When you’re arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Florida, you must deal with the criminal court charges as well as the mandatory suspension of your driver’s license.
A typical DUI arrest occurs after a traffic stop, which could be due to a violation like running a red light or speeding or to the driver swerving or showing other signs of impairment. Police can also arrest an impaired person in a parked vehicle if that person is in control of the vehicle with keys in proximity. An officer can request that a driver participate in a field sobriety exercise and may also ask to administer a Breathalyzer test or a blood test if the driver shows signs of impairment.
As in other states, the legal threshold for impairment is blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or higher. For drivers ages 21 and under, the law considers a BAC of .02 percent as impaired. Even first-time DUI convictions carry stiff penalties, such as 90-day license suspension, jail time, fines and reinstatement fees and the loss of student loan eligibility.
With so much at stake, engaging a skilled lawyer with successful experience defending DUI cases is critical. Your lawyer may call into question the probable cause for the traffic stop, the validity of the breath test, the conditions of the field sobriety test and the timing of the blood alcohol test. Alternatively, your lawyer may advise you to accept a plea deal that reduces the charge to reckless driving. Every case is different and your lawyer will consider all of the facts before advising you on your best options.
Another legal problem to be resolved is that after a DUI arrest, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will automatically suspend your driver’s license. Your lawyer can petition the DHSMV for a civil hearing to seek reinstatement of your license due to hardship, which requires proof of enrollment in DUI school and, in some cases, installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) for up to six months.
Alan Fowler and his law firm, Key West Criminal Defense, are a team of attorneys and paralegals who have handled many DUI cases in Key West, the Florida Keys, and Monroe County, Florida. Call (305) 417-9378 or contact us online for a free consultation.