Being charged with driving under the influence (DUI) can be an overwhelming experience, especially if it is your first time. Not only are you potentially facing expensive fines, probation, and a damaged reputation, but your freedom could also be jeopardized. If you were charged with a DUI for the first time, call a West Palm Beach first-offense DUI lawyer.
You should not have to navigate the legal system without help. A qualified attorney knows how to assess the circumstances of your case to get the best result possible for you.
Penalties for First-Offense DUIs
Being convicted of a DUI in West Palm Beach—even if it is your first time—can come with serious penalties that may affect your freedom, finances, and reputation. These penalties can include the suspension of your license, fines, community service, and imprisonment. A knowledgeable West Palm Beach First-Offense DUI Lawyer at Leifert & Leifert could help explain your rights and any possible charges you may face.
License Suspension and Fines
When someone’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 or higher while driving, they could have their license suspended for six months on a first offense. However, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) can take away a driver’s license for one full year if they choose to refuse a chemical breath test.
Most first offense DUIs in West Palm Beach carry fines between $500 and $1,000, depending on the circumstances. However, if someone drove with a blood alcohol level of .15 or higher, or if they drove under the influence with someone under the age of 18 in the vehicle, they may face a larger fine of up to $2,000.
Community Service and Imprisonment
Florida courts are required to order 50 hours of community service, such as manual labor or clerical work, for a first time DUI. In some cases, a court will not require work and instead impose an additional fine of ten dollars for every hour of required service.
Jail time is not mandatory for a first-offense DUI in West Palm Beach. However, if convicted, the court might sentence someone to up to six months in jail. In some cases, such as having a BAC of .15 or more at the time of the offense, a person could receive a sentence of up to nine months. The sentence could be increased further to the maximum sentence of one-year if the DUI resulted in property damage or injuries to another person.
Getting a Hardship License in West Palm Beach
If you have your license suspended, much more than your freedom may be threatened. You may no longer be able to drive to work which can threaten your livelihood. Additionally, you may be unable to travel to medical appointments or take your kids to school. Fortunately, some individuals with a first-time DUI conviction can apply for a hardship license.
Securing a hardship license could allow you to preserve some form of agency while a sentence is carried out. If you have a six-month suspended license, you must wait 30 days to apply. However, if you are facing a yearlong suspension, you will have to wait 90 days in order to become eligible.
Work with a West Palm Beach First-Offense DUI Attorney
Even a first-time DUI offense can lead to serious consequences that not only impact you, but your friends, family, and financial situation. To understand your legal options and possibly fight your charges, enlist the help of a West Palm Beach First-Offense DUI Lawyer. Our team of Leifert & Leifert Attorneys can help to protect your rights and guide you every step of the way. Call us today to for a free initial consultation and case review.