Over 100 Not Guilty Verdicts At Trial | Over 2,000 Dismissals

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  • "Don Pumphrey is a very respectable and trustworthy person" by Alejandro M.
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  • "Mr. Pumphrey and his staff are true experts at interpretation of the law and worked hard to protect my rights." by Anonymous (Google Review 3), Past Client
  • "If you have a fight on your hands, you want Don Pumphrey in your corner." by D. Williams, Past Client
  • "Today, my relative is no longer in the system, having to report on a weekly basis, graduated college & gone on with his carer, having avoided prison - Thanks to Don Pumphrey JR." by Donna J., Relative of Past Client
  • "Mr. Pumphrey took one look at my case and had all of the charges dismissed" by Evie, Past Client
  • "Saved my life best lawyer ever!" by Jacob S., Past Client
  • "I highly recommend them for your legal needs." by Jane S., Past Client
  • "If you are looking for top-notch legal council either locally or abroad, look no further. Don Pumphrey and his staff will fight unremittingly for your your rights!" by Jeremy C., Past Client
  • "You will not find a finer, more experienced criminal attorney in Tallahassee to handle mistakes made by yourself or your student." by Kim, Parent of Past Client
  • ""He's one of the best lawyers in town. He's very nice and personable."" by Lashan, Former Client
  • " Don Pumphrey is the best attorney in Florida." by Luke S., Past Client
  • "His passion for justice is second only to his unwavering commitment to his clients." by Michael M., Past Client
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  • "One of the finest criminal attorney's in the big bend area" by Terry B., Past Client

First DUI Offense

DUI attorney in Tallahassee, Florida

If it’s your first DUI arrest, the fact that you have no prior record can be particularly helpful in convincing the prosecutor to be lenient and reduce your charges. Your attorney can also highlight any important defenses that may lead to a “not guilty” verdict at trial or even a dismissal of the charges before the trial starts.

First DUI cases are treated differently than other types of misdemeanors in Florida. For many first-time misdemeanor offenses, prosecutors will funnel the cases into special diversion programs that allow the charges to be dropped after completion. But for drunk driving cases, prosecutors often seek a criminal conviction with at least the statutory minimum penalties and punishments.

Even if you have no prior record, you should still be particularly concerned with fighting the charges, as this does not mean that the prosecutor will take it easy on you. Besides the direct consequences of the conviction imposed by the court, other indirect consequences will also last for several years, including increased automobile insurance rates and the notice of the conviction appearing in background checks. A Tallahassee DUI defense lawyer can help you fight to keep your record clean.

First DUI Attorney in Tallahassee

Out of all drunk driving cases, the initial DUI offense is by far the most common. Being arrested and charged with the crime can be intimidating, but the criminal defense attorneys at Pumphrey Law can help. Throughout the years, Don Pumphrey Jr. has represented business owners, members of the military, nurses, health care professionals, teachers, certified educators, college students and graduate students charged with DUI.

Let the attorneys at Pumphrey Law put their experience to work for you in fighting drunk driving cases in Tallahassee and the surrounding areas in North Florida’s Big Bend region including Monticello in Jefferson County, Crawfordville in Wakulla County, Quincy in Gadsden County and Bristol in Liberty County.

Call (850) 681-7777 to schedule a free consultation with a Tallahassee lawyer.


First DUI Information Center


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The Two Cases Pending Against You After a DUI Arrest in Tallahassee

After your drunk driving arrest, there will be two cases pending against you. It is important to know the difference between these two cases and what options you have to fight them. These two pending cases apply whether you were under the influence of alcohol or if you are accused of drugged driving. Don’t forget that you have the right to an attorney in both cases.

These two cases are:

  • The Administrative “On-the-Stop” Suspension
    Immediately after the arrest, the DMV will begin an administrative action to suspend your driver’s license based on the arrest if you either blew over the legal limit of 0.08 BAC or if you refused to take the breath test. You can then have a hearing to determine if you will lose your driving privileges, and if so, for how long.
  • Criminal Case
    The State of Florida also will bring a criminal action against you for violating Florida’s laws prohibiting driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Depending on the specific facts of your case, you could be facing a misdemeanor or a felony charge. If you are charged with a misdemeanor, you will answer the charges in County Court. If you are charged with a felony, you will answer the charges in Circuit Court.

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Administrative License Suspension in Tallahassee, FL

Under Florida Statute Sections 322.2615 and 322.64, the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles “FLHSMV” is authorized to conduct a formal and informal review when requested by the driver. The law states that this hearing can be held to sustain, amend, or invalidate an administrative suspension and disqualification.

For many, there is no real downside to requesting an administrative hearing to protect your driver’s license. If you prevail, the administrative suspension will be removed from your driving record as if it never happened and you can continue to drive without any restrictions while your criminal case is pending.

The only possible downside to asserting your right to a Formal Review Hearing is that if you are not successful in getting the administrative suspension invalidated, then you will suffer a hard suspension of your driving privilege.

If the charges are based on a breath test, then you will be facing a hard suspension of at least 30 days. If the charges are based on a refusal to take the breath test, then you will be facing a hard suspension of at least 90 days. A hard suspension means that you are not able to drive at all during the 30 or 90 days and once the period is over, you must request a hardship license. While daunting, this risk is a small price to pay for all of the benefits that go along with contesting the suspension.

