DUI / DWI

DUI / DWI

Driving under the influence, often abbreviated as DUI or DWI, can be proven in Florida in either of two ways. The first is that a person was driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or above. The second is driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol (or other drugs) to the extent that a person’s normal faculties are impaired.

“Actual physical control” is roughly defined by Florida case law as someone being as near enough to the driver’s seat that they could drive if they wanted to. I have seen many cases where a person is prosecuted for DUI after pulling over on the side of the road to sleep. While this may not make sense or seems unfair; so are many of Florida’s other laws. A person in Florida can also be prosecuted for DUI if they are operating any type of vehicle, including a Boat, moped, farm equipment, or even a bicycle.

Penalties Administrative Penalties

If you or someone you know has been arrested for Driving Under the Influence and refused the breath test or provided a breath, blood, or urine sample which exceeds the legal limit of 0.08, his or her driver’s license will be automatically suspended by the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles.

While a person’s license will be taken from by the law enforcement officer, they will still be allowed to drive for 10 days following the date of the arrest. After this 10 day period, the DMV will automatically suspend his or her license for a period of 6 to 18 months. If the person provided a breath sample over the legal limit, the suspension will last for 6 months for the first offense and 1 year for any other offense. If the person refused a breath, urine, or blood test their license will be suspended for 1 year if this is their first refusal and 18 months for any subsequent refusal.

In order to fight this suspension which may result in a person getting his or her license back they must apply for a Formal Review Hearing within 10 days of the arrest. If he or she does not apply for this hearing they will be forever barred from challenging the DHSMV license suspension. As soon as the Administrative Hearing Office receives this application they will issue and additional temporary driving permit which will be valid until the date of the hearing.

If the suspension is upheld, the person must wait for a period of 30 days (for an unlawful alcohol level) or 90 days (for a refusal) before he or she is eligible to apply for a hardship license.

Please call the Garvin Law Firm today, or Click on some of the online resources listed below for more information.

Legal Penalties

After the charges of DUI are filed, an offender will be forced to attend court and will be penalized as stated in the following table:

For a First DUI, the person will face:

Fines:

  • Not less than $ 500.00, or more than $1,000.00.
  • With blood/breath alcohol level of .15 or higher or a minor in the vehicle: not less than $1,000.00 or more than $2,000.00.

Community Service:

  • Mandatory 50 hours of community service or additional fine of $10 for each hour of community service required.

Probation:

  • First conviction, total period of probation and incarceration may not exceed 1 year.

Vehicle Impoundment:

  • 10 days.

Imprisonment:

  • Not more than 6 months. With BAL of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle: Not more than 9 months.

Drivers License Revocation:

  • Minimum 180 days revocation, maximum 1 year. This is in addition to the administrative suspension listed above.

DUI School:

  • Must complete DUI school before hardship reinstatement.

Criminal Record:

  • Judges are prohibited from deviating from the administrative suspension/revocation periods mandated by statute. The courts are prohibited from withholding adjudication in DUI cases; or from reducing a DUI charge if the defendant’s blood alcohol was .15 or greater. This means that the conviction must stay on your record and cannot be sealed or expunged.

For a Second DUI, the person will face:

Fines:

  • Not less than $1,000, or more than $2,000.
  • With BAL of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle: Not less than $2,000, or more than $4,000.

Probation:

  • Total period of probation and incarceration may not exceed 1 year.

Vehicle Impoundment:

  • Second conviction within 5 years = 30 days, otherwise 10 Days.

Imprisonment:

  • Not more than 9 months. With BAL of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle: Not more than 12 months. If the second conviction is within 5 years, mandatory imprisonment of at least 10 days.

Drivers License Revocation:

  • Second Conviction Within 5 Years:Minimum 5 year revocation. Offender may be eligible for hardship license after 1 year. If the DUI is outside of 5 years, Minimum 180 days revocation, maximum 1 year. This is in addition to the administrative suspension listed above.

DUI School:

  • Second Conviction in 5 Years: Offender must complete DUI school following conviction.

Criminal Record:

  • Judges are prohibited from deviating from the administrative suspension/revocation periods mandated by statute. The courts are prohibited from withholding adjudication in DUI cases; or from reducing a DUI charge if the defendant’s blood alcohol was .15 or greater. This means that the conviction must stay on your record and cannot be sealed or expunged.

For a Third DUI, the person will face:

  • As one can imagine, the charges, jail time, and fines, only get worse as the number of DUI’s increase; on a third offence within 10 years the offender will be charged with a felony, and any fourth DUI, no matter when it occurred, will be charged as a 3rd degree felony.

  • This 3rd degree felony carries a potential penalty of 5 years in Florida State Prison (along with the many other consequences of a felony: can’t own a gun, vote, etc.). Further, if someone is injured, killed, or the Offender leaves the scene of the accident, he or she could be looking at a fine of $10,000.00 or up to 30 years in prison.

Given the seriousness of the crime and the severity of the punishment, it is important to consult our office so that we can review your case and immediately start formulating the appropriate defense.

Please contact the Garvin Law Firm or check out some of these online resources for more information.

Online Resources
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