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How Much Does a DUI Cost?

How Much Does a DUI Cost?

 

One of the most common questions that our experienced team of DUI defense attorneys is asked is, “How much is all of this going to cost?” The short answer is – it depends. 

The DUI statute in Florida mandates a minimum penalty to be imposed by the court on if convicted of a DUI. The court may impose harsher penalties depending on the specifics of the case, going up to the maximum specified in the same statute. 

Only the best DUI lawyer in Clearwater will be able to clear or reduce the charges for you in such cases. Read on for a detailed breakdown of the costs involved in being convicted of driving under the influence. 

DUI Cost Breakdown in Florida

Bail Fee

After an arrest, the booking deputy will set a bond based upon the Pinellas County Bond Schedule. This bond amount can vary from being released on your own recognizance or “ROR” (you do not need to post any money to get out of jail) to $10,000.00 or more if there are prior DUI convictions or serious injuries.

 

Court Fines and Costs

The fines and court costs associated with a DUI offense vary depending on a few circumstances. These include your prior record of DUI convictions, you breath or blood alcohol level, and whether or not there were any minors in the vehicle at the time of the offense. If convicted of a DUI offense, the fines and court costs can range from $1,000.00 up to $5,000.00.

 

Attorney Fee 

There are multiple factors at play when it comes to attorney fees – whether you are a first-time offender, whether you want to take a plea or go to trial, how reputed an attorney you are seeking, etc. Consider a window of $2,500 – $10,000 in attorney fees, which may go up if you are a repeat offender or if there was an accident with injuries or death. 

While showing up in court without an attorney is permissible, we would not recommend it. DUI charges are serious and complicated, but the best DUI attorneys in Clearwater can help defend your case in court. 

 

Vehicle Towing and Storage fees

While you are getting arrested and taken to jail, your car is often towed away for storage in a secure facility. Depending on how far this storage facility is, expect to be charged anything between $50 to $200 for vehicle towing fees. Additionally, if the arrest was made by the St. Petersburg Police Department, a local ordinance in the City of St. Petersburg allows for an additional penalty of $500.00 to the city in order to secure the release of your vehicle.

 

Victim Impact Panel

In some cases, the court may order an individual accused of DUI to attend a Victim Impact Panel. These seminars, which may be available online, normally contain 3-4 DUI victims sharing their stories of being affected by a drunk driving accident. The aim is to educate the offender and to deter them from future instances of impaired driving. The offender may be charged around $100 for a Victim Impact Panel in a DUI case in Florida. 

 

Insurance Cost Increase

Even a single DUI charge can increase your auto insurance by 2 to 3 times, resulting in an annual increase of far over a thousand dollars. Additionally, any discounts or insurance coverage you may have gathered over time will likely be forfeited. There have also been cases when existing insurance providers have dropped clients with DUI charges against them, in which case finding new coverage is both difficult and costly. 

 

Probation and Monitoring Costs

The offender is required to pay probation costs on their own, which may cost anything between $55 to $3,300 in Florida, based on our experience. This includes regular alcohol/drug testing, which may cost a few hundred dollars, and using wearable monitors which cost $10 per day. Our top-rated DUI defense team will work with you to minimize these costs by completing court expectations in advance of ever appearing in front of a judge.

 

DUI Traffic School

If the authorities mandate, you may have to attend traffic school at your own cost. While traffic school charges may vary, the typical range is $325-$450. The costs for repeat offenders will be higher because they may have to undergo additional courses like a state-approved driver intervention program. In addition to the school, a corresponding alcohol evaluation is conducted. If ordered to do counseling, the costs generally range from $500-$1,000. 

 

Driver’s License Reinstatement Fees

Florida’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) charges a penalty upon the suspension or restriction of a license, and further on its reinstatement after you meet the requirements threshold. This will cost you around $250.

 

Ignition Interlock Costs

Ignition interlock devices check your blood alcohol content before your vehicle starts. The court may mandate you to install such a device in your vehicle after a DUI charge, at your own expense. The equipment also needs to be maintained regularly. Therefore, along with a one-time charge of $150 for purchasing the equipment, you may add up another $150 per month for service. 

How Can a Lawyer Help Me If I Get a DUI?

