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What Are the Consequences of a DUI With Hit and Run?

What Are the Consequences of a DUI With Hit and Run?

Being charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) carries serious consequences. However, the situation becomes even more serious when combined with a hit and run. In this brief article, DUI attorneys in Clearwater with Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan discuss the possible penalties of DUI with hit and run and what you should do if you are being charged with a hit and run, DUI, or both.

Why Can Drivers Expect More Police Activity During the Super Bowl?

As mentioned earlier, the Super Bowl is a time for celebration. The last time the city of Tampa hosted a Super Bowl, over 300 private events happened in addition to the game itself. These celebrations often involve alcohol, especially for the city hosting the event and for the cities that have teams in the game. For this reason, police activity is often ramped up.

Another reason you can expect higher levels of police activity during the Super Bowl is because of the effort to curb other crimes, like illegal gambling, drug possession and trafficking, human trafficking, and theft — all of which may pose a higher risk during the event. As a result, drivers can expect checkpoints and tighter security during this time, including cameras, police in cars and on foot, and other methods of surveillance.

What Qualifies as a Hit and Run?

Even without the element of a DUI, a hit and run is very serious. In the State of Florida, the definition of a “hit-and-run,” also referred to as “leaving the scene of an accident,” is defined as a driver failing to remain at the site of a vehicle crash and failing to fulfill statutory duties when the accident involves property damage, bodily injury or death.

Florida law states that the driver of a vehicle involved in a crash that results in injury to a person other than serious bodily injury is responsible for immediately stopping the vehicle at the scene of the crash and remaining at the scene until he or she has fulfilled the necessary requirements. Under Florida Statute 316.062, these responsibilities include providing his or her name, address, and the registration number of the vehicle he or she is driving and making a report to law enforcement. A person who willfully and knowingly violates any of the requirements laid out in this standard commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in Florida Statute 775.082, 775.083, or 775.084. In other words, failing to stay at the scene can make what would have possibly been a more simple resolution into a much more complicated issue.

How Can a DUI Be Proven If the Driver Flees?

Leaving the scene of an accident without a DUI involved can result in a fine that ranges from $500 to as much as $10,000 (depending on injuries or fatalities). Jail sentencing for a standard hit and run may range from 60 days up to as much as 30 years for a fatal crash. If alcohol or drugs are involved in a hit and run, a DUI charge may be added on, which is accompanied by separate penalties. If convicted, punishment for a DUI conviction can include fines from $500 up to $5000 and 6 months or longer in jail. Further penalties can include suspension or revocation of your license, the loss of the use of your vehicle, mandatory attendance of a substance abuse program, installation of an ignition lock-out device on your vehicle, and mandatory community service. Often, if the driver remains at the scene, the judge may be more lenient, but hit and run with DUI may cause the judge to “throw the book” at you.

Many drivers who are convicted of a hit and run while driving under the influence did so because they thought they would be in more trouble if they stayed at the scene and were charged with a DUI. However, that is not necessarily the case. How can it be proven that someone was under the influence if the driver flees? The police must only prove that:

  • The defendant drove a vehicle;
  • When driving, the defendant was under the influence of (an alcoholic beverage/ [or] a drug) [or under the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and a drug];
  • While driving under the influence, the defendant also (committed an illegal act/ [or] neglected to perform a legal duty);
  • The defendant’s (illegal act/ [or] failure to perform a legal duty) caused bodily injury to another person. (If there is an injury).

What Should You Do in a Collision While Intoxicated?

If you are driving while intoxicated, you should never leave the scene of an accident or collision. Whether or not you have fled the scene, it’s important to hire the best DUI attorney in Clearwater to handle your case. Your attorney will help you find the best defense, including proving that you were not intoxicated while driving or that you did not intend to flee. Depending on the circumstances, you may face criminal charges, fines, and jail time, so it’s critical to contact legal counsel immediately.

For a free consultation with one of the best DUI attorneys 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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DUI Crackdowns Due to the Super Bowl: What Are Your Rights?

