Jacksonville DUI LawyersArrested for Driving Under the Influence in Florida?
Talk to a Jacksonville DUI Attorney
A Florida DUI conviction can carry serious consequences, even if it’s a first offense. As such, it is important to fully understand what’s at stake and to examine your options before making any decisions about how to proceed. That’s why it is in your best interest to consult an experienced Jacksonville DUI attorney as soon as possible after you are arrested.
Lufrano Legal, P.A. Offers Free DUI Consultations
The firm of Lufrano Legal, P.A. are wholly dedicated to helping people who have been charged with crimes in and around Jacksonville, Florida. Our experience with Florida DUI cases and the Duval County court system can be invaluable when you or a loved one has been charged with driving under the influence.
We know you need information to make good decisions, and we make it easy to get that information by offering free consultations.
Florida DUI Law
In Florida, a person is guilty of driving under the influence if he or she is driving or in actual physical control of the vehicle and any one of the following is also true:
- The person is under the influence of alcohol or another substance to the point that his or her normal faculties are impaired,
- The person has a blood alcohol level (BAL) of .08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood, or
- The person has a breath alcohol level of .08 or more grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath
- The person refused breath or chemical testing
That means a person can be convicted of DUI in Florida if blood or breath alcohol content exceeds the legal limit even if he or she shows little or no sign of impairment. And, a person may be convicted of DUI if he or she is operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or a chemical or controlled substance even with blood or breath alcohol content below the legal limit.
Florida DUI Penalties
We are often asked if a DUI is a felony if Florida. A first-offense DUI conviction in Florida may result in a jail sentence of up to six months and a fine of $500-1,000. In addition, the defendant will typically be required to pay court costs, and the court may order a period of probation. Terms of probation may impose additional obligations, such as substance abuse evaluation and counseling.
If there are aggravating factors or a previous conviction, consequences may be even more severe. For instance, if the operator’s BAL was .15 or greater, or there was a minor in the vehicle, the potential penalties are increased to up to 9 months of incarceration and a fine of $1,000-2,000.
For a second conviction within 10 years, possible penalties increase to:
- Up to 9 months in jail
- A fine of $1,000-2,000
- Mandatory placement of an ignition interlock device for at least one year
A third DUI offense within 10 years is a 3rd degree felony and is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
A fourth or subsequent DUI is also a 3rd degree felony regardless of the amount of time that has passed between the offenses.
Administrative Driver’s License Suspension in Florida
In addition to the penalties imposed by the court, Florida law imposes a six-month administrative driver’s license suspension for any driver who tests at .08 or above. The suspension is longer for second and subsequent offenses, and if the driver refused chemical testing.
This suspension typically begins immediately when the citation is issued. While this suspension is automatic upon chemical test failure, it is subject to challenge. For example, your attorney may be able to demonstrate that the officer did not have probable cause to believe that you were under the influence or to call the accuracy of the chemical test into question. However, you have just 10 days to either request or waive review. So, you will want to consult an experienced Jacksonville DUI lawyer as soon as possible after your arrest.
Indirect Consequences of a DUI Conviction
Possible jail time, a significant fine, court costs, driver’s license suspension, and the possibility of restrictive probation may be only the beginning when it comes to the consequences of a conviction for driving under the influence in Florida.
- Although you may think of driving under the influence as a traffic offense, it is a criminal conviction resulting in a criminal record—a felony record in some cases
- Having a DUI conviction can disqualify you from certain types of employment
- The high-risk automobile insurance required after a DUI conviction is significantly more expensive than standard car insurance
Fighting Jacksonville Florida DUI Charges
Many people believe that when you’ve been arrested for DUI, a conviction is inevitable. But, a skilled criminal defense attorney may be able to identify flaws in the case, such as:
- Lack of probable cause for the stop
- Faulty chemical testing equipment
- Improperly administered blood or breath alcohol level testing
If the charge is based on impairment rather than BAL, your attorney may be able to call the officer’s observations into question or to identify discrepancies in the police report and other evidence.
Depending on your goals and how serious the weaknesses in the case are, your attorney may be able to use these flaws to:
- Call into question the accuracy of the breath or chemical test
- Convince the prosecutor to dismiss the charges
- Negotiate for reduced charges or other favorable terms for a plea agreement
- Successfully move the court to dismiss the charges
- Win an acquittal (not guilty verdict) at trial
Too often people arrested for DUI do not fully understand their rights or the possible ways to challenge a DUI charge. They often take the prosecutor’s word that their first offer is the best outcome available. Don’t make that mistake.
Talk to a DUI Attorney in Jacksonville, Florida
If you’re facing a DUI charge, don’t gamble with your future. A consultation with one of our experienced DUI defense attorneys is free, so you have nothing to lose by learning more about your rights and options. Call 904-513-3905 right now or fill out the contact form on this site to schedule an appointment.
