TAMPA DUI LAWYER PROTECTING YOUR RIGHTS & FIGHTING FOR JUSTICE
A conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) in the state of Florida can have severe consequences. If you are arrested and charged with DUI, your driving privilege, your financial resources, and in some cases even your freedom will be at stake.
In the Tampa Bay area, you can’t put your DUI case in the hands of the wrong Tampa DUI lawyer. Far too much will be at risk.
WHEN CAN THE POLICE ARREST YOU FOR DUI?
If you are stopped by the police and arrested for DUI, you will probably be asked to blow into a breathalyzer device that measures your blood alcohol content (BAC) level. The law presumes that a driver with a BAC level at 0.08 percent or above is under the influence.
However, drivers with a BAC level under 0.08 percent may also be prosecuted or convicted for DUI. If a police officer reasonably believes you are impaired by drugs other than alcohol, that officer can arrest you, you can be charged with DUI, and the breath test results will not matter.
Even if you are charged with “simple” DUI, it’s a serious matter, but if you cause a traffic accident or injure someone while you’re under the influence, you could face penalties that will change your life – and not in a good way.
WHAT ARE FLORIDA’S BASIC DUI PENALTIES?
Listed here are Florida’s basic penalties for a simple DUI conviction with no property damage, no injuries, and no other aggravating circumstances:
- A first DUI conviction is punishable with a one-year driver’s license revocation; up to six months in jail; and a fine of up to $1,000.
- A second DUI conviction is punishable with a five-year driver’s license revocation; up to 270 days in jail; and a fine of up to $2,000.
- A third DUI conviction is punishable with a ten-year driver’s license revocation; up to 5 years in prison; and a fine of up to $5,000.
- When the license suspension period is complete, installation of an IID (ignition interlock device) in an offender’s vehicle is required for all convicted Florida DUI offenders.
WHAT ARE THE OTHER CONSEQUENCES OF A DUI CONVICTION?
Legal penalties, of course, are not the only possible consequences you’ll face after a DUI conviction. Your employment – and your ability to find other employment – may be at risk, particularly if driving is your job or is an essential part of your work.
Your auto insurance will cost more after a DUI conviction, and you’ll probably never again pay what you’re paying now. If you hold a professional license, your licensing board may place you on probation or suspend or revoke your professional license.
And if you are an immigrant in the state of Florida, a DUI conviction could trigger a deportation order or make you inadmissible if you leave the United States and then try to re-enter the country.
HOW DOES A FIRST TIME DUI OFFENDER PROGRAM WORK?
If you are facing your first DUI charge, you may qualify for the Reducing Impaired Driving Recidivism (RIDR) program, which is available in Hillsborough County. Eligible first-time offenders may be able to reduce their charges to reckless driving and avoid serious penalties by completing this program. To complete the program, offenders must:
- remain crime-free
- complete all recommended treatment and DUI school
- attend the MADD Victim Impact Panel
- complete community service
These are some of the many terms that offenders must comply with in order to complete the RIDR program. First-time offenders who successfully make it through RIDR will be offered a plea of reckless driving.
WHAT DEFENSES ARE TYPICALLY OFFERED AGAINST DUI CHARGES?
If the state’s evidence against you is overwhelming and a conviction is certain, your attorney may suggest taking the offer of a First Time DUI Offender Program. However, if you believe that you’re not guilty, a Tampa DUI attorney may offer one of these defenses on your behalf:
- The “improper stop” defense is a claim that the police officer did not have sufficient, legal probable cause to make the traffic stop in the first place.
- Alcohol takes a few minutes to absorb fully into the system. The “rising blood alcohol concentration” defense is a claim that a suspect was below the legal limit while driving but the suspect’s BAC level rose after the traffic stop and before the breath test.
- Your attorney may challenge the breathalyzer test. Was the police officer properly trained, the test properly conducted, and the breathalyzer device properly calibrated and maintained? Breath tests can be inaccurate for a variety of reasons.
FIND OUT MORE
With over 24 years of legal experience, Tampa DUI attorney Patrick B. Courtney has effectively represented scores of DUI defendants. He knows how to bring these cases to the best possible conclusion.
Pat Courtney represents clients in Hillsborough, Pasco, Polk, Pinellas, Manatee, and Sarasota counties. Find out more by calling (813) 967-2000 or by completing the online contact form on this website.