A DUI charge in Florida is not just challenging but also overwhelming if you consider the time and costs that you must bear. With a capable DUI defense lawyer by your side, you can delegate the management and documentation of your case to a dependable expert. Securing favourable outcomes such as a reduction to reckless driving can often alleviate many of the hidden costs in a DUI prosecution.

At Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan, P.A., we are regarded as one of Clearwater’s best DUI attorneys. Our professional legal team has successfully defended numerous clients in Florida, including in high-profile cases. 

Get in contact with the best DUI lawyer in Clearwater to discuss your situation in more detail!

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.

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Celebrate Responsibly: Tips for Planning a Safe Halloween Weekend

Celebrate Responsibly: Tips for Planning a Safe Halloween Weekend

 

Halloween is right around the corner, and where there is Halloween for adults, there is alcohol. And where there is alcohol, there is a chance of getting a DUI. Across the country, DUI cases spike by 25 percent during the holiday season. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2015, 52 percent of total fatalities in traffic accidents on Halloween night were attributable to drunk driving, and they warn that number is rising each year. Therefore, the top DUI lawyers in Clearwater with Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan, P.A. urge you to celebrate responsibly during this time. If you do find yourself arrested for a DUI, we can help you fight for your rights and potentially lessen the charge.

To learn our top tips for planning a safe Halloween holiday this year, read on.

1. Have a Designated Driver

If you are planning to have a drink at a Halloween party, always have a designated driver with you who is not drinking during the celebration. If you suspect that your designated driver has been drinking, do not get in the vehicle with them. 

Additionally, you should never carry an open container of alcohol into the vehicle with you. Even if you are not the designated driver behind the wheel, even a passenger in a motor vehicle can be cited for possessing an Open Container.

2. Pre-Order a Rideshare Service to Travel Home

After you have been drinking, it is easier to make poor decisions, like deciding to drive when you’ve had a few drinks. Even if you believe you are not over the legal BAC limit of 0.08, you are at a greater risk of getting into an accident or driving recklessly, which could lead to a traffic citation, or worse. 

Instead, pre-order an Uber or Lyft and schedule it to arrive after your festivities are over. Knowing your ride home is on its way will help you to circumvent the need or desire to get behind the wheel at all.

3. Call an Attorney at Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan, P.A. If Pulled Over

If you are pulled over or arrested for driving under the influence on Halloween, contacting an attorney at Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan, P.A. is of utmost importance. As the top DUI attorneys in Clearwater, we are able to assess the circumstances of your arrest and swiftly plan a strategic approach to limit the impact of any charge. In some cases, we may be able to present mitigating circumstances to the prosecutor that might result in the charge being reduced from a DUI to reckless driving. 

Our team has successfully represented thousands of DUI cases in Pinellas County, meaning we know the ins and outs of the 6th Judicial Circuit, and are familiar with many of the judges and prosecutors. We are former State Prosecutors who are also certified intoxilyzer operators, and are able to determine if the police who administered the breathalyzer test did so appropriately. If you have found yourself in an unfortunate situation on Halloween night, we provide free consultations over the phone at any time.

Don’t Drink and Drive This Halloween

Drinking and driving is not only dangerous to those around you, it is also a danger to yourself. You could face severe DUI penalties if you’re pulled over, and police are especially vigilant during this time. If you are pulled over this Halloween, call the top DUI lawyers in Clearwater at Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan P.A. immediately. 

We are available at any time by calling (727) 578-0303 or completing our contact request form.

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.

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Four Things To Do If You Test Positive for Alcohol While on DUI or Reckless Driving Probation

Four Things To Do If You Test Positive for Alcohol While on DUI or Reckless Driving Probation

 

One of the standard conditions of probation imposed by the judges in Pinellas County for DUI or Reckless Driving is that the subject refrain from alcohol consumption during the period of probation. Testing by the probation department is conducted by urinalysis testing, which can detect the presence of alcohol in the urine for days after consumption. These violations are prosecuted with particular vigor by the State Attorney’s Office and taken equally seriously by the County Court judges here in the Sixth Judicial Circuit.

1. Contact Clearwater’s Top DUI Attorneys

Speaking with an experienced member of our DUI Defense team immediately after you learn of a possible violation will allow us to craft a plan of action to minimize the effects that a Violation of Probation will have on your life. Our team of lawyers practices in front of each of the County Court judges on a daily basis.

