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Criminal Defense

Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY - CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER

In Florida, DUI is an offense that can be proven in two ways.  You can be convicted of DUI, or Driving Under the Influence, if you were driving a vehicle: (1) with either a blood alcohol or breath alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or greater, or (2) while your normal faculties were impaired.  The penalties are the same regardless of which way the DUI offense is proven.  The law extends to many substances, including alcohol, drugs, cold medications, and various prescription medications.  You can be arrested for DUI if you are under the influence of any of these substances to the extent that your normal faculties are impaired or if your BAC is .08 or greater.

If you are arrested for DUI, your driver’s license may be subject to suspension.  This suspension will be imposed by the Department of Motor Vehicle after your DUI arrest if you refused to take a breath test or if your breath test results were .08 or greater.  A suspension can be for 6 months, 12 months, or 18 months from the date of arrest.  If the suspension is imposed, you will be issued a temporary driver’s license that will expire at the end of the tenth day after your arrest.  You have only 10 days from the date of your arrest to request a formal review hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles to contest your administrative license suspension.  This hearing is critical and can often affect whether a driver’s license suspension is lifted or upheld.  If you fail to request a hearing within 10 days, you will have waived your right to have the suspension reviewed.

The evidence in a DUI case usually consists of the data retrieved from a breathalyzer test, results of roadside field sobriety exercises, the accused’s driving pattern, the accused’s personal appearance and behavior, and any incriminating statements made by the accused.  The criminal defense attorneys at Rice Law Firm will carefully examine the evidence in your case to determine, among other things, whether law enforcement had valid reasons to pull you over, whether proper procedures were followed, whether the evidence against you was legally obtained, whether the breathalyzer was functioning properly, and whether the officer had probable cause to arrest. 

The penalties for a first-offense DUI conviction are severe and can include:

  • 6 months in county jail (more if your BAC was .20 or higher or if a child was in the vehicle)
  • Fines of up to $500 ($1000 if BAC was .20 or higher)
  • 6-month criminal suspension of driver’s license (begins on the date of conviction)
  • Impoundment of vehicle for 10 days
  • 12 hours of DUI school
  • Up to one year of probation
  • 50 hours of community service or an additional $500 fine
  • Substance Abuse Evaluation
  • Court costs, costs of prosecution, and costs of investigation (in addition to the
    fines mentioned above)

If you are convicted of DUI, a second suspension of your driving privileges will begin on the date of your conviction.  This suspension is different from, and in addition to, the administrative suspension that may have resulted after your DUI arrest.  In addition, DUI penalties can be increased based on the severity of the offense and will become more severe for each subsequent DUI conviction. 

DUI is a serious offense in the state of Florida.  A DUI conviction should note be taken lightly, as the consequences are severe and will affect your future.  Not only will a DUI conviction appear on both your criminal record and driving record, but the conviction can also result in significant financial loss and professional harm.  Individuals convicted of DUI often incur higher insurance rates and experience difficulty in securing and/or retaining employment.  Furthermore, a DUI arrest can also result in the suspension of your driver’s license.  If you have been charged with DUI, it is imperative that you obtain legal representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.  

The criminal defense attorneys at Rice Law Firm understand the intricacies of Florida DUI law and are prepared to challenge the evidence brought against you.  We are experienced in handling administrative review hearings, and we will argue on your behalf to have your driver’s license suspension lifted.  We represent clients in all stages of DUI prosecutions and will work aggressively to build a strong and effective defense in your case.  We will fight to protect your rights and your driving record. 

Contact us today so that we can carefully examine your case and advise you of your legal rights and options. You may contact us through our web mail contact form, or through our main office number, 386.257.1222. We understand that you may need our assistance after-hours or on the weekends, and in such situations, we can be reached at our after-hours number of 386.255.2464.


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