DUI Crackdowns Due to the Super Bowl: What Are Your Rights?

The Super Bowl is an exciting time when many people choose to celebrate the game with parties, get-togethers, tailgates, and more. Unfortunately, because so many people spend the Super Bowl drinking alcohol, it is also often a time for law enforcement to crack down on DUIs by setting up checkpoints and stops. With the Super Bowl coming to Tampa in 2021, there is an expectation of even more officers on the road in Tampa and surrounding cities.

If you are pulled over for a DUI, it’s important to understand your rights in order to protect yourself from unwarranted arrests. In this brief article, DWI attorneys in Clearwater with Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan share everything you need to know about DUI crackdowns as the Super Bowl approaches.

Related: Out of State DUI Offenders – What You Need to Know

Why Can Drivers Expect More Police Activity During the Super Bowl?

As mentioned earlier, the Super Bowl is a time for celebration. The last time the city of Tampa hosted a Super Bowl, over 300 private events happened in addition to the game itself. These celebrations often involve alcohol, especially for the city hosting the event and for the cities that have teams in the game. For this reason, police activity is often ramped up.

Another reason you can expect higher levels of police activity during the Super Bowl is because of the effort to curb other crimes, like illegal gambling, drug possession and trafficking, human trafficking, and theft — all of which may pose a higher risk during the event. As a result, drivers can expect checkpoints and tighter security during this time, including cameras, police in cars and on foot, and other methods of surveillance.

What Is Driving Under the Influence?

If you are charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI), the consequences can be serious, ranging from steep fines and revocation of your driver’s license to community service and even a jail sentence. Even if you know for certain that you are within the legal limit or have not been drinking, you can be arrested by an officer if they have reasonable suspicion that you are not sober or you fail a breathalyzer or field sobriety test.

Related: What Are Your Rights During a DUI Stop?

What Should You Do If Pulled Over for a DUI?

If you are pulled over for a DUI, remember that you have the right to remain silent. Keep your hands on the wheel and try to remain polite and non-combative. Provide your driver’s license and insurance information, but remember, do not get out of your car unless asked. Here are four tips to remember during this Super Bowl weekend if you are stopped for a DUI Investigation:

  1. Be polite. The fastest way to find yourself in the back of a police cruiser is being rude or disrespectful to the police. Even if you disagree with the officer’s decisions, make sure you don’t fail “the attitude test.”
  2. Be quiet. There is no reason to volunteer information to law enforcement. You have a fundamental right to remain silent when questioned by the police. Use it.
  3. Beware of field sobriety tests. The fact of the matter is – if you are being asked to walk a line or stand on one leg, the officer has likely made up his mind to arrest you. If you take the tests and perform poorly, this evidence will later be used against you. Aside from the complicated nature of the tests, the stress involved makes the tests that much more difficult to perform. Remember when Christina Aguilera screwed up the National Anthem during halftime of the Super Bowl? Stress effects performance.
  4. Be aware that a high breath test result will hurt your defense. The police are quick to tell you that you will lose your license for a minimum of one year if you fail to provide a breath sample. What they will conveniently forget to tell you is that if you provide a breath sample that is high, it will often make it difficult to secure a reduction in charge. Likewise, the penalties associated with a DUI go up if you provide a breath sample that is above .15 grams of alcohol per 210 liters of air.

Remember – the best offense is a good defense! In the event that you are pulled over for a DUI and arrested, you’ll want to contact the top DWI attorneys in Clearwater as soon as possible. Depending on the circumstances, you may be facing criminal charges, fines, and jail time, so it is critical to contact legal counsel immediately.

For a free consultation with top DWI attorneys 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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Is Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana Illegal in Florida?

Is Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana Illegal in Florida?

With the changing laws regarding medical cannabis in Florida, it may be unclear whether it’s legal to drive while under the influence of medicinal marijuana. In a statewide survey conducted in early 2018, more than one in three (36.5 percent) respondents said they are “not at all knowledgeable” about legal issues related to marijuana use and driving in Florida. Overall, about two in three (65.7 percent) respondents correctly said it is true that driving under the influence of marijuana is always illegal in Florida. Nearly one in four (23.2 percent) respondents were unsure whether driving under the influence of marijuana is always illegal in Florida.

