. However, not all cases result in guilty verdicts and it is important to note that judges have discretion when it comes to DUI penalties in Florida. That's why it's important to hire an experienced, knowledgeable DUI lawyer serving the DeLand, Deltona, DeBary, Orange City and Daytona Beach areas who is familiar with the Volusia County courts and who will vigorously defend your case.
If you are charged with DUI in Florida, there are many consequences if convicted. While most are misdemeanors, they impose severe sanctions including:
Some DUIs are much more serious, with even greater penalties, including prison time, such as:
Once arrested you are permitted to have temporary driving privileges for ten days for business purposes only. During this time you may request an administrative hearing to challenge your license suspension. If your appeal is timely you can continue to drive for up to 42 days while you await your hearing. If you prevail at the hearing your driving privileges are reinstated pending the outcome of your case. Losing means your license is terminated after the expiration of your temporary 42-day license.
A Blood Alcohol Level (BAL) greater than .08 is presumptive proof of intoxication. The presumption is, however, rebuttable if sufficient evidence is presented. Many wonder, what if I refuse to provide a breath sample? Florida, like many other states in the country, under Florida’s Implied Consent statute requires the mandatory and immediate suspension of a driver license on-the-spot for anyone who refuses to take a breathalyzer test. The suspension is effective immediately and remains in effect for one year even if the driver is found not guilty of a DUI. However, if it’s the first offense, the driver can request a “hardship” license that will permit them to drive to work, school, or to visit the doctor during the suspension period. Florida law also makes it a criminal offense to refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test in some circumstances, depending upon your prior record. Therefore, in the vast majority of cases, a refusal is not helpful.
On the other hand, if you do consent to take a breathalyzer test and score over the legal limit of .08, your license will also be automatically suspended for at least six months and there will be other mandatory penalties if you are found guilty. This is just one of many examples where the law provides certain advantages to the prosecution, even though everyone is entitled to a fair trial.
Field sobriety tests are a series of tasks you will be asked to perform by police officers if pulled over and suspected of DUI. Often they are recorded with the police officer’s body cam and results are used to support an arrest. Types of exercises you may asked to perform include:
Performing well on field sobriety exercises, especially when recorded can aide in your defense to a DUI charge and possibly lead to a reduction or dismissal of the charge. On the other hand, as they say “a picture is worth a thousand words.”
The DUI process is complex. In Florida, if you don't take the right steps within 10 days of a DUI charge, you will lose your driver's license even if you are not guilty. Remember, just because you are arrested for a Driving Under the Influence doesn’t mean that you are guilty of the offense. And even if you were over the legal limit, it is often possible to resolve the case without a DUI conviction. Contact us today at (386) 873-2884 and let an experienced attorney and former prosecutor, serving DeLand and the surrounding Volusia County, FL areas, handle your defense!