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DUI FAQ – What You Need to Know about Florida Law

1. What warrants being stopped for driving under the influence?

Usually, any kind of erratic driving behavior will raise an officer’s suspicions. Things like swerving, weaving, driving unusually slow or very fast, excessive stops, and ignoring traffic signs indicate that someone is driving under the influence

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What you need to know about Florida’s DUI Penalities

If you drink a drive, it is scientifically proven that you dramatically increase your chances of being in a car crash. Each time you enter your vehicle, you should be aware of the potential consequences that face you if you are pulled over and arrested for driving under the influence.

Because of Florida’s “Implied Consent Law,” any motorist who has signed his or her driver’s license (essentially, this means everybody with a driver’s license) has already consented to submitting to a blood, urine, or breathalyzer test and is required to comply with the officer’s request. This means that if you refuse to submit to a roadside breathalyzer test, blood test, or urine analysis test, this refusal will result in your license being suspended for one year. A second refusal results in a suspension of 18 months. Moreover, a drunk driving arrest can have extreme consequences on your life and your overall reputation in the community. Florida Law requires any person found to have committed the crime of DUI to be adjudicated guilty, meaning that your record can never be expunged of the offense. Therefore, your record cannot ever be sealed and your DUI will be public information. In addition to the damage to your record, first-time DUI offenders face a minimum of six months with a suspended license, as well as a fine ranging from a minimum of $500 to a maximum of $1,000. Also, there is a mandatory monthly probationary requirement for a period of up to one year in addition to at least 50 hours of community service. Second-time offenders and further convictions face even stricter penalties with higher fines and stricter consequences. Third-time offenders and subsequent offenses can be treated by the court as third degree felonies, which are punishable by up to five years in prison.

Per MADD’s (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) most recent statistics, Florida had 660 DUI-related fatalities in 2011. This equates to approximately 27% of total traffic deaths last year. With over 108,000 three-time offenders and over 13,000 five-time offenders, an average drunk driver has driven drunk 80 times before their first arrest. Per MADD, one in three people will be involved in an alcohol-related crash in their lifetime.

On any DUI arrest, a judge can levy additional penalties to the driver depending on the severity of the driver’s blood alcohol content at the time of arrest. Don’t become a statistic. Be aware of the consequences that come with a DUI arrest and don’t drive when you’re impaired. If you’ve been arrested for DUI and are searching for a Jacksonville drunk driving lawyer/attorney or criminal defense lawyer/attorney, contact Casey Bryant, P.A. of Jax Defense.

Finding a Drunk Driving Lawyer in Jacksonville

If you’ve been arrested for drunk driving, it does not have to mean the end of your reputation. If you’ve been arrested for DUI or DWI, it is vital to contact an experienced defense attorney who has the ability, experience, and knowledge base to fight for your rights. Don’t face the defense of your DUI conviction alone and risk making uneducated decisions. If you’re in search of a trial tested drunk driving lawyer in Jacksonville, Florida, then don’t hesitate to contact the lawyers of Jax Defense today.

A drunk driving arrest can have extreme consequences on your life and your overall reputation in the community. Florida Law requires any person found to have committed the crime of DUI to be adjudicated guilty. This means that your record can never be expunged of the offense and will have a permanent black mark because your record cannot ever be sealed. In addition to the damage to your record, first-time DUI offenders face a minimum of six months with a suspended license, as well as a fine ranging from a minimum of $500 to a maximum of $1,000. Conviction also comes with a mandatory monthly probationary requirement for a period of up to one year in addition to at least 50 hours of community service. Second-time offenders and further convictions face even stricter penalties with higher fines and stricter consequences.

At Jax Defense, we realize that being arrested for drunk driving can be an extremely scary thing to face because it is a serious crime with severe penalties. People make mistakes. Make sure you’re taking the proper precautions to defend your rights and fight conviction. Contact our drunk driving lawyers in Jacksonville, Florida today for a free consultation to discuss your options and evaluate your specific case.