No matter the reason you are using medicinal marijuana, it’s important to be aware of the laws regarding operating a motor vehicle in order to avoid being charged with driving under the influence (DUI). If you have been pulled over for a DUI stop and are taken into custody, you have the right to contact the top DUI lawyers in Clearwater

Can You Be Charged with a DUI for Marijuana Use While Driving? 

In short, yes. You can be charged with a DUI if you are operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana — even if the marijuana is being used legally. Driving while impaired by drugs (even legal prescription drugs) is illegal and subject to the same penalties as driving while impaired by alcohol.

Penalties of Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana

In Florida, the typical punishment for a first-time DUI conviction includes suspension of your driver’s license, payment of a fine, completion of DUI School, and probation. Although there is no mandatory jail for a first time DUI conviction, the judge does have the discretion to impose a county jail sentence. In addition, you may be required to perform community service hours and/or have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle. Jail sentences are mandatory for most multiple offenders. View an in-depth chart detailing the recent update to the mandatory minimum DUI penalties here.

Even if you feel that you are a safe driver while using marijuana, the police may still attempt to arrest you, so it is crucial to contact the best DUI lawyers in Clearwater as soon as possible. 

Why Should I Get a DUI Lawyer?

Whether you feel you were guilty of a DUI or not, it’s important to contact an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney will be well-versed in the best defense for your case, whether it’s discovering a procedural issue or arguing against the use of a field sobriety test. Your attorney will also help ensure that you meet all necessary deadlines. If you are pulled over or arrested for the DUI, contact the top DUI lawyers in Clearwater, with Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan. 

For a free consultation with top 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.

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

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Can You Get a DWI in a Parked Car?

Can You Get a DWI in a Parked Car?

People often use driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) interchangeably, and the key that links both of these is the term “driving.” However, imagine for a moment that you are intoxicated and decide to sit in your vehicle with the engine running because it’s cold and you are hoping to warm up while calling a cab. Could you be arrested for a DWI in Florida just for sitting in your parked car?

The answer is complicated. In this post, the top DWI lawyers in Clearwater with Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan discuss what you need to know about sitting in a parked car while under the influence. 

Operating vs. in Actual Physical Control

Although drunk parking is not a charge, you can be convicted of DWI or DUI if you are sitting in your parked vehicle while intoxicated. However, the prosecution still needs to prove the motorist was operating or in actual physical control of a vehicle. This means that both the police and the prosecutor must prove that you were either operating or in actual physical control of the vehicle. 

Actual physical control is satisfied if you are found inside the vehicle with the keys readily accessible and the capability to operate your vehicle. It is not necessary that you actually move the vehicle from one point to another. As a result, you can be charged with a DUI if you are found sitting or sleeping in your parked car and your car keys are located by law enforcement within the interior portions of your vehicle. 

In determining whether to make an arrest for DUI, the police will consider the “totality of the circumstances” in evaluating whether you were in “actual physical control.” Some factors that law enforcement will consider are::

  • The location of the driver: Was the alleged operator in the passenger seat or back seat? Were they in the driver’s seat leaned all the way back? This all matters, and what matters most is the proximity to the ignition. 
  • The location of the car: Was the car parked in your own driveway or a private parking lot? This is crucial because if the car was parked somewhere more dangerous, like the side of the highway or the middle of the sidewalk, it may be harder to prove that you were not operating the vehicle. 
  • The location of the keys: If the keys are in the ignition, this makes it more difficult to prove that you were not driving and had no intent to drive. Of course, this can be harder to prove with keyless entry or push-button ignition, but, in general, when the vehicle is running, it may be more difficult to prove your intent.
  • Whether the driver was awake or asleep: It’s pretty clear that you must be awake in order to operate a motor vehicle. If you are asleep, you may have an easier time providing that you were not driving at the time and were simply resting in your vehicle. 