Even if you do not win at the formal review hearing, the evidence and testimony gained during the hearing may assist your Tallahassee DUI attorneys in fighting the criminal charges in court.

After the arrest for a first DUI, the officer will take your driver’s license and issue you a 10-day driving permit. You must file a demand for a formal review hearing within those ten days, or your driver’s license will be automatically suspended for either six months or one year depending on whether you submitted to the breath test or not.

  • Refusal to Submit to a Breath Test
    A refusal comes with an automatic 12-month suspension. After serving 90 days of hard time, during which you cannot drive for any reason, you should become eligible for a business purpose only license that allows you to drive to and from school, go to work, the hospital, and other events. You can basically only drive for business purposes only, for the rest of the 12 months.
  • Breath Test
    If you blew over the legal limit of 0.08 then a six-month suspension could be put in place. After serving 90 days of hard time, during which you cannot drive for any reason, you should become eligible for a business purpose only license that allows you to drive to and from school, work, the hospital, and other events, for business purposes only, for the rest of the 6 months.

During the 10 days after your arrest, if you retain an attorney to demand a formal review hearing, your attorney can help you obtain a 42-day driving permit so you can continue driving for business purposes while your attorney prepares for the formal review hearing.

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Avoiding Penalties for First DUI Conviction

Fighting the case proactively is important because the penalties are harsh for a first-time DUI offender. These penalties are in addition to the administrative suspension if it’s not invalidated after the formal review hearing or if you fail to request a formal review hearing. The penalties for a first DUI conviction include:

  • Jail time
    A maximum jail sentence of six months in the Leon County Jail. If the breath test result was higher than 0.15 or if a minor child was in the vehicle at the time of the stop, the maximum jail sentence is nine months in jail.
  • Revocation of driving privileges
    In addition to any administrative suspension imposed by the DMV, if there was no bodily injury the court is required to revoke your driver license for at least 180 days and up to 1 year. If there was bodily injury, your driver license will be revoked for at least 3 years. The penalties could also be enhanced in a commercial motor vehicle DUI.
  • Business Purposes Only (BPO) reinstatements
    After the conviction, most individuals are eligible for business purpose only or employment purpose only driving privileges for the entire period of the court-ordered revocation. In other words, no additional “hard period” of no driving for any reason is imposed, assuming the driver has already completed DUI School.
  • Probation
    In misdemeanor DUI cases, the judge is required to impose 12 months of probation, with credit for any jail time imposed. However, the court can terminate the probation early if all special conditions are met.
  • Community Service
    The court must impose 50 hours of community service, but the court may permit you to “buy out” a portion of those hours at a rate of $10.00 per hour.
  • Fine
    The court is required to impose a fine of $500 to $1,000. If the breath test reading was more than 0.15 or a minor child was in the automobile, the court is required to impose a fine of $1,000 to $2,000.
  • Vehicle impound
    In most cases, the judge will impose a 10-day vehicle impoundment unless the court finds that it would be a hardship to another family member that has no other form of transportation. This 10 day does not occur concurrently with incarceration, the 10 days start running once you are out of jail.
  • School
    The court is obligated to require that the driver complete a Level I DUI school which consists of a 12-hour class, substance abuse evaluation, and follow-up treatment which is typically 8 to 12 weeks of alcohol or drug treatment and counseling.
  • Ignition interlock device
    Although the court has the discretion to impose the ignition interlock device after a first DUI conviction, the court is only required to impose this condition on a first DUI when the breath or blood alcohol reading was 0.15 or higher or when it is alleged a minor was in the automobile.

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Requirements for Reinstating Your Driver’s License

Even after you have completed all of the terms and conditions imposed by the court, your driver’s license is not reinstated automatically and must still apply to have it reinstated. To reinstate your driver’s license, you must show proof of obtaining FR-44 insurance, pay a reinstatement fee of $60, pay an administrative fee of $115 and pay a driver’s license fee.

Level One DUI School in Tallahassee, FL

If you live or work in Leon County, FL, after a first DUI arrest in Tallahassee, it costs $289 to enroll in a Level 1 DUI school in Tallahassee. The North Florida Safety Council allows you to pre-register online with a credit card. You can also complete the process for pre-registration by going to the office after setting a registration appointment. If you register in the office, you must pay $275 with cash or money order. If you want to pay with a credit card in the office, you will be charged an additional convenience fee. When you enroll, be sure to pick up the proof of enrollment certificate and enrollment forms.

Under Florida Statute Section 316.193(5) and Florida Administrative Rule 15a.10, you must complete an approved 12-hour course and evaluation. Completing DUI school is required for the first offense of DUI, DUBAL (driving with an unlawful blood or breath alcohol concentration), DUI Refusal, DWI, and a DUI reduced to WWRD (reckless driving if substance abuse related). You must also complete Level One DUI school after a conviction for Boating under the Influence if ordered to do so by the court. You might also be required to fulfill this requirement for other types of convictions that require attendance in an alcohol/substance abuse education program.

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Find a DUI Attorney in Tallahassee, FL

A DUI arrest can be an intimidating experience. You should not have to go through the process alone. Contact a criminal defense lawyer in Tallahassee after a DUI arrest in Leon County. Pumphrey Law has represented clients facing a variety of drunk driving charges, and the attorneys can help you fight for the best possible result in your case.

Call (850) 681-7777 to schedule a free case consultation.


Page Updated June 12th, 2022

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