2. Consider a Hair Follicle Test

In some cases, a client is adamant that the urinalysis was a “false positive” and that he/she did not consume any alcohol. In these cases, it may make sense to secure a hair follicle test which can detect the presence of alcohol for up to 90 days after consumption. A negative hair follicle test will arm your lawyer with scientific evidence of your innocence.

3. Prepare Mitigation

In other cases, a client has “fallen off the wagon” and made an error in judgment by consuming alcohol. In those scenarios, it is best to address the problem head on and come up with a plan to give the Court and the State Attorney’s Office peace of mind that the subject is not going to reoffend. This may involve additional treatment, AA meetings, alcohol monitoring, or residential alcohol treatment.

4. Timing is Everything

If the Court receives notice of a violation of probation for a positive alcohol urinalysis test, the most common course of action is the issuance of a zero-bond warrant. The current policy of the judges in Pinellas County is to not schedule a court date until the subject has surrendered on the warrant. For this reason, it is of the utmost importance that you speak with an experienced Clearwater DUI Defense Attorney to coordinate a plan for surrender on the warrant so that a Motion for Bond/Release can be contemporaneously filed and scheduled.

If you have been charged with a Violation of Probation (VOP) in Pinellas County for a DUI or Reckless Driving, our team of top DWI lawyers in Clearwater can help. Give us a call today at 727.578.0303 so that we may discuss the facts of your case and develop a strategy that best suits the unique circumstances of your situation.

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.

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To Pee or Not To Pee | Should I Submit to Urine Testing After a DUI Arrest?

To Pee or Not To Pee | Should I Submit to Urine Testing After a DUI Arrest?

Should I Agree to Take a Urine Test if Arrested for DUI in Florida?

One of the most common questions that any DUI defense attorney in Clearwater is asked is, “Should I take the breath test?” A less common question is, “Should I submit to urine testing?” if arrested for a DUI offense.

Why Would the Police Ask for a Urine Specimen?

While most people are familiar with the idea that if they are arrested for Driving Under the Influence in St. Petersburg or Clearwater, Florida, the police will request a breath test. Fewer people are aware that law enforcement may also request that you submit to urine testing.

Florida Statute §316.1932(1)(b) provides that any person who has accepted the privilege to drive in the State of Florida has “impliedly consented” to a test of their urine for the purpose of detecting the presence of chemical or controlled substances if the individual has been lawfully arrested for driving under the influence and law enforcement has probable cause to believe that the individual is impaired by a chemical or controlled substance.

While a breath test is the primary method by which law enforcement would determine a person’s blood alcohol level, the testing of a urine specimen is the primary means by which law enforcement would determine if an individual has consumed a controlled substance or chemical substances.

Flaws in Urinalysis Testing

The problem with urine test results is that it only provides historical information. While a urine test is generally accepted within the scientific community as a reliable method of determining whether or not a substance has been consumed, it is wholly unreliable in determining how recent the substance had been consumed.

There are many substances, such as antidepressants, pain medications and cocaine, that will remain detectable in a subject’s urine sample for up to a week after consumption. Likewise, marijuana can be detected in a urine sample for up to a month, or even longer, depending on the individual’s body type and frequency of marijuana use.

As a result, the submission of a urine sample could show the presence of a substance that the defendant is not currently under the influence of. Of course, law enforcement will allege that the subject was impaired by the substance at the time of the arrest.

Is there a Benefit to Refusing the Urine Test?

In some cases, there is a tremendous benefit to refusing the urine test. In order to establish that a defendant is guilty of Driving Under the Influence of a Controlled or Chemical Substance, the State must establish not only that the subject was impaired, but also that the source of the impairment is a substance that is defined by Florida law as a Controlled Substance, pursuant to Chapter 893 of the Florida Statutes, or an illicit chemical substance, as defined by Chapter 877 of the Florida Statutes.

Imagine this scenario: you take your prescription pain medications. You then get in a car and, for whatever reason, you are stopped by law enforcement. The officer believes that you are impaired. You exercise your right to remain silent and you do not provide the officer with any information as to any medications or other substances that you consumed. You do not have your prescription medications with you in the car. After your arrest, you are taken to the police station and submit to a breath test. Of course, because you have not consumed any alcohol, the results of the breath test are 0.000. The officer then requests that you submit to a urine test. 