Probation Violations

An individual can be put on probation for a violation of the law that is either a misdemeanor or felony. When put on probation an order of probation is entered and this document outlines what are the requirements of probation. All probationers must abide by the general conditions of probation, these typically include: report to the probation office as directed, pay the cost of supervision, not change residence or employment without notice to probation officer, do not own or possess firearm, live without violating the law, do not associate with others involved in criminal activity, do not use or possess intoxicants, hold or seek employment, comply with all orders of court and probation officer, pay restitution and court costs, and submit to random drug tests.

In addition, a court may impose special conditions. A special condition is a condition that is unique to the probationer’s case. They may include; community service hours, AA or NA meetings, rehab, counseling, a letter of apology, curfew, and/or fines.

To violate a condition of probation, the condition must exist in the order of probation. A skilled criminal defense attorney must review the order of probation and analyze; whether the condition exists, whether the condition is lawful and whether a willful and substantial violation of probation has occurred. If a probationer admits or is found by a preponderance of the evidence to have violated probation, a judge may revoke the probation and sentence the offender to the maximum penalty minus credit for any time already served.

At the Law Office of Casey Bryant we have handled probation violations on both misdemeanor and felony cases throughout the North Floirda area. We have the experience to present evidence for reinstatement and fight against the violation, whether it is a failed drug test, a new law violation, or a failure to pay, contact our office now and let our experienced criminal defense attorneys fight for you. We offer a free consultation and payment plans are available.

Enhanced Penalties for DUI

When you are faced with a DUI, it’s difficult enough to imagine what the penalties may be. However, what happens when you’re faced with enhanced penalties for DUI? Florida has issued more stern penalties when certain circumstances arise during a DUI charge.

The standard limit to operate a motor vehicle is .08%. If a driver is found with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) higher than that, then he or she may be facing a DUI. Now, if a driver is found to be operating a vehicle with a concentration level of .15% , he or she may be facing enhanced penalties. Also, if you are a driver who is arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs with a minor present in the vehicle, you may also be facing enhanced penalties.

According to Florida State Law, enhanced penalties may apply for a first DUI offense with an enhancement:

  • Fine of $1,000 to $2,000 (regular fine is $500 to $1,000)
  • Imprisonment for up to 9 months (regular term is up to 6 months)
  • Note: driver’s license revocation periods remain the same

If this is a driver second, third, or fourth DUI offense, then the penalties may increase. If you or someone you love is facing DUI enhanced penalties, it’s important to contact an experienced DUI lawyer like Casey Bryant, P.A. Instead of facing jail time, driver’s license revocation, and heavy fines, the right DUI attorney can save you and your freedom. With decades of experience, we’ve handled a variety of DUI cases with dedication, focus, and above all confidence.

Contact us today to get started when you’re faced with a DUI with enhanced penalties. The time to act is now.

 

Is DUI a Crime?

This is an important question, especially for those who have been convicted of a DUI and are seeking employment. That one question, which is inevitably on every job application, “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?” can be confusing for those who do not consider a DUI as a crime.

In some states, a DUI is considered to be just a traffic offense while other states deem it as a misdemeanor or felony. In Florida, a DUI is considered to be a crime. Any conviction where a judge or jury has declared a person guilty of a criminal offense is considered to a be a “crime,” including driving under the influence.

A misdemeanor or felony DUI conviction in the state of Florida can result in serious penalties. You could be facing fines between $500 to $10,000; 6 months to 4 years in jail; counseling; license revocation or suspension and other penalties.

When certain circumstances occur during the incident, like property damage, bodily injury, and death, then there is a substantial increase in penalties.

All convictions appear on your criminal record, unless you are able to have the offense expunged. This means that if you are convicted of DUI, then you have to declare it in job applications as a crime.

Need a Second Chance?

Under the right circumstances, you may be eligible to have your record expunged, but you must act fast. Our DUI attorneys can help put you on the right path towards restoring your good name and having a successful, bright future.

Contact our experienced and trusted Jacksonville, Florida, attorney to learn more about DUI convictions and crimes.