Defenses for DWI in a Parked Vehicle

The best DWI attorneys in Clearwater have found that “actual physical control” cases tend to be weaker than those where the client was observed by law enforcement driving in a manner consistent with impairment, such as weaving, swerving, failing to maintain a single lane, or driving without headlights. However, whether you feel you were guilty of a DUI or DWI or not, it’s important to contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss the best defense possible. 

For a free consultation with top DWI 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.

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

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What Are Your Rights During a DUI Stop

What Are Your Rights During a DUI Stop

If you are pulled over for a DUI stop, it can be incredibly stressful. Whether or not you are guilty, being pulled over can cause you to feel that you are doing something wrong, which can lead you to say or do things you might not normally do. During a traffic stop, you have rights and it is important to be aware of those rights in advance. Further, if you have been pulled over for a DUI stop and are taken into custody, you have the right to contact the best DUI lawyers in Clearwater

Right to Remain Silent

You may have heard people say “I plead the fifth” in reference to the fifth amendment, and in the case of a DUI you have the right to plead the fifth. The fifth amendment affords you the right to remain silent, even during a traffic stop. Often, when we are pulled over we feel the need to comply and overshare in order to prove our innocence, but police officers are analyzing and documenting everything you say and looking for any other possible violations. By asserting your right to silence, you are protecting yourself from accidentally creating future issues. 

Of course, in some cases a police officer might mistake your silence for non-compliance or hostility, so you don’t have to be completely silent. But, you do have the right to refuse to answer if you had any drinks or other substances. 

Right to Deny a Search of Your Vehicle

There is a common misconception in the State of Florida that you must consent to search of your vehicle if you are pulled over, however that is simply not the case. You have the right to deny a search of your vehicle without a search warrant. However, keep in mind that if you are arrested for a DUI offense, it is likely that the police have the lawful right to search your car to determine if there is any contraband related to the DUI within the vehicle.

Right to Decline a Field Sobriety Test

Just as you have the right to remain silent and deny a search of your vehicle, you have the right to decline a field sobriety test. These tests are inconclusive and unreliable at best, and are completely up to the officer’s discretion. Simply put, these tests would be difficult to perform if you were alone in your house. The pressure and stress of having to perform these tests as an audition for your freedom is likely to be overwhelming, and it’s unlikely that you will perform to the satisfaction of the police.

Do’s and Don’ts If You Are Pulled Over for a DUI

If you are pulled over for a DUI, there are a few simple do’s and don’ts to remember. Do: 

  • Keep your hands on the wheel when you are pulled over
  • Try to remain polite and non-combative 
  • Provide your driver’s license and insurance information. 

Do not: 

  • Get out of the car unless asked
  • Become argumentative or combative

When to Contact an Attorney

If you are pulled over or arrested for the DUI, contact the top DUI lawyers Clearwater, with Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan. It is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible and to refrain from speaking to the police without a lawyer present. Your attorney will discuss your legal rights and help craft a defense, work on any potential plea bargains available, and will walk you through every step of the way. 

For a free consultation with top 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.

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

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What is the Difference Between DUI and DWI?

What is the Difference Between DUI and DWI?

Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a serious offense in the state of Florida. You may have heard the terms DUI and DWI used interchangeably, but the result is the same: steep consequences. If you have been pulled over or charged with driving under the influence, it is important to speak with the best DWI attorneys in Clearwater. It is also important to understand the difference between a DUI and DWI and what the possible consequences are if you are charged and found guilty. 

Definitions of DUI and DWI in Florida

The state of Florida statutes chapter 316.193 states the following: 

(1) A person is guilty of the offense of driving under the influence and is subject to punishment as provided in subsection (2) if the person is driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle within this state and:

(a) The person is under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substance set forth in s. 877.111, or any substance controlled under chapter 893, when affected to the extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired;

(b) The person has a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood; or

(c) The person has a breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.

