DUI and criminal defence law can be tricky to navigate, especially on your own. As expert criminal defence attorneys in Stuart, Florida, our team are here to answer all your questions. If you need legal representation for a DUI or criminal defense case, book a free consultation with us today to find out what your rights are. We’re here for you through to the very end!
Essential DUI information in Florida
Every state has their own laws around what’s considered a DUI offence, penalties and costs associated. The best way to get around DUI laws is to not drink and drive. If it’s too late and you’ve already submitted a breath test or been taken under arrest, read on.
Below, we’ve put together the best guide we could to answer the most frequent questions people in your shoes have about the laws in Florida. You can also subscribe to our Youtube channel where we publish updates of criminal laws that may affect you.
This information is general in nature and may or may not apply to your situation. Get in touch with our team to find out what your best options are if you are facing DUI penalties. Sooner is always better with DUI cases as you are given only 10 days after arrest to take essential action, so hurry!
According to the NHTSA, around 29% of traffic fatalities in the US involves a drunk driver. While fatalities involving drunk drivers have decreased by 31% between 1991 and 2017, it’s still a major issue on our roads.
In 2017, Florida bettered the national decrease of fatalities and deaths caused by drunk drivers but it is still seen as a serious issue with spikes during the holiday season. The U.S. Department of Transportation has also reported that around 300 Americans die each year during the Christmas and New Year holidays. In December alone, there is an average of 27 people killed each day due to a drunk-driving accident.
If you’ve been convicted of a DUI, start here
If you’ve been convicted of a DUI or DWI offence in Florida, we suggest you hire expert DUI attorneys who know the local laws better than the back of their own hands. At Ferraro Law Group, our expert DUI attorneys can help you if:
- You feel you have been wrongfully charged
- The charges go beyond a DUI due to accident or reckless endangerment
- You would like consultation and advice on your options
- You need to apply for a Florida DUI hardship licence and work permit (you have only 10 days from the date of arrest to do this)
- You would like to contest a license suspension at your court hearing
With the help of our attorneys, you can contest your license suspension so that you don’t have to take time off work. You only have 10 days to request a court hearing otherwise your license can be suspended for 6-18 months. Also, in Florida, a conviction of a DUI will stay on record for 75 years.
Do you really need a lawyer for a DUI case?
We would advise that you consult with experts at every step of the way. You have the opportunity to engage a lawyer anytime your arresting officer asks you to answer questions and we highly recommend you take it.
Any information you provide without the presence of a lawyer will be used against you in court and can cause irreversible damage to your case.
Another reason we suggest you use a lawyer for a DUI case is that the consequences can simply affect your life too much.
We suggest you save our phone number in case such a need arises. Our first consultation with you will be free of charge and we’ll offer you the best advice for your situation to get you out of a really sticky situation.
Experts like ours will fight against prosecutors who will try to lengthen your jail time (if any is assigned) or add to your probation. You’ll need someone to fight for the best outcome for you. For that, it would be in your best interest to trust experts like ours, with over 50 years of combined courtroom experience, to help you get the best result.
What’s the difference between DUI & DWI?
There’s not much of a difference. DUI means “driving under the influence” while DWI stands for “driving while intoxicated”. Different states have different DUI laws so they refer to the crime of driving while drunk by different terms. In Florida, we use DUI as the official term.
Florida DUI law in a nutshell
If you’re in Florida and driving a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol level at or over .08%, you’re breaking the law and may be arrested for DUI.
Blood-alcohol levels are determined by a breathalyzer test, blood test and/or urine test administered by a police officer. You will be put under arrest if you are found to have higher alcohol levels than the allowed limit.
Taking the roadside test or breath test is completely voluntary. If you take either of them, you’re presenting evidence for the court and police officer to consider in whether or not to arrest you. If you don’t do the test, then the officer has to make their decision based on what they have seen up to that point.
Florida DUI penalties
First offence DUI laws and penalties in Florida
If it is your first DUI offence, the fine will range between $500 to $1000. If your blood-alcohol level was at or over .15% or you were driving with a minor, the fine will be from $1000 to $2000.
A DUI involving “serious bodily injury” of another person will be fined up to $5000.
Typically, the mandatory minimum sentence, which includes probation, also includes classes, fines and community service.
Penalties for multiple DUI offences
DUI offences come with increased penalties each time you get another one. Your second offence (within a 5 year period of the first one) will incur a mandatory 10 days in jail. Usually the prosecutors look for more than just the minimum 10 days though.
A third offence, that occurs within 10 years of the second one, can be filed as a felony and so can the fourth DUI offence.
Is a Florida DUI a Misdemeanor or Felony?
A misdemeanor is a crime that carries a sentence for a year in a county jail or less and a $1000 fine (or a $2000 fine in same cases as a maximum).
On the other hand, a felony can carry a prison sentence, which can be counted as something over a year in the county jail. It doesn’t mean you have to go to prison when convicted of a felony but these are the maximum sentences.
DUI cases in Florida can be filed as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the specific circumstances of your case. If you have been convicted of a DUI with property damage, death or injury in Florida, you could be charged with a very serious felony.
Florida DUI Manslaughter Charges
DUI manslaughter is considered a second degree felony in Florida. You will be charged with DUI manslaughter if you’ve been driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and this has resulted in the death of another person.
Serious penalties apply, including a maximum fine of $10,000 and up to 15 years in prison.
Here’s what happens if you can’t pay your probation fees
Not paying your probation fees will eventually trigger a warrant of violation of probation.
If that’s the only reason you violated your probation, you’ll either be granted a low bond, or a possible release on your own recognisance. Eventually, the State Attorney is going to try to prove you had the ability to pay the fees and chose not to. That’s their burden to carry at this point.
If you’re completely legitimate and you have no money to pay the fees, you can’t necessarily be put into prison for that. However they can unsuccessfully terminate your probation. They can also put a civil lean against you which can make it very hard for you to buy anything in the future until those fees are paid.
Nowadays, driver’s licenses might even be suspended for unpaid court costs. Chat with our team to find the best solution if you can’t afford your probation fees.
DUI Hardship License & Driving after a DUI Arrest
For your first DUI, your license will be suspended for 6 months. If you took the breath test, you can apply for a hardship license after 30 days without a license. If you didn’t blow into the machine, you’ll have to wait 90 days.
For a second or more DUI conviction within 5 years of the last one, you’ll be automatically excluded from any hardship license for at least a year.
Our expert DUI lawyers at Ferraro Law Group have years of experience handling DUI cases in Stuart Florida. We know the laws here inside out and can offer you the best advice to get you out of a sticky situation. We will stand by your side and fight your DUI case aggressively for you.
Call us for a free consultation today.
About Ferraro Law Group’s expert Florida DUI attorneys
At Ferraro Law Group, we dedicate a large portion or our practice to DUI cases in Stuart, Florida or boating under the influence (BUI) cases. We understand the strict and limiting time frames you’ll be faced with if you are arrested for criminal DUI or BUI.
That’s why we’re committed to acting fast and fighting as hard as we can so you can experience the best possible outcome for your situation.
We also understand how a DUI or BUI arrest can have serious implications on your liberty and your ability to drive. If you’ve been arrested for a DUI in Florida, you should book a free consultation with our team immediately.