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Florida DUI FAQ

Being charged with a DUI in Florida is a very stressful and challenging experience. While the implications can be wide-spread, ranging from jail time to fines and increased insurance rates, the value of an experienced DUI attorney cannot be understated. Pumphrey Law fights for your rights after being charged with a DUI and leaves no stone un-turned in the pursuit of justice. While the case results are of the utmost importance, Pumphrey Law also strives to educate our clients and keep them informed throughout the process. 

*Click here for more Florida Criminal Defense FAQ 

What are the Penalties for a DUI Conviction in Florida?

The consequences for a DUI conviction in Florida are dictated by a number of factors. If this is your first DUI conviction, the punishment will certainly be less than if this was someone with multiple DUI convictions. Penalties in Florida for first-offense DUI can include fines, suspension of driver’s license, vehicle impounding, installing a breathalyzer, and even jail time. If this is your first DUI, it is best to consult with your DUI lawyer and see what the best course of action is for you.

What are “Enhanced DUI Penalties?”

If you are charged with a DUI in Tallahassee or the surrounding areas, the possible penalties can be enhanced under several sets of circumstances. Among these factors can be the accused driver’s BAC. While the legal BAC in Florida is 0.08, if the defendant were to blow higher than a .15 in the breathalyzer test, they will be subject to enhanced penalties. Another situation in which enhanced penalties would be a factor would be if there was a minor in the car during the time of the alleged DUI.

Will a DUI affect my insurance rates?

Many people know a DUI can be expensive, when you factor in attorney fees, fines, classes, etc. However, many people do not realize that a DUI conviction will also increase your insurance rates. Insurance companies take numerous factors into account when evaluating your insurance rates following a DUI, including age, time, number of DUIs, and the policy of your specific insurance company. While we cannot provide a specific number as to how your insurance payments will change, your rates will likely go up and we recommend contacting your insurance provider to see the consequences of a DUI conviction.

Will Prior DUI Cases Impact my Current Case?

While each DUI case is different, Florida utilizes an escalating schedule of mandatory jail sentences and fines depending on the number of previous DUI convictions the defendant has on his record.

Will prior DUI cases in another state impact my current case?

DUI is illegal in every state. In the United States is something called the Interstate Drivers License Compact which allows states to exchange information regarding license suspensions, revocations, and traffic violations. That being said, every state’s laws are different. If you have been arrested for DUI and have questions regarding prior-DUI convictions in other states, contact one of our experienced DUI lawyers today.

What Causes an Officer to Justify a Stop on the Order of Suspicion the Driver May be Under the Influence?

In order to stop a vehicle in Florida, the law enforcement officer must have probable cause for a traffic infraction or a reasonable suspicion that the driver is under the influence and impaired. If an officer were to arrive at the scene of an accident or stop and notice the odor of alcohol and signs of visible intoxication, the officer may have cause to investigate further for DUI.

Am I Required to Perform a Field Sobriety Test?

In the state of Florida, you are not required to take a field sobriety test. Under the implied consent laws Florida utilizes, your driver’s license may be suspended for refusing a urine, blood, or breath test if you have already been arrested and have been read the implied consent notice. If you have been stopped and the police are requesting you take a test, it is important to consult with an experienced DUI lawyer beforehand.

Am I Required to Provide a Blood, Breath, or Urine test?

See answer to question above

What is the Difference Between a Blood Test and a Breath Test?

Typically, after a DUI arrest in the state of Florida, the arresting officer will request that you submit to a chemical test, typically a breath sample, but in some instances the officer may request a urine or blood test. The first and main difference between the two tests is the method of testing. A breath test requires you to blow into a breathalyzer, whereas a blood test involves drawing the suspects blood. The breath tests measure the amount of alcohol on your breath, whereas the blood test directly measures the concentration of alcohol within the blood.

Can I Get in Trouble if my BAC is Lower than .08?

Simply put: Yes. Even with a BAC below .08, the investigating officer can still determine the driver to be impaired and arrest them on a charge of DUI. 

Can I be Charged with a DUI if my Car was Not Moving?

In short, yes. In Florida you may be convicted of a DUI even if your car is parked and not running. This means if you have been drinking and get into your car, but realize you have had too much to drink and decide to sleep it off with your keys in your lap, you may still be arrested if an officer believes you are intoxicated. This means you can get a DUI without ever even turning on or moving your vehicle. Having your keys within reach while in the driver’s seat is considered sufficient for a DUI arrest. Whether or not a jury would convict you is a different story.

Will the Officer Take my License when I get a DUI?

If a DUI suspect blows over the limit, or refuses to take the breath test, the law enforcement officer will immediately confiscate their license and issue a suspension notice. After being arrested for a DUI, a person has only 10 days to request a Formal Review Hearing with the Florida DHMSV to contest the suspension, at which point the driver may be provided a temporary driving permit. If you have been arrested for a DUI, contact our experienced DUI attorneys today!

Can I Still Drive after a DUI Arrest?

When you are arrested for DUI in Florida, the officer will likely take your license and give you a DUI citation, which may act as a 10-day temporary driving permit if checked at the bottom of the citation. After the 10 days is up, the license may be suspended for anywhere from 6 to 18 months. However, if you file for a Formal Review Hearing with the DHSMV within 10 days of your arrest, you may be granted an extension of driving privileges for business purposes. If the defendant does not file for the hearing with the DHSMV, the 6-18 month suspension begins immediately. If you win the hearing, your license may be reinstated without any limitations. There are other factors that will determine who can drive and to what extent following a DUI arrest, so it is highly recommended you contact an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible.

Will I Have a Criminal Record after a DUI Conviction?