 

Consequences of a DUI

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol has become a serious matter in the state of Florida. The consequences and penalties of such action can be long lasting and effect you both emotionally and physically for a long time.

After a considerable amount of deaths and injuries related to DUIs, many states have taken a stand and fought back by implementing stricter penalties on offenders. Judges are sending a distinct message that DUIs will no longer be tolerated in the state of Florida in the manner of executing larger fines and harder penalties.

According to AlcoholAlert.com, there were 2,558 DUI-related fatalities in the state of Florida. In 2008, there was a recorded 2,978 fatalities, and in 2007, there were 3,214 fatalities. As you can see, the number of DUI-related deaths continues to decrease as Florida courts get stricter.

The Dangers of DUI

When you have a blood alcohol content of just .10 (the legal limit is .08), you’re at seven times higher of a risk for being involved in a crash that could kill you or someone you know. Once you step in that vehicle and back out, you become a driving time bomb ready to explode at any minute damaging property and causing bodily injury.

General Penalties for First-Time Offenders

If you are facing your first Florida DUI and you had a blood alcohol level less than .20%, here are the consequences you face:

  • Up to $500 in fines
  • 50 hours of community service
  • Up to 6 months in jail
  • 10 days of vehicle impoundment
  • DUI education requirement
  • Ignition interlock on vehicle

If your blood alcohol level was .20% or higher, you face the above penalties, with these increased amounts:

  • Up to $1000 in fines
  • Up to 9 months in jail

To learn more about the consequences of a DUI conviction, contact our trusted team of attorneys. We’ll be happy to discuss your case with you and recommend the right steps to ensure you keep your freedom and your name intact.

 

Types of Evidence

In a criminal case there are many different types of evidence the prosecution will attempt to use to prove a criminal defendant’s guilty beyond any and all reasonable doubt. Some of the most frequently used classifications of evidence are; testimonial, physical, scientific, and legal.

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What Constitutes Reasonable Suspicion for Field Sobriety Tests?

When a motorist is stopped and the officer is suspicious of alcohol us, the suspect is normally asked to vacate the vehicle and asked to perform tests to determine physical dexterity and mental awareness. These tests are known as field sobriety tests. They normally consist of the following:

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test
Police officers will ask the suspect to look at an object, like a pen, while the object is moving back and forth. The officer is watching the eyes of the suspect looking for a lack of smooth pursuit. If nystagmus can be detected, the suspect will more than likely be arrested.

“Walk-and-Turn” Test
The walk and turn test is a divided attention test. To perform the test, you must take nine; heel-to-toe steps forward, pivot, then take nine heel-to-toe steps back. While performing this test, you are asked to count out loud the number of steps that you have taken.

“One-Legged” Test
The one-leg test is another divided attention test. The officer asks the driver to raise one foot six inches off the ground, count out loud until you’re told to stop, then look down, point your toe out, and keep you arms at your side.

When can an officer request a field sobriety test?
Many of our clients often ask what level of evidence is necessary for the officer to demand these tests. In other words, when you are pulled over for a traffic infringement, what must the officer notice in order to qualify reasonable suspicion? Despite popular belief, the smell of alcohol is not enough. Most courts require a combination of factors, including swerving of the vehicle, speeding, slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, and a strong odor of alcohol.

Often, a person is not initially pulled over wholly because of a suspicion of alcohol. A person is initially pulled over due to a minor traffic violation and upon closer inspection; an officer notices signs of driving while intoxicated. In the State v. Kliphouse, the Florida court stated the mere presence of an odor of alcohol alone is legally insufficient to form a basis for reasonable suspicion of impairment while operating a vehicle. Almost all police reports read like a guide and describe these three factors: bloodshot eyes, odor of alcohol, flushed face and/or slurred speech.

If you feel you’ve been unfairly demanded to submit to a field sobriety test, contact Casey Bryant, P.A. We’ll give your case the attention it deserves to ensure you are treated fairly by the Florida court system.

 


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Jacksonville, Florida 32204

 

 

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