Did you have a couple of drinks after a bad day at work or did you go have a few drinks for a friend’s birthday? A person can be accused and charged with driving under the influence, or DUI, if they are in actual control of or driving a vehicle within the State of Florida while impaired. It does not only apply to alcohol, as other controlled and non-controlled substances may apply. A person can be impaired from any chemical substance detailed in the Florida Statutes. Not only are illegal drugs listed (e.g. marijuana, crack or meth), but it also includes prescription drugs like codeine, hydrocodone, methadone, or oxycodone. While you may have thought you were not impaired because you could walk, talk, and perform other normal actions fine, you could still be considered impaired and may ultimately be arrested for a driving under the influence! Contact us first if you or a loved one needs an experienced Jacksonville DUI Defense lawyer to aggressively defend your case. Our firm has built a strong reputation in northeast Florida for fighting very hard for all of our clients. Combined we have defended hundreds of alcohol related charges and have over 15 years experience defending those facing prosecution for driving while intoxicated.
The presumed level of impairment in Florida is 0.08. However, this is a rebuttable presumption and an experienced Jacksonville DUI attorney may assist you in rebutting this presumption. There are two ways to measure if a person is over the legal limit. First, there is the blood alcohol level and breath alcohol level tests. Second, a urine test may also be administered by authorities if you are suspected of being under the influence of drugs or narcotics. Given the ramifications of a potential conviction, it is important you hire an experienced DUI lawyer in Jacksonville to defend your case in Duval County or the surrounding counties of northeast Florida.
If you have been arrested or charged with your first driving under the influence offense, you will need a knowledgeable Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer to lead you through the legal process of your case and the criminal justice system. The prospective penalties if convicted of your 1st DUI are frightening, but an experienced Jacksonville driving under the influence attorney can help you successfully defend your case and help you get your license back. This starts with an administrative hearing, if you are eligible, with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (commonly called the “DMV”). The Administrative Hearing is completely separate from the criminal charges you may be facing. An arrest or charge does not mean you will be convicted, but you will need experienced and intelligent legal counsel to represent you and guide you through the process. Our ultimate desire is always to get the charge dismissed or reduced to a reckless driving ticket.
If you are convicted of the first offense of driving under the influence, you could be fined between $500 and $1,000 and imprisoned for up to 6 months. You will be required to attend a court ordered alcohol class, mandatory suspension of your license for a minimum of 6 months to 1 year (independent from the administrative suspension), and probation for up to one year. The court will require you to complete a minimum of 50 hours of community service or pay $10.00 per hour of required community service (if the Court will allow this “buy-out” provision), and your vehicle will be impounded for 10 days (but not during your jail time).
If you had a minor in the vehicle or your breath or blood alcohol level was 0.15 or more, fines are between $1,000 and $2,000 and you could go to jail for a maximum period of 9 months. If the breath alcohol level or blood alcohol level was 0.15 or higher, an approved ignition interlock device must be installed at your expense for at least 6 months on ANY vehicle that you own or lease individually or jointly, monthly probation visits, and completion of a substance abuse course. If you are referred for treatment during the course, you are then required to pay for all evaluations, education, and treatment.
Similarly, anyone while driving under the influence that causes personal injury to another person or property damage will be charged with First Degree Misdemeanor, incurring $1,000 or less in fines and up to 1 year in jail. Moreover, if the injury or injuries to the other person or persons is great, you may be charged with felony driving while intoxicated, which means you could be facing up to 5 years in Florida state prison. Anyone charged with any form of driving under the influence, especially those charged with felony DUI, should immediately contact experienced and competent legal counsel to ensure your rights are fully protected.
Facing a driving under the influence charge on your own or hiring inexperienced and incompetent legal counsel could spell disaster for your life and could land you in jail. The penalties listed above are by no means fully exhaustive yet highlight the main penalties common to 1st offenses for driving under the influence. These penalties highlighted above are for informational purposes only and do not represent penalties for a second, third, fourth, or felony driving under the influence charge. To get a clearer picture of the penalties you or a loved one could be facing, contact one of our experienced DUI attorneys in Jacksonville today. The consultation and case evaluation is always free and in most cases, same-day-appointments are available.
A driving while intoxicated conviction will affect your life more than you ever realized. It will show up on your driving record, and it is likely to be discovered while you’re trying to get a job. Some employers require your driving record or a background check. Your insurance company may cancel your insurance or label you a high risk, therefore raising your rates. Given these harsh realities, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced Jacksonville DUI defense lawyer right away if you or a loved one has been arrested for driving under the influence. Contact us first as we want to start helping you today. Call or fill out our online contact form and we will be in touch within 24 hours.