DUI Defense

Driving under the influence and while intoxicated is a dangerous, and unfortunately, common occurrence. In 2016, a total of 44,643 DUI arrests occurred in the state of Florida. According to a 2012 survey conducted by the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 1.9% of people surveyed nationwide reported driving despite drinking too much over the last 30 days. In Florida, 2.1% reported they’d driven while intoxicated. While we all know impaired driving is both illegal and unethical, it is still prevalent in our society.

Nowadays, DUI checkpoints and law enforcement are cracking down on intoxicated drivers. Legislation like Leandra’s Law, which makes it an automatic felony to drive while intoxicated with a child in the car, and a stronger police presence on highways make driving while intoxicated even more difficult to get away with. Which is why if you’ve been pulled over for DUI, you will need a good DUI defense lawyer.

DUI Penalties in Pinellas County, Florida

Nationwide, the threshold for being considered a DUI is driving with a blood-alcohol content at .08% or above. While law enforcement does take the process of determining intoxicated drivers seriously, first offenses for DUIs are comparably more lenient than subsequent offenses.

First DUI Offense

First offenses are misdemeanors and can result in:

  • a fine between $250 to $500
  • license revocation between 6 months to 1 year
  • attendance to DUI school
  • at least 50 hours of community service
  • probation of up to one year
  • no more than 6 months in jail
  • vehicle impounding for 10 days if the vehicle is not a family’s primary form of transportation

First offense DUIs with a BAC of .015 or with a minor in the car result in:

  • 9 months imprisonment,
  • a $1,000 to $2,000 fine
  • the installation of an ignition interlocking device for up to 6 months

Second DUI Offense

Second offenses are also misdemeanors resulting in:

  • up to 9 months of imprisonment
  • 1 year of probation
  • a $500 to $1,000 fine
  • 6 months to 1 year license suspension
  • DUI school
  • vehicle impoundment for 10 days
  • the installation of an ignition interlocking device for 1 year

Second offenses with a BAC of .015% or higher or with a minor in the car result in:

  • up to one year imprisonment
  • a $2,000 to $4,000 fine
  • 6 months to 1 year license suspension
  • installation of an ignition interlocking device for 2 years

If this is your second DUI within 5 years of a first offense:

Penalties result in:

  • mandatory 10 days to 9 months imprisonment
  • 1 year of probation
  • a $500 to $1,000 fine
  • 5 years license suspension
  • DUI school
  • vehicle impoundment for 30 days (not concurrent with imprisonment)
  • the ignition interlocking device installed for 1 year

With a recorded BAC of .015% or a minor in the car result in:

  • Up to 1 year imprisonment
  • $2,000 to $4,000 fine
  • Ignition interlocking device for 2 years
  • 6 months to 1 year suspended license

Third DUI Offense

Third offense DUIs in more than 10 years of the second offence result in:

  • 1 year of imprisonment
  • 1 year of probation
  • a $2,000 to $5,000 fine
  • 6 mo-1 year license suspension
  • DUI school</li
  • vehicle impounding for 10 days
  • Installation of an ignition interlocking device for 2 years

Third offense DUIs in less than 10 years of the second offense result in:

  • imprisonment for 30 days to 5 years
  • 5 years of probation
  • $2,000 to $5.000 fine
  • license suspension for 10 years
  • DUI school
  • 90-day vehicle impoundment
  • installation of an ignition interlocking device for 2 years

Third offense within 10 years with a BAC over .015% or a minor in the car result in all above charges and a minimum $4,000 fine.

DUI Diversion Program

According to the above information, DUIs can be a permanent aspect of your record. There is a way, however, to dismiss a DUI charge before going to trial. Florida offers a number of DUI diversion programs, including the “DUI pretrial diversion” which as the name suggests, dismisses a DUI charge before going to trial if eligible and successfully completed.

The DUI diversion program typically includes community service hours, DUI Level 1 school, recommended treatment or counseling, a Victim Impact class, random urine testing, and a 10 day vehicle impoundment. While it seems like a lot, the program will ensure that the charge is not visible to employers or banks in the future.

An important aspect to note is that DUI diversion programs typically cost more than other types of diversion programs, costing around $1,750 not including the cost of all classes. This cost breaks down into a $750 program cost that goes to the state attorney’s office, and a $1,000 monetary contribution to organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving. A Victim Impact class can cost around $50 and the installation of an ignition interlocking device, which some programs require, can cost around $250 plus monthly fees.

DUI Defenses in Pinellas County, Florida

Although you may believe DUI charges and evidence are air-tight, there are still some defenses you can use if you believe your arrest was handled incorrectly. In a DUI case, certain aspects can be challenged, such as the reason for the stop, the field sobriety test administration, and the Breathalyzer results. Certain questions used in the defense process include:

  • Were search and seizure rights violated?
  • Does the officer’s account match the dashboard camera footage?
  • Were Miranda Rights read?
  • Was the Breathalyzer calibrated properly?
  • Did the police officer behave appropriately?

Pinellas Criminal Law uses these defenses and many others to ensure your case is defended as strongly as possible.

Contact Pinellas Criminal Law in Pinellas, Florida Today

If you are currently facing DUI charges, it is unwise to not seek legal advice. DUI charges are often quite serious and can leave permanent marks on your record. With the experienced attorney team at Pinellas Criminal Law, you have a chance at defending your rights and freedoms. Contact us today!