In this scenario, if you decline to submit to the urine test, the officer and the State Attorney will likely be unable to prove that you are DUI as they will be unable to establish that the source of the alleged impairment was a Controlled or Chemical substance. In other words, in this scenario, you may arm a Clearwater DUI lawyer with a strong argument to either secure a reduction in charge, a Not Guilty verdict, or an outright dismissal.

What Happens if I Refuse the Urine Test?

If you decline to submit to a urine test, the officer who arrested you will file a citation with the DHSMV alleging that you refused urine testing which will contain a “Notice of License Suspension.” If this is your first and only DUI arrest in your lifetime, a first refusal to submit to a breath or urine test will result in a suspension of your privilege to drive for a period of one year. If you agree to submit to a urine sample, although you may damage your chances of success in the criminal court, you will not suffer an administrative suspension of your license regardless of what substances are found in your system (though, if you are later convicted of a DUI, you would suffer a license suspension from the criminal court). If this is your first and only DUI arrest in your lifetime, you would be immediately eligible to apply for a hardship license for the entire one year driver’s license suspension.

If your driver’s license has previously been suspended for refusing to submit to a breath, urine or blood test, and you refuse a urine test for the present offense, there are two consequences. First, you will suffer an eighteen month driver’s license suspension during which time you will be ineligible to obtain a hardship license. Second, a second refusal to submit to chemical testing may result in an additional first degree misdemeanor charge being filed against you for refusal to submit to testing.

How Do I Protect Myself If I Am Unsure If I Will Test Positive on the Urine Test?

In some cases, a person is arrested for Driving Under the Influence and they are unsure of whether they will test positive for a controlled substance. For example, the individual may have smoked marijuana at a party a few weeks ago, or taken an anti-anxiety medication the day before, there is a solution.

Under Florida law, if you submit to the breath and urine tests requested by law enforcement, you are entitled to have an independent blood draw conducted to determine the presence of chemical or controlled substances in your blood. Although a urine test cannot tell us when a substance was consumed, a blood test is much more accurate for determining how recently a substance had been consumed. Thus, if you are arrested for DUI, but concerned about the joint that you smoked at a party a few weeks ago, it may be wise to advise the officer, “Yes, I will submit to the urine test, but I would also like your assistance in obtaining an independent blood test.” 

Obtaining an independent blood test that yields results that demonstrate that you did not have any chemical or controlled substances in your bloodstream at the time of your arrest can often be iron-clad affirmative evidence that you were not DUI.

What Should I Do If I Have Been Charged with a Drug-Related DUI Offense in Pinellas County?

The Clearwater DUI defense attorneys in our office are former state prosecutors and have nearly 25 combined years of experience representing individuals arrested for a DUI charge. We limit our practice to only DUI and Criminal Defense and only in Pinellas County. 

Call our office today and schedule a free consultation to discuss the unique facts and circumstances of your case with an experienced DUI lawyer in Clearwater

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.

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I Got a DUI in Florida! Does That Mean I’ll Get Points on My License?

I Got a DUI in Florida! Does That Mean I’ll Get Points on My License?

Whether you’re visiting Florida or you live in the state, getting a DUI can be a major inconvenience. Whether you use your vehicle to transport your family to and from appointments or have to drive for work, if you get a DUI in Florida you may be facing a suspension of your license. But, will you also face the additional penalty of getting points on your license?

In this brief article, a DUI defense lawyer in Clearwater with Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan who shared whether the point system applies to your license after a DUI and how to get back on the road. 

Does a DUI Put Points on Your License?

Before we answer the question of whether or not a DUI puts points on your license, let’s discuss a few basics of what the point system is. The point system in Florida is the method in which violations are scored, so to speak. 

Different violations carry different point values – for example, reckless driving conviction would add four points to your license, while speeding can add three to four points depending on how fast you were driving. If you receive too many points within a given period of time, you may be facing suspension of your license. 

To answer the original question, a DUI doesn’t add points to your license, but that’s because your license is likely already being suspended and a conviction for DUI, in and of itself, will cause significant insurance ramifications. Under Florida DUI law, a DUI charge carries the possibility of two different driver license suspensions: an “administrative” suspension which occurs on the night of the arrest, or a “court-ordered” suspension. A court ordered suspension only occurs upon conviction for the DUI offense.