A DUI conviction will appear on a criminal background check in the majority of instances. Charges related, such as property damage, impaired driving, or refusing a breath test can also show up on a criminal record search. These background checks are used by employers, professional associations, educational institutes, among others. If you have been arrested for a DUI in Florida and are interested in having the charge expunged from your record, contact our office today!

What is the legal BAC in Florida?

Florida law prohibits anyone from driving or being in “actual physical control” of a vehicle while having a Blood Alcohol Content level above 0.08% or being under the influence of alcohol or illegal controlled substances.

Is DUI a Misdemeanor in Florida?

In Florida, your first offense Driving Under the Influence charge is a misdemeanor unless serious bodily injury or death is involved. If there is a serious bodily injury, your Driving Under the Influence charge may be charged as a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. If a death is involved, you may be charged with DUI Manslaughter, a second degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Can DUI be Expunged in Florida?

No, unfortunately under Florida law if you are convicted for a DUI, you are required to be adjudicated guilty. Offenses that are adjudicated guilty cannot expunge or seal their record under Florida Law.

What happens if I get a DUI in Florida with an out-of-state license?

If you blew over the legal limit of .08 or refused to give a sample, upon your arrest your privileges to drive in Florida will initially be suspended by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Regarding your home state driving privileges, it differs from state to state whether your license is suspended just for getting arrested. Our attorneys at Pumphrey Law are members of national DUI organizations and should be able to contact a colleague in your home state to determine exactly what will happen with your out-of-state license. Even if your home state does not act on your driving privileges, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible after your Driving Under the Influence arrest to address the Florida administrative suspension.

What is a statute of limitation in Florida?

A statute of limitation in Florida is the time limit for the State to press charges against someone. The time periods range from one year for the lowest level felony to no limit for cases involving a death. The time period starts when all elements of the crime have been committed. In order to satisfy the statute of limitation, the State must “commence” the prosecution prior to the time limit. According to Florida Statute 775.15, if the person has been arrested, the State commences the prosecution by “filing of an indictment, information, or other charging document.” If the person has not been arrested, the State commences the prosecution by filing an indictment or information and then serving a warrant on the person “without unreasonable delay.”

What is the statute of limitation for misdemeanor DUI in Florida?

If there was property damage or non-serious bodily injury involved, then there is a two year statute of limitation for the misdemeanor DUI. If there was no property damage or personal injury, then there is a one year statute of limitation for the misdemeanor DUI.

What is the statute of limitation for felony DUI in Florida?

If a DUI charge in Florida can be upgraded to a felony due to prior offenses or serious bodily injury, there is a three year statute of limitation for the felony DUI.

What is the statute of limitation for a DUI Manslaughter in Florida?

DUI Manslaughter is a 2nd degree felony which, under Florida Statute 775.15, usually have a three year statute of limitation. However, according to section 1 of 775.15, any case involving a death may be commenced at any time. Therefore there is no statute of limitation for DUI Manslaughter in Florida.

How much jail time can I get for DUI manslaughter Florida?

If you are convicted for DUI manslaughter in Florida, there is a four year minimum mandatory prison sentence. The maximum sentence is 15 years in prison. A skilled criminal defense attorney may be able to persuade a prosecutor to waive the minimum mandatory sentence in certain cases.

What is the average sentence for DUI manslaughter in Florida?

You can be sentenced up to 15 years in prison for DUI manslaughter in Florida. Sentences vary across the state, with some counties having harsher averages than others. Fortunately, the attorneys at Pumphrey Law have access to ESAS which is a database of all recorded sentences for all crimes including DUI Manslaughter. Our attorneys can quickly search and find the average for a particular area or judge.

What happens with my license after a DUI Manslaughter conviction in Florida?

If you are convicted of a DUI manslaughter in Florida, your license will be revoked for life. Five years after the end of any prison term, you may be able to apply to reinstate your license through the local Bureau of Administrative Review office under Florida Statute 322.271(4). In order to qualify under the statute, you must not have been arrested for a “drug-related offense” in the previous five years, have not driven a vehicle in the previous five years, have been drug and alcohol free for the previous five years, and have completed DUI school. A skilled criminal defense attorney may be able to assist you in determining your eligibility. If you feel like you are eligible but have been denied, contact an attorney as soon as possible to determine your rights to appeal their decision.

What happens when you get a DUI for the first time in Florida?

If you are arrested for DUI, you need to talk to an attorney as soon as possible. There is often a license suspension that starts when you’re arrested and you only have ten days to make a decision with DHSMV about whether to challenge the suspension. So while your court date may not be for a month or more, your license usually requires immediate action. Regarding your court case, some counties have diversion programs for first time offenders that make avoiding a DUI conviction easier. Unfortunately, none of the courts in Tallahassee or the surrounding area have a program for first time offenders. Be careful hiring attorneys from outside the area who promise to get you in programs that may exist where they practice but not where you were arrested.

What is the penalty for a first DUI conviction in Florida?

If you are convicted for a first offense misdemeanor DUI, the minimum sentence is 6 months of probation to complete DUI school, 50 hours of community service, and a 10-day impoundment of your vehicle. Your license will also be suspended for 6 months from the date of your conviction. You can get a hardship license for the 6 month suspension period by showing proof of completion of DUI school to your local Bureau of Administrative Review office found here. The maximum sentence for a misdemeanor first time DUI in Florida is 12 months in jail if there is property damage or minor injury, 9 months in jail if there is a breath or blood sample above a .15, and 6 months in jail for all others. If you’re looking to avoid a DUI conviction in Florida, contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case.

Tallahassee and Florida DUI Resources

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