A person charged with driving under the influence can face serious penalties, including suspension of driver’s license, significant fines, probation, or jail time. The long-term effect of a DUI conviction can lead to increased auto insurance rates or loss of coverage, as well as bring challenges to your employment opportunities due to the permanent record of a conviction.
Lawyer for Drunk Driving Cases
What is Driving Under the Influence (DUI)?
The State of Florida defines a DUI as driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, a chemical, or a controlled substance, where a person’s normal faculties are impaired.
It is further defined as:
- A person with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 grams or more of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood; or
- A person with a breath-alcohol level of 0.08 grams or more of alcohol per 210 liters of breath
This is outlined in detail in the Florida Statutes under Chapter 316.193 of the state uniform traffic control.
What Are the Penalties for a DUI in Orlando?
The penalties for a DUI conviction can vary depending on whether one has prior convictions and if there was damage to property or injury to another person, among other circumstances. Some of the penalties may include:
- A fine of $500 – $1,000 (first conviction); up to $5,000 or more (felony DUI)
- Imprisonment up to 9 months for a first conviction or up to 5 years for a fourth conviction
- Suspension of driver’s license from at least 180 days (first offense) to 10 years (third offense)
- Installation of an ignition interlock device on offender’s vehicles
- Completion of a DUI school as directed by the court
- A minimum of 50 hours of public service or community work project
Depending on the circumstances and prior convictions, a DUI arrest may result in charges that range from a first-degree misdemeanor to felony of the first degree.
A felony conviction in Florida also results in a loss of civil rights — you will not be able to vote, hold public office, sit on a jury, or possess a firearm. It can also have enormous consequences on your future if you are an immigrant on a visa.
How Can an Attorney Help Me with a DUI Arrest?
Seeking legal help with a DUI arrest in Florida is a smart choice. Why risk your future, your privilege to drive, your finances, and your permanent record to “going it alone?” Even if you feel that you have been unfairly charged, unfamiliarity with the process of law and the courts isn’t a defense.
If you are charged with a DUI:
- You have 10 days to appeal the automatic suspension of your driver’s license at the license suspension hearing
- You may have an option for a pretrial diversion and seek dismissal of the charges
- There may be defenses to your case that are successful with a strong legal strategy
Our Orlando DUI lawyers may help you:
- Get your case dismissed
- Negotiate a reduced charge
- Fight additional civil penalties as part of the DUI
A DUI conviction is not expungable — meaning, once convicted, it is a part of your permanent record for life. It may prevent you from future employment, increase your insurance rates, and if you are ever stopped by a law enforcement officer, — even for a minor traffic infraction — your conviction will show up when they run your identification.
Are There Defenses to a DUI Case?
There are many successful defenses to a drunk driving case, even if you were in an accident. The attorneys at Garcia & Zalloum can help you with even the most challenging cases — we fight to preserve your legal rights and freedom by pursuing every detail of your case to form a defense strategy.
Remember, it is not illegal for an adult to have a drink and then drive. It’s illegal to drive while impaired by alcohol or other substances.
In developing a defense strategy, we may ask questions such as:
- Was the field sobriety test performed properly?
- Were the conditions of the sobriety test stressful or challenging, such as heavy traffic speeding by or a steep-angled road shoulder?
- Do you have issues with balance, a medical condition, or physical problems that make it challenging to walk or stand on one leg?
- Were you “forced” to take a breath test?
- Was the breath test result accurate?
- Was there a blood alcohol level test?
- Was the blood test evidence handled properly?
- Did the police search your vehicle? Was it legal?
- Was your arrest legal?
- Was there an accident?
- Were you injured or did the airbag deploy?
- Were you in the vehicle when the police arrived?
- Did you admit to driving?
Answers to these questions and scrutinizing every detail of the circumstances, arrest, and evidence may help build a defense that prevents the state from proving their case.
Definitions and penalties on this page are partial summaries of the 2018 Florida Statutes regarding driving under the influence in the uniform traffic control.