How Can I Get My License Back After a DUI?

If you rely on your vehicle, you may be able to challenge an administrative suspension. In some cases, you may be eligible to immediately apply for a hardship license following your arrest. However, it’s critical that you contact DUI lawyers in Clearwater to help ensure that you meet the necessary deadlines to do so.

Defense for a DUI with License Points or Suspension

If you were charged with a DUI and are facing a license suspension, call our team of DUI lawyers in Clearwater. Our team at Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan may be able to work to get your charges reduced, and will help you learn your options to clear points from your license and get back on the road. Contact us 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.

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Arrested for a DUI While Visiting Pinellas County? Here’s What to Do Next

Arrested for a DUI While Visiting Pinellas County? Here’s What to Do Next

Pinellas County is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, including Clearwater and Honeymoon Island. The miles of pristine beach make it easy to forget about the real world, but if you are arrested for a DUI in Pinellas County you’ll quickly be snapped back to reality and your vacation could be ruined. Although this scenario is the last thing you may want to think about, it is all too common. 

In this brief article, the best DUI lawyer in Clearwater with Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan shared a few tips to help you handle a DUI charge in Pinellas County if you’re from out of town.

Traveling Home After a DUI

There are a few things out-of-state visitors may need to consider if they’ve been charged with a DUI in Pinellas County. 

The first thing out-of-towners should know is that if you are arrested for a DUI while on vacation, law enforcement may confiscate your out of state driver’s license if you provided a breath or blood alcohol level above .08 or if you refused a breath, urine or blood test. Our experienced team of DWI defense lawyers will counsel you on efforts that you must take to get through TSA security if you are flying. Likewise, our office can advocate on your behalf in an effort to challenge the suspension imposed in Florida.

When it comes to returning home, you may be permitted to travel back to your home state. In some cases, our office will need to file an Emergency Motion to Permit Out of State Travel to allow you to do so. 

Will I Need to Return to Clearwater for My DUI Case?

In many cases, no. Our office routinely represents individuals who have been arrested for DUI and reside out of state. In many cases, our office is able to represent the client from start to finish without the client ever needing to return to the State of Florida. Of course, you should consult with the best DUI attorney in Clearwater to determine if such a strategy would work under the unique facts and circumstances of your case.

The best course of action after any arrest when you are on vacation is to attempt to handle as much as you can while you are still in town. Contact the best DUI attorney in Clearwater to make sure that your case is handled on your behalf once you return home. Remember, just because you go home doesn’t mean the charges will not follow you. 

To find out what you should do when you’ve been arrested for any reason during a vacation, 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.

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Can You Get a DUI After Taking Prescription Medication?

Can You Get a DUI After Taking Prescription Medication?

If you’re taking prescription medications, you may be surprised to learn that you can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) in the state of Florida. However, that doesn’t mean that you are automatically at risk of being arrested any time if you are taking medications for an ongoing chronic condition. 

In this brief article, a DUI attorney in Clearwater with Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan shared some tips to help you understand when a prescription medication can be the cause of a DUI or DWI in Florida.

When Can a Prescription Medication Cause a DUI or DWI?

The legal definition of a DUI is defined in Florida Statute Florida Statute 316.193, which states that a driver is “under the influence” if they have taken a drug and their “normal faculties are impaired.” 

What does that mean? If a person has taken something that has affected their physical or mental capacities and are unable to safely operate a vehicle, they are driving while impaired. 

For example, if you have been legally prescribed Alprazolam (“Xanax”) for anxiety and need to leave the house for any reason, you may be arrested for driving under the influence of prescription medications. Another common example is driving while under the influence of a high dosage of Adderall. This drug is used to treat ADHD, and although you can drive safely while taking it, if you take too much of it you may become more prone to aggressive or dangerous driving. Of course, if you regularly take these medications, they will always show up in a urine specimen.

In this instance, you could be charged with a DUI even though the medication was legally prescribed to you and you are using it to treat a chronic condition.

What are the Penalties for Drugged Driving?

You may be thinking that drunk driving has a harsher penalty than driving under the influence of prescriptions, but you’d be wrong. If arrested for drugged driving, you might face anywhere from days to years in jail or prison, and will face steep fines ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. 

