DUI Defense Lawyers
Being charged with a DUI can be a frightening and intimidating experience. Depending on the amount of alcohol that is present within the blood, and if there are any significant damages or injuries as a result of driving under the influence, a DUI charge can lead to misdemeanor or felony charges. If you are pulled over while under the influence, there are steps that you should take before you are able to contact a DUI defense lawyer.
What to Do If You’re Pulled Over for DUI
You should locate a safe area to pull your motor vehicle over; be polite; avoid making sudden, abrupt movements; and tell the truth. However, you should also avoid answering incriminating questions. If you feel uncomfortable taking a field sobriety test or a hand-held breathalyzer test, know that you are under no legal obligation to do so. Instead, you may take these crucial exams when you arrive to the local police station. Once you are released, it is pertinent that you jot down the events that occurred in detail. Include how you and the officer behaved and interacted with each other, the specific instructions that you were given, when and if you were mirandized, and how much you drank prior to the arrest.
Driving Under the Influence in Florida
In the state of Florida, a DUI refers to driving under the influence. Consumption of prescription medication, alcoholic beverages, street drugs, and controlled substances while operating a motor vehicle can pose significant risks to drivers, passengers and innocent pedestrians. In the state of Florida, a DUI arrest can be granted if any of the following conditions are met:
- The driver’s blood alcohol concentration (or breath) is above 0.08. Because 0.08 is the legal limit, evidence of a blood alcohol concentration that is higher than this amount can lead to an individual’s arrest.
- The driver’s “normal faculties” may be impaired. An arrest may be granted if a driver is not able to function normally (such as speak clearly, move around steadily, normal-sized pupils, etc.), even if the driver’s blood alcohol concentration is below 0.08.
Such criterias are infamously known for criminalizing many responsible drivers. Determining the blood alcohol concentration level of a driver and/or analyzing a driver’s functional normalcy is largely subjective. Thus, if you have been charged with a DUI in Florida, it is crucial that you contact a DUI defense attorney. At the Law Offices of Michael B. Brehne, P.A., our Orlando defense attorneys are familiar with the types of DUI offenses in Florida and how to create strong defenses against such criminal charges. Learn more about DUI and DWI from our defense attorneys by reading our DUI FAQs.
- A first DUI may be charged with a second degree misdemeanor. Evidence that the driver could not operate under “normal faculties” and a blood alcohol concentration over the legal limit of 0.08 may cause a driver to be charged with a first DUI.
- A misdemeanor of the first degree may be charged to a driver who experiences his/her second DUI offense. A driver may be convicted of a felony DUI if the individual has been charged with three or more DUI offenses within a 10-year period.
DUI with Property Damage
- A DUI with Property Damage is charged to drivers who cause a crash while under the influence that results in property damage and non-serious bodily injury to others. It may result in a misdemeanor of the first degree charge.
DUI with Death or Serious Bodily Injury
- A DUI with Death or Serious Bodily Injury is charged to drivers who are proven to have a BAC that is over the legal limit (0.08), and have caused a wrongful death or serious bodily injury to others. This offense can result in first, second or third degree felonies.
Types of DUI Offenses & Penalties in Florida
There are many different types of DUI offenses in Florida. Penalties may be applied depending on the types and quantity of the driver’s prior offenses, as well as the amount of damages/level of injuries resulting from the accident, whether there was a child/minor involved, and whether the BAC level was higher than 0.15.
In most cases, the following types of consequences are assigned:
- Fines ranging $500–$10,000)
- Performance of a minimum of 50 hours of community service
- Mandatory DUI school
- Vehicle impoundment
Types of Defenses to a DUI
For aggressive representation during and after a DUI charge, it is crucial that you contact an experienced Orlando DUI attorney. There are strategic defenses to DUIs that may make you appear favorable in a court of law.
Actual Physical Control
DUIs are taken seriously by courts of law because they pose potential serious threats to drivers, passengers and innocent bystanders. Therefore, police officers typically attempt to measure if the driver is able to control the motor vehicle. A strong defense against a DUI charge may be proof that the driver had actual physical control of the vehicle, thereby ensuring the safety of others on and off the road.
An additional defense to a DUI charge may be a rebuttal against the chemical test method. If it is proven in a court of law that the breath test/blood alcohol concentration test was not conclusive; the test was administered by someone who was not authorized to perform the test; or the test was tainted or flawed as a whole, the DUI charges may be dismissed.
When drivers are stopped while driving under the influence, they should still expect to be treated with respect and dignity. Their legal rights should be upheld. If they are stopped, the officers must have had a probable cause to stop them. Further, all drivers should be mirandized when arrested. Failure to provide drivers with basic procedural and constitutional due process rights may cause a DUI charge to be considered illegitimate in a court of law.
The Importance of a DUI Attorney
Because driving under the influence poses serious threats of injury, death and property damage to others, it can be challenging to prepare a defense against a DUI charge without the presence of an Orlando DUI lawyer. Aggressive legal representation is necessary to ensure that your rights are protected and restored and that you gain the most favorable outcome for your unique circumstance.
If you have been charged with a DUI offense in the state of Florida, contact experienced DUI and vehicular crimes defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Michael B. Brehne, P.A. for professional legal representation.