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DUI Causing Property Damage

DUI attorney in Tallahassee, Florida

The stakes are high for any accusation of drunk driving in Florida. When an alleged driving under the influence (DUI) incident involves damaged property, the defendant can face penalties for a DUI with Property Damage charge. After an arrest, drivers should be worried about the pending criminal charges, along with the administrative suspension of their driver’s license and the potential insurance coverage for the crash.

Call an experienced criminal defense attorney to learn more about your pending charges, their potential penalties, and how to best defend yourself from a criminal conviction. The penalties are harsh, even for a first DUI arrest without any prior record. A criminal defense lawyer in Tallahassee can help you at each stage of the case.

Tallahassee Attorney for DUI with Property Damage

Were you recently accused of driving under the influence and causing property damage in Leon County? You should be made aware of the charges you face and the implications of a criminal conviction. Drunk driving cases are always given a tough time by prosecutors, especially when the case involved any property damage or injury. Take back control by hiring a qualified defense attorney to represent your case.

The attorneys at Pumphrey Law have the experience necessary to fight difficult DUI cases. We can review your case details to discuss the best strategy for your DUI defense. Call (850) 681-7777 today to receive a risk-free consultation to go over your case. Pumphrey Law proudly represents clients throughout North Florida including those in Jefferson County, Wakulla County, Gadsden County and Liberty County.

DUI with Property Damage Information

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Definition of DUI with Property Damage in Florida

Florida Statute Section 316.193 covers the definitions and penalties for drunk driving offenses in Florida.

A driver is considered under the influence of drugs or alcohol if their normal faculties are impaired, or if the driver’s blood or breath-alcohol concentration (BAC) is at or above the legal limit of .08 (regardless of apparent impairment). If the person accused of DUI causes an accident or damages the property belonging to another person, then they can be charged with the offense DUI with Property Damage.

These cases can be broad when defining what constitutes property damage; however, some examples can include a motor vehicle, mailbox, home, light pole, or any other personal or private property belonging to another person. Even if the property is unoccupied at the time of the offense, it can still be charged as DIU with property damage.

The following provides an example scenario of DUI with Property Damage:

Jonathan was attending a friend’s birthday party where he consumed several alcoholic beverages. Despite feeling the effects of the alcohol, Jonathan claimed he was fine to drive safely home. As Jonathan leaves the party and begins to pull out of the neighborhood, he fails to make a left turn due to his impaired judgment and reaction time. Misjudging the turn causes Jonathan to crash into a parked car in the neighborhood, which causes damages to both vehicles. The owner of the vehicle hears the commotion and calls the police. When they arrive, Jonathan is still showing signs of impairment and ends up failing a field sobriety test conducted by the officers. Jonathan is subsequently arrested and charged with DUI that caused property damage.

Have you experienced a similar scenario that resulted in you being arrested for DUI? Contact a defense attorney to discuss your legal options.

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Elements to Prove DUI with Property Damage in Florida

Criminal cases in Florida require the prosecutor with the State Attorney’s Office to prove the defendant is guilty of the offense beyond all reasonable doubt. The Florida Bar’s Criminal Jury Instructions provide that to convict a defendant of DUI with Property Damage, the State must prove the following elements:

  • The defendant either drove or was in actual physical control of a motor vehicle;
  • While the defendant was driving or in actual physical control of the vehicle, the defendant either:
    • Had a breath or blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol (for 210 liters of breath or 100 milliliters of blood); or
    • Was impaired by alcohol intoxication or drug impairment to the extent that the driver’s normal faculties were impaired; and
  • As a result of operating or being in actual physical control of the vehicle, the defendant caused or contributed to the damage or injury to another person or their property.

Under Florida law, the term “normal faculties” refers to things like walking, talking, seeing, hearing, driving a motor vehicle, making decisions, and acting in emergencies. It can also mean being able to normally perform the many physical acts and mental tasks required in our daily lives.

Penalties for DUI with Property Damage

A person charged with DUI that resulted in property damage will face a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida. If the defendant is convicted, a judge can sentence them to the following penalties:

  • Up to $1,000 in fines; and
  • Up to one year in jail.

When it comes to any DUI-related offense, there are additional statutory penalties that can come with a secured conviction. The additional DUI penalties can include:

  • A minimum fine of $500 up to $1,000;
  • Up to one year of probation;
  • Driver’s license revocation for six months up to one year;
  • Vehicle impoundment or immobilization for 10 days;
  • 50 hours of completed community service;
  • Completion of a psychosocial evaluation; and
  • Completion of substance abuse treatment (if recommended).

A defendant who either had a BAC of .15 or higher, or who had a minor in the vehicle at the time of the offense, can face the following enhanced penalties:

  • Minimum fine of $1,000 up to $2,000;
  • Up to nine months in jail; and
  • Mandatory placement of an interlock ignition device (IID) for a minimum of six months.

Keep in mind that these are all the resulting penalties for a first time DUI offense that resulted in property damage. If you have any prior DUI convictions—whether property damage was involved or not—you could be facing more severe penalties. Contact the defense attorneys with Pumphrey Law Firm to discuss your case.

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Possible Defenses to DUI with Property Damage

Although a DUI charge can seem impossible to fight, there are options for potential defense strategies. A skilled Tallahassee defense attorney at Pumphrey Law can study the facts of your case and determine potential defenses that may apply to your circumstances, including:

  • Challenging whether the prosecutor has a witness who saw the defendant actually driving the vehicle or sitting behind the wheel (often called the “wheel witness”);
  • The defendant’s injuries from the collision caused their impairment, not because of intoxication;
  • The defendant’s injuries from the accident impacted their performance on the field sobriety exercises which led to their DUI arrest;
  • The arresting officer violated the accident report privilege or failed to read the defendant their Miranda warnings; or
  • Defense of inoperability – The Criminal Jury Instructions for DUI with Property Damage provides that in a case where the vehicle was inoperable at the time of the offense, the defendant should be found not guilty. However, if the State finds that the defendant was under the influence before the vehicle became inoperable, then it is not considered a valid defense.

Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list of defenses. You could consult an experienced defense attorney to discuss which defenses may apply to your particular case.

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DUI Causing Property Damage Lawyer in Tallahassee, FL

After an arrest for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you should seek the help of experienced lawyers. If you were alleged to have caused property damage as well, you could be facing strict penalties for DUI with Property Damage. The Florida drunk driving defense attorneys at Pumphrey Law Firm have the training and experience necessary to fight these difficult cases. Whether your case involves a breath, blood or urine test or a refusal to submit, we can help. Contact our office today by calling (850) 681-7777 to schedule a free consultation.


Page Updated March 19, 2024

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