Each year, drunk drivers kill hundreds of people in the state of Florida. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, 676 people died in Florida during 2014 in alcohol-related crashes, making up close to 30 percent of all traffic fatalities.
While this represents a slight decrease from previous years, law enforcement officials are still working hard to send the message that drunk driving does not pay. If a judge finds you guilty of driving under the influence, you will face harsh penalties, including a permanent conviction that can never be sealed or expunged under existing law, thousands of dollars in fines and costs, jail time, license suspension or revocation, probation, mandatory driving schools, counseling, interlock and immobilization devices for your car plus many more! If you are the victim of an accident on the road involving a drunk driver and want to take legal action against them and their negligence, you could reach out to Morris, King, Hodge P.C. if you’re in the Florence, Alabama, area.
If are arrested in Florida for driving under the influence, Fort Lauderdale criminal defense and DUI defense attorney Michael D. Leader can provide invaluable advice. At Leader & Leader P.A., we focus our practice on the art of winning DUI cases as well as other criminal matters. We have more than eight decades of combined legal experience.
If you find yourself on the wrong side of the law, do not take a chance without building a proper defense. A guilty verdict can have far-reaching implications on the rest of your life, and one of the best ways to achieve a positive outcome is by engaging skilled legal professionals. Call us today at 954-523-2020 to schedule an appointment.
Florida courts may use the following means to punish DUI offenders:
- First Offense
According to the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles, first time DUI offenders face the following mandatory sentence: A permanent conviction (adjudication) on your driving and criminal record, court costs and costs of prosecution that often exceed $600.00, a fine of between $500 and $2000, a minimum of 50 hours of community service. up to six to nine months in jail (or more in some situations), mandatory DUI school with an evaluation and follow up counseling, six to twelve months probation that generally costs $65.00 – $75.00 per month, random drug testing for both drugs and alcohol, a minimum of a ten-day immobilization (a boot) of your vehicle at your own expense and an interlock device (that costs hundreds of dollars to install and requires a monthly inspection and fee) that requires you to blow into it in order to start your car. Many DUI allegations are defensible; often the cost to you for taking a plea is more expensive than the legal fee for a competent DUI defense lawyer. Offenses like these will be on an individual’s record, which will be able to be seen by anyone who looks into someone’s criminal past. When someone has a criminal record, when it comes to finding a job ect, this aspect of their lives may be difficult, as this will eventually come up. With that being said, if it wasn’t for similar resources here, for example, it would be tough to find out what someone’s criminal past is, especially if you know there is something they’re hiding. Being honest about these sorts of offenses is best.
If there is a minor child in the car or you blow over a .150, your charges will be enhanced making the interlock device mandatory for six months minimum and require the fine to be assessed in an amount between $1000.00 and $2000.00.
- Subsequent DUI Offenses
If a judge finds you guilty of driving under the influence for a second or subsequent time, the penalties will be more severe. According to DMV.org, as set forth in Florida Statutes, a second DUI conviction carries more severe penalties and mandatory jail time if it was within five years of a prior conviction for DUI. The penalties for a second offense within five years of a prior is up to a year in jail (270 days if not enhanced), between $1000.00 – $4000.00 in fines, courts costs and other costs that frequently exceed $600.00, up to twelve months probation, five year driver license revocation, Level II or higher DUI school, minium of 30 day vehicle immobilization and a minimum of one to two years with an interlock device depending upon whether your charges are enhanced by having a minor in the vehicle or blowing over a .150.
If someone is seriously injured in an accident while you are impaired from drugs or alcohol, you may face felony charges punishable up to five years in prison with all of the other required penalties discussed above. If someone dies, you may be facing a DUI Manslaughter charge that is punishable up to FIFTEEN YEARS IN PRISON even if you have no prior offenses and requires a minimum mandatory four year prison sentence and lifetime revocation of your license.
Third and fourth offenses can, and often will, be filed as felony even without any injury, accident or death and can also result in years in prison and permanent driver license revocation.
Do not take any DUI or criminal charges lightly. Even if you believe you are innocent, the justice system is unpredictable and you may still face harsh penalties. Many people go to court thinking they do not need a lawyer and regret it but may not be able to undo the damage they have done.
In addition to the criminal case, if you refuse to blow, give urine or blood or blow over a .08 [.02 if you are under 21] the Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles will administratively suspend your license from six to eighteen months depending upon your circumstances. You must take action with TEN days of your arrest in order to fight the suspension or seek a hardship license without any time with no driving if it is your first offense.
Contact Leader & Leader P.A. at 954-523-2020 for advice on your specific matter. Fort Lauderdale DUI lawyer Michael D. Leader has extensive criminal law experience, and we are available 24 hours per day, seven days per week, for a FREE iinitial consultation.