In the state of Florida, driving while intoxicated, or DWI, is used interchangeably with the term driving under the influence, or DUI. Although other states have different penalties for DWI and DUI, the state of Florida does not make a distinction between the two. 

Consequences of DUI or DWI

The consequences of a DUI or DWI are steep in Florida. If convicted, first-time offenders face a fine between $500 and $1000 and imprisonment of up to 6 months. A second conviction may result in a 9 month imprisonment and $2000 fine as well as mandatory placement of an ignition interlock device at the convicted person’s expense. A third offense within 10 years is a felony of the third degree, which is punishable with more extensive imprisonment and fines. Further, whether it is the first offense or any subsequent offenses, your driver’s license will suspended or revoked if convicted. 

What You Should Do If Arrested for DUI/DWI

If you are pulled over or arrested for the DUI or DWI, contact the top DWI lawyers in Clearwater at Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan. It is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible and to refrain from speaking to the police without a lawyer present. Your attorney will discuss your legal rights and help craft a defense, work on any potential plea bargains available, and will walk you through every step of the way. 

For a free consultation with top DWI 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.

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

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How to Get Your Driver’s License Back After a DUI

How to Get Your Driver’s License Back After a DUI

If you’ve been charged with a DUI in the State of Florida, then your driver’s license could be suspended for a period ranging from 180 days from your first offense to up to eighteen months for your second and subsequent offenses. If you’re like many Americas who rely on their personal vehicle for transportation, you’re anxiously awaiting the opportunity to have your driver’s license reinstated. Fortunately, with the assistance of the best DUI lawyer in Clearwater, there are steps you can take to have these charges dismissed or reduced and your driver’s license reinstated. It’s important to partner with someone like an experienced lawyer from The Law Offices of Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan for this process as they are adept at handling DUI cases, routinely deal with the DHSMV in making applications for driving permits and Florida hardship driver’s licenses, and will be dedicated to protecting your privilege to drive.

Waive the Formal Review Hearing to Obtain an Immediate Hardship License

If this is your first DUI arrest in your lifetime, your driver’s license could be suspended for a period ranging from 180 days to one year. Thankfully, you can apply for a hardship driver’s license immediately after your arrest. However, time is of the essence to do so. A hardship license does not restore your full driving privileges; however, it does grant you limited driving privileges for business or employment purposes, depending on which type of hardship license you receive.

Provided that you’re a first-time DUI offender, the best attorneys in Clearwater may recommend that you take advantage of the “waiver” process. This is when you voluntarily waive your rights to a DHSMV Formal Review Hearing within 10 days of your arrest. Through the automatic administrative suspension of your privilege to drive, you’ll also gain the opportunity for immediate application for a hardship license, thus circumventing the hard suspension. That being said, every case is unique, which is why it’s so important to discuss the DHSMV administrative process in more detail with an attorney to determine whether it is truly in your best interest to request or waive the formal review hearing. If you elect to waive your right to challenge the suspension, our DUI-defense team will provide you with step-by-step instructions on securing a hardship license.

Challenge the Administrative Suspension of Your Driving Privilege Via a Formal Review Hearing

If this is not your first DUI arrest or if you don’t choose to waive your right to a formal review hearing, you only have 10 calendar days from the date of your arrest to challenge the suspension of your driver’s license via a Formal Administrative Review Hearing. As this process requires the filing of specialized paperwork and careful attention to Florida DHSMV procedures, we cannot stress enough the importance of partnering with the best DUI attorney in Clearwater. Their years of experience and legal expertise will be crucial to avoiding many of the potential pitfalls and mistakes that can easily leave you without a driver’s license.

An attorney will not only file the application for a Formal Review Hearing within the required deadline, but he or she will also request a copy of the forms and reports law enforcement relied upon to justify taking your license. These documents will be of the utmost importance in preparing for the hearing. If necessary, an attorney also can call witnesses to testify, subpoena and cross-examine the police officer who arrested you, and conduct the hearing without you needing to attend.

