DUI - Different sanctions for DUI

St. Petersburg Lawyer Representing People Charged with Drunk Driving

You can be charged with driving under the influence in Florida if you operate your car or another vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or greater. This is considered a per se DUI, but you can also be charged with driving under the influence if you are caught driving while impaired to some degree, due to the consumption of alcohol, drugs, or some combination of them. There are different sanctions for DUIs, depending on how many prior convictions you have and other circumstances. At Hanlon Law, our St. Petersburg DUI lawyer takes these charges seriously and strongly believes in guarding the rights of the accused.

Different Sanctions for DUIs

In Florida, it is illegal to operate or be in physical control of your car or another vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs. There are implied consent laws that require all motorists who are legally arrested for a DUI to submit to chemical testing. The testing may be of breath, blood, or urine, and if you are caught with a .08% blood alcohol content, you can be charged with a per se violation.

The penalties for a first DUI conviction may include up to six months of incarceration, fines of up to $1,000, one year of probation, a mandatory license suspension of 180 days to one year, and mandatory community service. With each conviction, the sanctions worsen, moreover, making it important not to accumulate DUI convictions. For a second conviction, you may face up to nine months in jail and up to $2,000 in fines. When a second conviction happens within five years of a prior offense, your license can be revoked for five years. If you receive a third conviction within a 10-year period, it is a felony level charge. You can face up to one year in prison, up to $5,000 in fines, and a mandatory 10-year revocation of your driver's license. For fourth and subsequent convictions that are charged as felonies rather than misdemeanors, you face a potential of five years’ incarceration and $2,000 in fines. Your driver's license could be permanently revoked, and you would not be able to get it reinstated for hardship.

If the accident causes someone else a serious bodily injury, the charges may also be felony charges. Other circumstances that can result in more serious consequences include having a minor in the vehicle while driving drunk, having a particularly high blood alcohol content, a hit and run, property damage, vehicular homicide, or manslaughter.

There are often defenses available. Your attorney may be able to challenge an illegal stop, challenge the way that the field sobriety tests were conducted, or challenge the results of a chemical test. For example, it is not good enough for an officer to stop you on a hunch that you were drinking. An officer must have at least a reasonable suspicion that you had committed a crime or were about to commit a crime in order to stop you while you are driving. A reasonable suspicion is something more than a feeling, and it is a reason that the officer should be able to articulate on the stand, such as that you were weaving while driving or making other erratic movements on the road. Sometimes the machines used for chemical tests are improperly calibrated or otherwise improperly maintained, such that we can call into question the results and create a reasonable doubt. In other situations, it may be appropriate to challenge the way that field sobriety tests were conducted to cast doubt on their accuracy. For example, if you have an injured limb or another disability, that could affect the outcome of a field sobriety test. In other cases, there are field sobriety tests that are not considered reliable unless they are performed by officers with a certain certification. Sometimes it is not possible to get the charges dismissed or secure an acquittal, but it may be possible to negotiate a favorable plea deal for a lesser charge.

Consult an Experienced DUI Defense Attorney in St. Petersburg

If you are seeking a tough and skillful St. Petersburg criminal lawyer to fight various sanctions for DUI charges, Hanlon Law may be able to represent you. Our founder, Will Hanlon, has been providing dedicated criminal defense representation since 1994. You can call Hanlon Law at 727-897-5413 or use our online form. We can also help people who have been charged with reckless driving or other vehicular offenses.

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