Considering the potentially catastrophic outcomes drunk driving can and regularly does produce on the roadways, it stands to reason that Florida treats those who operate vehicles while intoxicated very harshly indeed.
A conviction on charges of this nature can be similarly life-altering for defendants and families alike, due to the lengthy jail terms, massive fines and ancillary consequences that are almost certain to follow.
Should you find yourself having to answer to allegations in this realm, a West Palm Beach DUI lawyer will work to protect your freedom and your future. To discuss the specifics of your case or begin building your defense, schedule a consultation with a defense attorney today.
Florida DUI Laws
As articulated by Fla. Stat. §316.193, an individual can be found guilty of driving under the influence by operating or being in actual control of a vehicle while having a blood-alcohol level of at least 0.08 grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or a breath-alcohol reading of at least 0.08 grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.
It should also be noted that a vehicle need not be moving for a violation of the law to be found. The “actual physical control” provision in the statute means that an intoxicated person sitting at the wheel of a parked car with keys at the ready could also face charges and need the help of a West Palm Beach DUI attorney.
Impact of a Conviction
Those accused of driving while intoxicated in Florida must make no mistake about the extreme seriousness of the penalties they face.
Lengthy terms of incarceration, license suspension or revocation, fines and court costs, probationary supervision, mandatory completion of victim impact programming, vehicle impound procedures and ignition interlock are among the sentencing options available to presiding judges.
While many instances of driving while intoxicated are prosecuted as misdemeanors, there are times when offenses of this type are classified as felonies capable of yielding even more onerous punishments. Felony DUIs include instances in which:
- The accused is facing charges of a third DUI offense within a 10-year span
- The defendant is found guilty of a fourth or subsequent drunk driving offense
- Another party was seriously injured due to the conduct at issue
- Another party was killed as a result of the defendant’s drunk driving
Felony DUI convictions can put offenders in prison for anywhere between five and 30 years and result in fines that reach into the tens of thousands of dollars, making it extremely important that those accused consult with a West Palm Beach DUI lawyer.
All DUI convictions, whether misdemeanor or felony can also generate ripple effects that include job loss, financial devastation, permanent social stigma, professional licensing consequences and all of the other negative effects a criminal record can bring.
What Impact Does a DUI Have on a CDL?
When a person obtains a CDL, they are immediately held to a higher standard in comparison to other drivers. As a result, a DUI could result in the immediate loss of CDL privileges. A CDL holder could even lose their license if they were driving their own vehicle while they were under the influence. Depending on the circumstances of the person charged, they may not be able to get their CDL back, potentially affecting their current and future employment. However, typically for first offense DUI cases, the CDL holder may be able to get their CDL back after one year of suspension by reapplying for the license.
Fighting a DUI Charge
For many who face a DUI charge in Florida, it may initially seem as though all hope of success in court is lost. However, there are a number of strategies and tactics that a skilled attorney may be able to employ, including:
- Attacking the legality of the initial traffic stop and search
- Questioning the accuracy of alcohol test administration and reporting
- Raising the defendant’s existing medical conditions as reasons to doubt sobriety test results
- Casting doubt on the propriety of police evidence handling techniques
- Challenging the truth and veracity of the Police Officer’s opinion that the Client was impaired at the time of the arrest
For any of the above techniques to be effective in a DUI case, it is necessary for an experienced legal practitioner to delve into the details of the arrest, carefully analyze the evidence offered by law enforcement in support of conviction and exploit all vulnerabilities in the State’s arguments.
As is true in all criminal matters, the sooner this process can begin, the better the chances of securing a favorable outcome.
Mitigating the Impact of DUI Charges
While every DUI case is different, and it is impossible to guarantee that a specific result can be obtained, a seasoned West Palm Beach DUI attorney will work diligently to minimize the potential effect of a drunk driving charge on each client’s life and livelihood.
Where possible, every effort will be made to have charges reduced or perhaps even dismissed altogether. If that does not prove achievable, plea agreements aimed at mitigating sanctions and eligibility for pre-trial diversion programs will be thoroughly explored and pursued.
Contact a West Palm Beach DUI Attorney Today
For anyone accused of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Florida, the stakes could hardly be higher.
If you are in the midst of such a situation, the present and future harm a conviction is sure to inflict not just on you, but also on your loved ones must not be ignored. You owe it to yourself to secure the knowledgeable help and unwavering advocacy only a West Palm Beach DUI lawyer can provide.