Experienced Venice DUI Lawyer
Florida DUI Laws
If you are charged with a DUI in Florida, then you may be confused about the law, the penalties associated with the charge at-issue, and what you can do to avoid criminal liability. At Fowler Law Group, we can guide you through the DUI litigation process from beginning to end. Contact us today for immediate guidance.
What Qualifies as a DUI Under Florida Law?
In Florida, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI) offenses are serious crimes for which liability is imposed if the prosecution can show that:
a) You were in actual physical control of the vehicle at-issue, and
b) You were intoxicated at the time.
If your blood alcohol content level is 0.08 or above (0.04 or above for commercially-licensed drivers, and 0.02 or above for drivers under the age of 21), then you will be deemed intoxicated as a matter of law. In Florida, however, even if you have a blood alcohol content level below the “minimum,” prosecutors can establish intoxication by demonstrating that your normal faculties were impaired. Simply put, if prosecutors can show that your ability to safely operate your vehicle was materially and substantially impacted due to your consumption of alcohol or drugs, then you will be deemed intoxicated.
It’s worth noting, also, that you can be held liable for a drug DUI for consumption of legal substances, such as prescription medication — so long as it impairs your normal faculties, you must be careful not to consume such medication prior to driving.
Penalties for DUI Vary Substantially
Penalties for a DUI vary depending on the level of intoxication, the consequences of your DUI violation (i.e., whether you collided with another person and caused them to suffer serious bodily harm), the presence of minors in your vehicle, and recent prior DUI convictions on your record. As such, the severity of penalties is rather specific to the circumstances.
DUI violations may be accompanied by the following penalties:
- Jail time
- License revocation
- Ignition interlock device installation
- Substance abuse treatment
- Community service requirements
- And more
Common Defenses to a DUI Charge
Illegitimate Police Stop
If police stopped you illegitimately, and that illegitimate stop led to a DUI charge, then you may be able to have the case dismissed, thus shielding you from criminal liability altogether. In Florida, law enforcement officers may only stop you if they have: a) reasonable suspicion to believe that you have committed or are currently engaged in a traffic violation, or b) probable cause that you have committed or are currently committing a crime.
DUIs qualify as traffic violations, and as such, police only need reasonable suspicion to stop you and administer a field sobriety test or breathalyzer test. A law enforcement officer may have reasonable suspicion due to a “hunch,” but that hunch must be supported by specific and articulable facts. For example, if an officer sees that you are swerving and driving strangely, that is a specific and articulable fact sufficient to give rise to a reasonable suspicion that you are driving while intoxicated.
Challenging the Test Results
Many of the tests administered by police in determining whether you are intoxicated (for the purposes of a DUI) are not accurate, or are performed incorrectly, thus leading to improper and unreasonable results. For example, a failed breathalyzer test may seem like an impossible hurdle to overcome in your DUI defense, but if you can show that the officer did not properly calibrate the breathalyzer prior to testing you, then you can undermine the results and potentially escape liability.
Contact Fowler Law Group for Immediate Assistance
Here at Fowler Law Group, our attorneys have extensive experience representing the interests of those who have been charged with criminal offenses throughout the state of Florida, including DUI violations. We understand just how frustrating and overwhelming the prospect of criminal litigation can be for the accused and are committed to helping our clients minimize or avoid liability by providing truly personalized legal advocacy.
When it comes to dealing with a DUI, you will be best served by working with an attorney early on. Your defense attorney will be able to identify witnesses, gather supportive evidence, and develop airtight arguments that can maximize the likelihood that you will secure a favorable result (whether through a negotiation with prosecutors or at trial).
What To Expect When Hiring Our Office
HAVE YOU RECENTLY FACED LEGAL ISSUES? WE CAN HELP!
Fowler Law Group proudly represents the citizens of Sarasota and Manatee Counties as well as the surrounding Tampa Bay area. Our experienced team will help guide you through the judicial process and answer all of your questions with honesty and integrity. We understand the important nature of your call, and we will strive to return all calls within 24 hours. Contact us today by completing our online form or calling us at 941-404-8909.