Contact an Attorney Today

Above all else, the most important step in getting your license back following a DUI charge is to request the assistance of a qualified attorney who can easily spot the issues associated with both your criminal court case and the DHSMV Formal Review process. Our office routinely handles hearings at the local Florida DHSMV, are familiar with the procedures put in place, and are prepared to tackle the legal issues that must be explored to overturn the administrative suspension. Whether you’re looking to obtain a temporary driving permit, request a Formal Review Hearing, secure a hardship license, and work to have your charges reduced, partner with the best DUI lawyers in Clearwater at The Law Offices of Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan.

For a free consultation with 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.

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

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Out of State DUI Offenders – What You Need to Know

Out of State DUI Offenders – What You Need to Know

Florida set an all-time record for tourism in 2019, with almost 69 million tourists visiting The Sunshine State in the first six months of the year. It’s no surprise given this sheer number of visitors that not all of them are aware they must adhere to Florida law from the moment they enter the state. Regardless of where you live in the country, violating Florida’s DUI laws could result in hefty fines, the suspension of your driving privileges, and possible imprisonment.

If you’re from out of state and are currently facing a DUI charge in Florida, it’s important to seek immediate legal assurance from the top DUI attorney in Clearwater to understand Florida’s DUI laws and possible penalties and preserve your driver’s license.

Penalties for Non-Resident DUIs in Florida

Violating Florida’s DUI laws while visiting or traveling through the state could result in the following consequences for a first-time DUI conviction:

  • A fine ranging from $500 to $1000
  • A sentence of up to six months in jail
  • The suspension of your driver’s license for 6-12 months
  • Ignition interlock devices installed on all of your owned vehicles
  • The impoundment of your vehicle for up to 10 days
  • Community service
  • Substance abuse treatment program

Interstate Compacts and the National Driver Registry

A common misconception is that a driving-related offense that occurs in another state will not affect your driving privileges back home. With a DUI charge in the State of Florida, this couldn’t be further from the truth. For starters, Florida is a member of two interstate compacts for traffic violations — the Driver License Compact (DLC) and the Non-Resident Violators Compact (NRVC). Both of these compacts are agreements with the participating states to exchange information regarding traffic infractions committed by out-of-state drivers and to recognize penalties issued by other states, such as driver’s license suspensions.

If that wasn’t enough, a system known as The National Driver Registry (NDR) also provides each of its 45 member states with a method for honoring driver license suspensions issued by their sister states. As such, if you receive a Florida DUI arrest with an out-of-state license, you can rest assured knowing that your driver’s license suspension will be easily transmitted back to your home state. To dispute these charges and protect your privilege to drive in both Florida and your home state, you’ll want to consult the top DUI attorneys in Clearwater.

Act Fast To Resolve Your Out-of-State DUI With an Experienced Attorney

Time is of the essence in tackling your out-of-state DUI and protecting your privilege to drive. As soon as possible, you’ll want to schedule an initial consultation with the top DUI lawyer in Clearwater to understand the ramifications of the administrative driver’s license suspension and learn how you may be able to prevent the Florida DHSMV from directing your home state to suspend your privilege to drive. Because a Florida DUI charge poses a double threat to your driving privilege, it is all the more important to aggressively fight your case at the DHSMV level and in the criminal court system. We can perform the following actions to reduce the length of your potential driver’s license suspension or eliminate the suspension of your license altogether:

  • Challenge the administrative suspension of your license within 10 days of your DUI arrest
  • Seek a temporary driving permit that enables you to continue driving beyond the 10 days from the date of your arrest
  • Handle your first court case in Florida for you, without the need for your personal appearance in the courtroom in most cases
  • Provide you with a copy of the narrative police report, field sobriety supplements, and the videotape taken in your case
  • Obtain, review, and forward the breath test report and maintenance records associated with the Intoxilyzer
  • Conference with you over the phone or Zoom to discuss the best strategy for resolving your charge
  • Negotiate a reduction of your DUI charge to a reckless driving offense

If you were charged with a DUI while visiting Florida, it’s imperative that you act quickly to secure the services of the top DUI lawyers in Clearwater. We offer free telephone consultations and will be more than happy to discuss your case by phone.

