BONITA SPRINGS DUI ATTORNEY
Driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances is dangerous and threatening to others on the road. With your reflexes impaired, you are unable to react appropriately to the traffic around you and may not be able to focus clearly on the road ahead. The decision to drive can be life-altering for you and others on the road. If an accident occurs, you need the support of a Bonita Springs DUI lawyer.
At the Law Office of Donald P. Day, we know that the circumstances of each DUI case are unique, and many factors could contribute to the charge. Our team understands that no matter how severe the facts of your case are, you deserve to have someone on your side who will stand up for your rights and aggressively defend you with the goal of an acquittal, a reduction of charges, or an outright dismissal.
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE LAWS
DUI charges are defined in Florida Statute Chapter 316, section 193. According to the law, you can be charged with a DUI if you meet any of the following criteria:
- Operates or physically controls a vehicle (motor vehicle or aquatic vehicle) anywhere in the state
- Doing so while under the influence of alcohol, chemical substances, or controlled substances, both of which are defined in Statute 877, section 111 or Chapter 893
- Registers a blood-alcohol content, or BAC, of .08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or within 210 liters of breath
POTENTIAL PENALTIES FOR DUI
DUI penalties are progressive, meaning you will face greater consequences with each subsequent occurrence in addition to the circumstances of the charges. If it is your first or second conviction and there are no extenuating circumstances, the penalties you could face include:
- A first DUI conviction will carry fines of up to $1,000, while a second conviction will cost up to $2,000. This is in addition to any court costs.
- A first conviction faces penalties of up to 6 months, while a second could face up to 9 months.
- Suspension or revocation of license. If you are convicted of your first DUI, your license faces suspension of a minimum of 6 months but no more than one year. If you receive a second DUI within a period of 5 years, your license could be revoked for up to 5 years.
- Interlocking device. Interlocking devices are used to restrict the starting of a vehicle without first passing a breathalyzer test. A first conviction with a BAC between .08 and .014 may include the installation of this device. However, a first conviction with a BAC above .15 will automatically require this penalty. The device would be installed for a period of 6 months.
If you are convicted of three or more DUIs within a ten-year period, your penalties could significantly increase. The consequences you face could include:
- A third charge is raised to a third-degree felony and includes fines of up to $5,000.
- Jail time. Jail time increases to 5 years if the conviction is within ten years of the previous one. If the conviction is after ten years, the jail time cannot be greater than 12 months.
- Suspension or revocation of license. A third DUI charge will result in the revocation of your license for a period of ten years. If you receive a fourth or subsequent DUI, your license could be revoked permanently.
- Interlocking device. For a third DUI, an interlocking device has a mandated installation period of 2 years. However, you must also qualify for a restricted or permanent license.
These penalties are the standard for DUI charges in Florida. However, aggravating circumstances could add additional consequences.
Many DUI charges are not isolated incidents. Unfortunately, for some who choose to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or other substances, their impaired reflexes could result in a severe accident that causes injury or death to another individual. These accidents could also cause significant property damage. In the event you are in an accident as the result of driving under the influence, additional penalties could include:
- Property damage or physical harm. If your accident involves property damage or physical harm, you could face a first-degree misdemeanor, which carries a fine of up to $1,000 and up to one year in jail.
- Causes or adds to serious bodily injuries. If this is added to a DUI conviction, it is a third-degree felony that comes with a fine of up to $5,000 and up to 5 years in jail.
- If you are convicted of a DUI, and you caused the death of another person or the death of an unborn child, you could be found guilty of DUI manslaughter, a second-degree felony. This comes with a fine of up to $10,000 and jail time of 15 years. If you choose to flee the scene after an accident that causes death, you could face up to 30 years in jail.
There are several other circumstances that could result in aggravating charges in Bonita Springs, FL. It is wise to discuss your case with your attorney to look at the possible consequences you could face. Be sure you are honest with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Without all the information, they cannot prepare your defense strategy.
DEFENDING A DUI CHARGE
While no two cases are alike, there are several ways to defend against a DUI charge. The first step is examining all the details of the case and reviewing the evidence against you. Once that process is complete, your attorney will formulate a strategy that could involve any of the following common defenses:
- The reason for the stop. There must be probable cause for an officer to pull over a vehicle. They must have reasonable suspicion that a moving violation is taking place. DUI checkpoints are different, however, and are a legal process.
- Field sobriety tests. Field sobriety tests are not always accurate and could be negatively influenced because of improper training or other factors that impair a person’s ability to pass them, such as physical or mental limitations. Even drivers who have a legal BAC have had difficulty in passing the tests.
- Challenging the arrest. The physical or mental limitations of the person, the weather conditions and their impact on driving, and even the condition of the road can play a factor in a person’s ability to maintain control of a vehicle, and an officer must have proof to arrest the individual.
- Breathalyzers are inaccurate and require lengthy observance times. Before a driver can take a breathalyzer test, they must be observed for a minimum of 20 minutes. Even then, the results can be skewed, and if the device is not properly administered or calibrated, the test results could be inaccurate.
- Blood tests. Blood tests may be done in addition to field sobriety tests and breathalyzers, but they must be completed by a licensed medical professional. Even then, the process for drawing the blood, the accuracy of the machines testing the blood, and even the transport of the blood can all be challenged if done improperly.
- Civil rights violations. Whenever you are arrested, you are protected under the rights of the Constitution. These are described to you through the Miranda Warning you are given by the arresting officer. If this is not read to you or any of the rights you wish to exercise are denied, you have a right to challenge your charges.
These represent a small number of defenses that could be used to challenge your DUI charges, and this list is not all-encompassing. Your attorney will pick the right defense for your case based on the evidence and details surrounding your charges.
FAQS About Bonita Springs, FL DUI Laws
How Much Does a DUI Lawyer Cost in Florida?
The costs for your attorney will vary depending on the circumstances of your case and the experience of the attorney. When first speaking with your attorney, you should inquire about their fees, payment schedule, and any other costs you may encounter. Generally speaking, your attorney may cost between $2,500 and $6,000.
Should I Get a Lawyer for a DUI in Florida?
Whenever you are facing the legal system, you should have the representation of an attorney who has the knowledge and experience to help guide you through the process. While you may feel you can face the charges alone to save money, the cost of an attorney could save you money in the long run on appeals and other expenses. It could also keep you from other fines and incarceration.
How Do You Get a DUI Dismissed in Florida?
Having any criminal charge dismissed is on a case-by-case basis. While you may not be able to have your charges completely dismissed, you may avoid jail time and fines if you are a first-time offender and there are no aggravating circumstances. Talk with your attorney about the options you have given the circumstances of your case.
How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in FL?
Florida is one of the few states that take DUI charges very seriously once they are on your record. While some states will release the conviction from your record after ten years through expungement, Florida will not allow this process and will mandate the charges stay on your record for 75 years. This is to discourage Floridians from choosing to operate vehicles while impaired.
CONTACT FLORIDA DUI ATTORNEY TODAY
Facing a DUI charge can be overwhelming, but with the help of the right attorney, you can easily navigate the legal system in the hopes of having your charges reduced or dismissed. If you are facing a DUI charge, contact the team at the Law Office of Donald P. Day. Our team’s experience and knowledge can ensure you are fairly, aggressively, and compassionately represented.