10 Things to Know About DUI Offenses in Clearwater

If you or a loved one has been arrested for a DUI in the State of Florida, contact one of the experienced and highly qualified attorneys at The Law Offices of Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan — a DUI defense law firm in Clearwater. We are former state prosecutors with more than 25 years of experience in the Pinellas County court systems who are dedicated to defending your rights and protecting your privilege to drive. We routinely deal with the DHSMV, and we will act quickly to evaluate the facts of your DUI charge, formulate a strong defense, and work towards getting your DUI charge reduced to reckless driving.

To answer some of your immediate questions and provide you with a better understanding of your options, this article will review 10 things you should know about DUI offenses in Clearwater.

1. What Constitutes a DUI in Florida?

In the State of Florida, an individual is guilty of a DUI if he or she is driving or is in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence when affected to the extent that his or her normal faculties are impaired. Under Florida law, you may be charged with driving under the influence if your blood-alcohol level is 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or your breath-alcohol level is 0.08 grams or more of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.

2. Can You Refuse to Take a Breath, Blood, or Urine Test?

Under Florida law, if you refuse to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test, your license will be suspended. If this is your first DUI arrest, your license could be administratively suspended for a period of one year. If this is your second or subsequent DUI arrest and you have previously refused to submit a sample and you refuse to submit a sample again, your license could be administratively suspended for a period of 18 months.

3. What Are the Penalties For a First Offense?

The possible legal consequences of a first-offense DUI in Florida include fines and court costs ranging from $1,000 to $1,500, probation, at least 50 hours of community service, license suspension ranging from six months to one year, vehicle impoundment, and possible jail time.

4. What Are the Penalties For a Second Offense?

A standard-second offense DUI in Florida carries a minimum 10-day jail sentence, fines and court costs ranging from $1,500 to $2,500 a license suspension of at least five years if you have had a prior DUI conviction within the past five years, mandatory ignition interlock devices placed on your vehicle for at least one year, and up to 30 days vehicle impoundment.

5. What Are the Penalties For a Third Offense?

Any individual convicted of a third-offense DUI in Florida faces an administrative revocation of their license for at least ten years (if they have had at least one DUI within the past ten years), a minimum jail sentence of at least 30 days, fines ranging from $2,500 to $4,500, impoundment of their vehicle for up to 90 days, and ignition interlock devices installed on their vehicles for at least two years.

6. Can You Drive If Your License Was Taken?

If your license was seized by the law enforcement officer during your arrest and suspended, you have the right to challenge this administrative suspension via a hearing. If you successfully win this hearing, your driver’s license suspension will be invalidated. Other options for you to continue driving include seeking a temporary driving permit or securing a hardship license. A member of our highly experienced DUI defense team will discuss these options with you to determine the best course of action for your unique situation.

7. What Are Some Possible Defenses in DUI Cases?

Partnering with a highly-experienced reputable DUI defense attorney is crucial to developing a strong defense for your case. Possible defenses include:

  • Lack of probable cause
  • Improper stop by police
  • Inaccurate or invalid field sobriety test
  • Lack of evidence of driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle
  • Improper testing or storage of blood alcohol samples
  • Improper interrogationImproper maintenance or calibration of the Intoxilyzer machine
    Medical issues that were misdiagnosed by law enforcement as impairment

8. What Is Implied Consent in Florida?

By obtaining a driver’s license in the State of Florida, you are giving your consent to submit to an approved chemical or physical test of breath, blood, or urine once probable cause arises that you have driven under the influence. This is why failing to submit to the test will suspend your privilege to operate a motor vehicle for at least one year or 18 months, depending on whether or not you have previously refused such testing.

9. Will My DUI Be Classified As a Felony?

Generally speaking, a first- or second-offense DUI without aggravation factors is classified as a misdemeanor. For a first or second offense to be classified as a felony, you would have to cause serious bodily injury or death to another individual. A third-offense is automatically classified as a felony if it is within ten years of a previous DUI conviction. A fourth-offense DUI can be filed by the State Attorney as a felony, regardless of how old the prior convictions are.

10. Do I Need DUI Defense in Clearwater?

If you’ve been arrested for a DUI offense in the State of Florida, you absolutely need to invest in DUI defense in Clearwater. You’ll have the best chance of reducing your charge and getting your license back if you have a knowledgeable and competent attorney on your side who can easily spot the issues associated with your criminal court case and formal review process. We can file all of the appropriate documents necessary to seek a temporary driving permit, file an application for a formal review hearing, seek to invalidate the suspension of your license at this hearing, help you secure a hardship license, and more.

For a free consultation with a DUI defense law firm in Clearwater, please contact Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Call our office for a free consultation at (727) 578-0303

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