For a free consultation with the top 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.

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

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How to Schedule a DMV DUI Hearing in Clearwater Florida

How to Schedule a DMV DUI Hearing in Clearwater Florida

In the State of Florida, your license will be suspended if you provide a blood-alcohol level or breath-alcohol level above the 0.08 legal limit or if you refuse to submit to a breath, urine, or blood test. When either of these two suspensions occurs, you have 10 calendar days from the date of your arrest to challenge the suspension and request a civil administrative hearing. It’s important to note that even though the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is closed on Saturday and Sunday, the clock is still running on your 10 calendar day time limit to request a hearing.

In this article, we’ll review how individuals arrested for driving under the influence should seek the legal counsel of a DUI lawyer in Clearwater as soon as possible to schedule a DMV DUI hearing, meet the appropriate deadlines, gather relevant evidence and witnesses, and get your license back.

What Is The Florida DHSMV Formal Review Hearing?

The Florida DHSMV Formal Review Hearing is a civil hearing with the purpose of potentially invalidating or removing the administrative suspension from your driving record. This procedure is a deciding factor in whether or not you’ll be able to maintain your full driving privileges following the arrest. In order to ensure the return of your driver’s license and uninterrupted ability to lawfully drive, you’ll want to partner with a DUI attorney in Clearwater to successfully request a hearing and earn a favorable administrative ruling.

An attorney will perform a number of following actions to assist you in getting your license back following a DUI arrest, including but not limited to:

  • Filing an application for the Florida DHSMV Formal Review Hearing
  • If eligible, securing a temporary driving permit to allow you to drive beyond the 10-day window
    Requesting a copy of forms and reports law enforcement relied upon for the suspension of your license
  • Determining the legal sufficiency of these materials in preparing an argument for the hearing
    Identify relevant issues that may be raised at your administrative hearing
  • Calling witnesses to testify and presenting evidence on your behalf
  • Issuing witness subpoenas to ensure their attendance at the hearing

The Steps to Request a Formal Review Hearing

To request a formal DMV administrative review hearing, you must first fill out Form 78065: Application for Formal or Informal Review Hearing. On this form, you can either indicate that you are requesting a formal review or a telephonic formal review. In order for this form to be processed successfully, you will need to attach a legible copy of your DUI citation and a check for $25.00 made payable to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Once again, it is best to partner with one of our skilled DUI attorneys in Clearwater for this process as soon as you have received the notice of suspension who will be able to successfully submit your request for a formal review hearing.

How a DUI Attorney Wins a Formal Review Hearing

For those looking to win their formal review hearing, it’s of the utmost necessity to partner with one of the most highly-qualified DUI attorneys in Clearwater who knows and understands the unique issues associated with Formal Administrative Review hearings at the local Florida DHSMV. He will be well-acquainted with the procedures put in place and the legal issues that need to be explored in the effort to overturn your administrative suspension. Winning your hearing does much more than simply protect your license; it also protects you from the consequences that come with the administrative finding that you drove under the influence. Common reasons for winning the formal review hearing include:

  • The arresting office failed to appear at the hearing
  • No DUI packet was received by the BAR prior to the hearing
  • The Breath Test Operator failed to appear at the hearing
  • The stop was invalid
  • The evidence is conflicting
  • The breath test was invalid
  • There is no evidence of driving or actual physical control
  • There are missing or illegible documents

There are more than enough benefits to requesting a formal review hearing, including the opportunity to obtain a hardship license, the opportunity to get your driver’s license back, and the opportunity to avoid the additional repercussions of a suspended license. If you or a loved one has been arrested for a DUI, act quickly to challenge the administrative driver’s license suspension by partnering with one of the best DUI lawyers in Clearwater.

For a free consultation with a 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.

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

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10 Things to Know About DUI Offenses in Clearwater

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

Defense services for DUI and DWI offenses

FREE
CONSULTATION

24 Hours a Day, 7 Days a Week