Florida takes driving under the influence of alcohol seriously. You can be charged with a per se DUI if you physically control a car, and your blood alcohol concentration is .08% or greater. However, you can also be convicted of a DUI in Florida if you are impaired at least slightly because you drank alcohol, did drugs, or both. Clearwater DUI lawyer Will Hanlon fights for the rights of people charged with this crime.Fighting a DUI Charge
You can get a DUI even if your car is not moving on a Florida road. It is illegal to operate or be in physical control of a car while you are intoxicated. Moreover, there are implied consent laws in Florida. If you are lawfully arrested for a DUI, you are deemed to have consented to chemical testing so that the amount of drugs or alcohol in your system can be determined.
A first DUI may be punished with time in jail as well as a fine of $500-$1,000, a license suspension, the impoundment of your vehicle, and the installation of an ignition interlock device at your own expense. You will likely face a mandatory 50 hours of community service. However, the court may choose to sentence you to an alcoholism treatment program or a residential drug abuse program to be credited toward a prison term.
If your BAC is under .15%, and you did not have a minor in the car, it is unlikely that you would receive more than 6 months of jail. However, if your blood alcohol level was .15% or greater, or you had a minor in the car, you can face 9 months of incarceration and a $1,000-$2,000 fine. If you injured someone while committing a DUI, you can face third-degree felony charges. It is especially important to consult a DUI attorney in the Clearwater area if you may be charged with a felony.
If you keep accumulating DUI offenses, you will face more serious penalties. The court will look back over a 5-year or 10-year period to determine how much incarceration should be imposed for a second, third, fourth, or subsequent offense.
If you have a second DUI, it will likely be charged as a misdemeanor too. On the other hand, if you got into an accident and seriously injured somebody, you may be charged with a third-degree felony. If you have a third DUI during 10 years, you will likely be charged with a third-degree felony. This means that you could be sentenced to up to 5 years in prison. You may also face fines of $2,000-$5,000 and face a license revocation for a minimum of 10 years.
Someone who is convicted of a fourth DUI may receive a habitual or violent felony offender classification. Once someone is classified as this, he or she may receive an extended term of imprisonment for further offenses. However, a Clearwater DUI attorney can help you try to avoid this classification.
There may be defenses available to a DUI charge. You should hire a skillful Clearwater criminal defense attorney who understands the strategies available to defend you. There may be procedural or technical errors that can pave the way to a dismissal or acquittal on the charges. For example, the police must have had a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity to detain you. If they did not have a reasonable suspicion and were merely operating on a hunch when they stopped you, any evidence obtained during the stop may be subject to a motion to suppress. In some instances, there are procedural problems with field sobriety tests or chemical tests that can be a basis for fighting a DUI charge. Like other crimes, a DUI must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and if we can weaken the evidence supporting the charge, the prosecutor may not be able to meet this burden.Hire a DUI Lawyer in the Clearwater Area
If you are charged with a DUI in Clearwater, you should retain an attorney who will fight for your rights. Our firm's founder, Will Hanlon, has fought for people accused of crimes since 1994. Contact us at 727-897-5413 or via our online form.