You may also have to complete community service and lengthy probation periods, in addition to losing your driver’s license. On top of this, you will have a permanent criminal record. You can read more about the mandatory sentencing requirements here.

How To Defend Yourself Against Drugged Driving

If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence of legal prescription drugs, or drugs that are not prescribed by a physician, a DUI defense attorney in Clearwater can help. Your attorney will help you understand all of your options, including the possibility of getting your charges reduced or participating in a diversion program for DUI arrests. 

If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence, call Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan today. 

Request a FREE consultation today by giving us a call at (727) 578-0303, or submitting our consultation request form.

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.

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What Should I Do if I’m Charged with a DUI While on Vacation?

What Should I Do if I’m Charged with a DUI While on Vacation?

Nobody plans to spend their vacation dealing with a legal matter, but if you are on vacation in Florida and are stopped for a DUI, you may find yourself in that very situation. Unfortunately, relaxing on vacation and having a few drinks before driving back to your hotel or back to the beach in Clearwater can result in a DUI charge. 

If you’re facing DUI charges that occurred while you were on vacation, navigating the legal system far from home can be difficult. You’ll need help from the best DUI lawyer in Clearwater to help. 

In this brief article, the top DUI lawyers in Clearwater at Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan have some tips to help you if you have been charged with a DUI while on vacation in Florida.

Make a Plan for Your Vehicle

The first step after being bailed out of jail is to make a plan for your vehicle. You may be facing a temporarily suspended license, and if your vehicle was being used for a road trip you may be facing frustrating circumstances. 

In many cases, you’ll need to make a plan to retrieve your vehicle from being impounded. Additionally, if your children were with you on your trip, you may need to make alternative arrangements to help them get home. 

If you were driving a rental vehicle, you will likely need to alert the rental company if the vehicle is impounded and you are unable to get it out. As the owners of the vehicle, they may be required to retrieve the rental vehicle.

Contact an Attorney in Town

If you’re charged with driving under the influence of any substance in Florida, you will need to confirm with an experienced Clearwater DWI lawyer that you do not need to seek court permission prior to traveling out of county. In many cases, our top-rated Clearwater DUI defense lawyers are able to have our client’s “e-sign” paperwork that authorize our lawyers to appear in court so that the client does not have to worry about returning to Pinellas County. For that reason, it’s crucial to find the best DUI lawyer in Clearwater to help you handle as much as possible while you are still in town. 

Our office uses state of the art technology to store client files and communicate with clients. Our team is able to video conference with “out of town” clients to facilitate client meetings and review the evidence in your case.

All hope is not lost if you have been charged with a DUI while vacationing in Clearwater. The top DUI lawyers in Clearwater may be able to help get your charges reduced to reckless driving, depending on the circumstances, and can help you understand your rights and obtain a favorable outcome. 

If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence, even after just a single drink while on vacation, call the top DUI lawyers in Clearwater at Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan

Request a FREE consultation today by giving us a call at (727) 578-0303, or submitting our consultation request form.

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.

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Tips From a DUI Lawyer: What To Do If You’re Stopped For Driving Under the Influence

Tips From a DUI Lawyer: What To Do If You’re Stopped For Driving Under the Influence

Imagine this scenario: you have just left a lovely dinner with your friends where you had one or two alcoholic drinks. You don’t feel tipsy or buzzed, but you’re pulled over and accused of driving under the influence. Do you know what to do to protect yourself and your rights? 

In this brief article, our best DUI attorney in Clearwater with Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan has a few tips to keep in mind if you ever find yourself stopped for a DUI.

Tip 1: Be Polite Without Incriminating Yourself

When you’ve been pulled over, it’s frustrating and you might be tempted to argue to defend yourself. While you certainly do not want to be a push-over, it’s important to remain as polite as possible when dealing with law enforcement. 

On the flip-side, you should avoid being overly friendly with law enforcement and accidentally saying something you might regret. For example, you don’t want to admit that you were just having drinks with friends.

