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.
Johnson and Lufrano, P.A. Offers Free DUI Consultations
The attorneys at Johnson and Lufrano, 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
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.