Florida DUIs Frequently Asked Questions
Is it worth getting a lawyer for a DUI in Jacksonville?
While it may be possible to resolve a criminal case without an attorney, doing so is almost never a good decision. Having a skilled and knowledgeable attorney can often benefit you in ways you never expected. Remember attorneys have undergone years of schooling, passed a state-wide exam, and acquired years of on the job training. So be sure not to miss a chance to protect yourself and your future, contact a defense attorney like those at Lufrano Legal, P.A. today. We offer free DUI consultations to help clients make informed and intelligent decisions.
How much does a DUI lawyer cost in Florida?
The cost of hiring a DUI lawyer in Jacksonville, Florida varies from attorney to attorney. But more important than the price that any one attorney quotes you should be the following:
- Are they Board Certified Experts in Criminal Trial Law or Criminal Appeals?
- What kind of experience does the defense attorney have?
- Is the attorney recognized for excellence in their field?
- Has the attorney explained to you the various aspects of a DUI prosecution, both criminal and administrative?
- Do you feel comfortable with the attorney?
So if you or someone you care about has been arrested for DUI you should speak with the attorney, like Matthew Lufrano of Lufrano Legal, P.A. Chances are good you’ll be glad you did. Not only is Mr. Lufrano Board Certified attorney in Criminal Trial Law, but he has been defending clients charges with DUI and more serious offenses for over a decade.
What is the lowest penalty for a first offense DUI in Florida?
If a person pleads to or is convicted of a first time DUI in Florida the minimum penalties must be imposed:
- A conviction for the offense of DUI.
- The imposition of a jail sentence for the time a defendant has already served.
- At least six months of probation with the following special conditions:
- Six month suspension of your driver’s license
- Enroll in and complete DUI School
- Attend a Victim Impact Panel
- Complete 50 hours of community service
- There will be a 10 day impoundment of your vehicle’s tag
- Pay a $500.00 fine and additional court costs
However these penalties can be enhanced even for a first time DUI depending on circumstances such as:
- The level of a driver’s breath alcohol content.
- If there was a crash.
- Whether there was a minor in the vehicle at the time of the offense.
Additionally should you plead to or be convicted of DUI in the State of Florida your criminal record can never be sealed or expunged.
That’s why people charged with offenses like DUI need the advice and assistance of skilled defense attorney in Jacksonville, like Matthew Lufrano of Lufrano Legal, P.A. After all a good defense lawyer may be able to help you with the development of a defense, looking for issues with the State’s case against you, representing you in Court, and even dealing with the prosecutor should you wish to try and resolve the case through a plea deal.
How long does a DUI stay on your record in Florida?
A criminal record isn’t like a credit report, with negative items dropping off over time. A DUI conviction stays on your criminal history forever. That’s why it’s important to address any DUI arrest with an experienced defense attorney when the matter first arises as opposed to after its conclusion. Moreover, the firm of Lufrano Legal, P.A. stand ready to assist you or anyone you care about facing such a charge twenty-four hours a day seven days a week.
It is also worth noting that the age of a DUI conviction can make a difference in subsequent DUI proceedings. As a result, speaking with an experienced Jacksonville DUI attorney can help you understand the impact of such prior DUI convictions on you today. So if you or a loved one are facing a DUI, contact the firm today.
Is your license suspended immediately after a DUI in Florida?
The short answer is it depends. Should the police take your driver’s license following an arrest then you’ll want to look at the bottom of your DUI citation. In some situations the DUI citation will actually serve as a temporary 10-day driver’s permit. But the best thing to do when confronted with such a scenario is to reach out to an experienced DUI lawyer who can help ensure that the next step you take doesn’t put you in further hot water.
Additionally, should your license be “immediately” suspended following a DUI arrest, such a suspension can be challenged. However, the time frame to challenge the suspension is very short: you only have 10 days to request a review.
So if you’ve been arrested for DUI, it is in your best interest to schedule a consultation with a DUI lawyer right away, after all that 10-day clock is ticking.
Can first time DUI offenders go to jail in Florida?
Unfortunately, defendants convicted of a first time DUI can go to jail or serve additional jail time upon conviction. The law in Florida classifies the offense of DUI as a first-degree misdemeanor, and as a result even in the least egregious circumstances, the maximum potential penalty for a first time DUI would be six months in the county jail.
Moreover, there are a wide variety of factors that impact whether additional jail time is something that a person charged with DUI might face. So, If you or a loved one are charged with a first-time DUI, an experienced DUI lawyer in Jacksonville, like Matthew Lufrano of Lufrano Legal, P.A. will be able to provide you with case-specific analysis on this or other issues you face.