Tip 2: Know that you have the Option to Refuse a Field Sobriety Test

Although refusing a breath, urine or blood test after an arrest for DUI can result in a driver’s license suspension pursuant to Florida Statute 316.1932 (1)(a)1.a., you are not required to agree to a field sobriety test. A field sobriety test may include one or more of the following:

  • The One-Leg Stand Test: An officer will instruct the driver to stand on one leg while counting out loud beginning with one thousand. The driver continues to stand and count while the officer looks for signs of impairment such as hopping from foot-to-foot, waving of the arms, or swaying to maintain balance. 
  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test: While intoxicated, the naturally occurring twitching of the eyes is exaggerated. In this test, the officer is looking for this exaggerated movement and attempting to determine if the driver’s eyes are unable to follow an object smoothly. 
  • The Walk-and-Run Test: an officer will instruct the person to walk, heel to toe, along a straight line. The officer is watching for loss of balance, the inability to touch heel to toe, and using arms to balance.

Simply put: field sobriety tests are too subjective and are often performed illegally or without following the proper procedure. The tests are designed for failure and it is nearly impossible for you to meet law enforcement’s expectations. Quite frankly, if the officer is asking you to do these tests, he/she has likely already bade up his/her mind to place you under arrest for DUI. With this in mind, please know that you have the right to refuse these tests.

Tip 3: Contact an Attorney ASAP

Although you may be tempted to defend yourself, especially when you feel you have done nothing wrong, it’s important to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will help you understand the procedure for getting a hardship or temporary license if your license is being suspended, fight the charges or discuss the possibility of reducing your charges, and will work to protect you throughout the process. 

If you’re facing DUI charges, you need the best DUI lawyer in Clearwater with Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan. Call us today.  

For a free consultation with the best DUI lawyer 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.

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Avoiding a Holiday DUI

Avoiding a Holiday DUI

A DUI during the holidays can impact the rest of your life. Whether you made a split decision to drive when you shouldn’t have or are unfairly targeted by police, avoiding a DUI during the holidays will help you avoid steep fines, possible jail time, and loss of your driver’s license — not to mention the negative social and career implications of a DUI.   

In this brief article, our best DUI lawyers in Clearwater with Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan have shared a few tips to avoid a DUI during the holiday season. 

Tip 1: Designate a Sober Driver

If you’re planning to drink at a holiday party or gathering, make sure that you decide ahead of time who is going to be the designated driver. If you’re going to a variety of parties or gatherings during the season, consider rotating and serving as the designated driver yourself as well. 

No matter who is the designated driver, make sure that you discuss it ahead of time and if you notice the designated driver still having a drink, talk to them and make sure they understand that they can no longer drive. You’re not only protecting yourself from a DUI, but protecting your friend or family member from a DUI and keeping everyone on the road safe.

Tip 2: Make a Plan and a Back-Up Plan

The penalties for a DUI on a golf cart are the same as the penalties for a DUI in any other vehicle. These penalties will depend on any prior offenses and are defined per section 316.193, Florida Statutes. This states that for a first conviction you’ll face:

  • A fine of not less than $500 or more than $1,000
  • If blood/breath alcohol level (BAL) was .15 or higher, or if there was a minor in the vehicle, a fine of not less than $1,000 or more than $2,000
  • “At the court’s discretion, sentencing terms may be served in a residential alcoholism or drug abuse treatment program and credited toward the term of imprisonment.”

Additionally, imprisonment for a first conviction is:

  • Imprisonment for not more than six months
  • If BAL was .15 or higher, or if there was a minor in the vehicle, imprisonment for not more than nine months

Additionally, your vehicle may be impounded and you may lose driving privileges for as much as a year for your first offense. Remember, if you are arrested a second time on a golf cart, you’ll face even more steep consequences just as you would if you were in any other vehicle.

Tip 3: Be Prepared for the Worst

Of course, the old saying goes “you can plan a pretty picnic but you can’t predict the weather”. So although you might be prepared with a designated driver, Uber, Lyft, taxi, or even hotel room, you still may find yourself behind the wheel after one or two drinks. If you find yourself in this situation and are arrested or suspected of a DUI, make sure you have the phone number of the top DUI lawyer in Clearwater stored in your phone. Even if you’re not guilty, a DUI lawyer will help you understand your rights and how to navigate DUI stops and charges. 

If you’re facing DUI charges, you need the best DUI lawyers in Clearwater with Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan. Call us today.  

For a free consultation with the best DUI lawyers 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. 

Defense services for DUI and DWI offenses

FREE
CONSULTATION

24 Hours a Day, 7 Days a Week