Facing driving under the influence (DUI) charges can be a complicated and sensitive matter that could hurt your reputation and job and affect your future. When facing DUI charges in Florida, you should not take them lightly. With your reputation, employment, and freedom on the line, you should do whatever it takes to fight against the charges and enlist the support of a Port Charlotte DUI lawyer.
Just because you have been charged with DUI does not necessarily mean you will be convicted. The DUI charges attorneys at Ruhl & Lux, P.A. can help you build a strong case and identify the greatest possible defense strategy based on the facts of your DUI arrest. With an office in Port Charlotte, Florida, the attorneys at Ruhl & Lux, P.A. also represent clients in Sarasota and Desoto county.
Florida law has multiple DUI charges for those arrested for driving or having physical control of a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs. In Florida, you can face DUI charges for:
The legal limit of .08% applies to the vast majority of adult drivers in Florida. However, the legal limit for drivers of commercial vehicles is .04%. Underage drivers are prohibited from driving with a BAC level of .02% or more.
In other words, you can face a DUI conviction in Florida even if your BAC is below the legal limit. That is because law enforcement in Florida can arrest you for DUI if they have probable cause to believe that your normal mental or physical faculties are impaired by alcohol, drugs, or any controlled substance.
Many drivers on Florida’s roads do not understand their rights pertaining to DUI tests and, specifically, field sobriety tests. Field sobriety tests (FSTs) are a series of tests performed by officers to evaluate a driver’s level of impairment. FSTs help law enforcement decide whether or not a driver should be arrested and taken into custody.
However, field sobriety tests are very subjective and are not the most accurate way of determining impairment. In most cases, field sobriety tests are voluntary, though the police may make it sound as if you are required by law to take these tests. When asked to take a field sobriety test, drivers in Florida have a right to decline without facing any penalties. The same principles do not apply to chemical tests, which are mandatory under Florida’s implied consent law.
Refusing a chemical test, such as a breathalyzer, will result in the immediate suspension of your driver’s license. In addition, your refusal will most likely be used as evidence against you in your DUI case. However, even if you took a field sobriety or chemical test, it might still be possible to challenge the results of the test with the help of a DUI charges attorney in Port Charlotte, Florida.
The penalties for a DUI conviction vary greatly depending on multiple factors, including the severity of the offense and the number of prior DUI convictions, if any.
When no enhanced penalties apply, drivers convicted of DUI in Florida can face from up to six months in jail for a first conviction to a maximum sentence of five years for a fourth or subsequent conviction, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV).
Fines, impoundment, ignition interlock device, and driver’s license suspension also vary depending on the number of prior convictions and the severity of the offense. In Florida, penalties for a DUI conviction can be imposed by the state’s DHSMV and the criminal court. The DHSMV can require a motorist to have an ignition interlock device installed and suspend/revoke the driver’s license, while the criminal court can issue a sentence for:
Enhanced penalties may apply when your DUI results in property damage, bodily injury, or death, when driving with a minor in the car, and when operating a vehicle with a BAC level of .15% or greater.
Just because you are facing DUI charges does not necessarily mean that you will be convicted. You may still have a chance to have your charges reduced or dismissed with the help of a skilled DUI charges attorney. However, this will require you and your attorney to develop a defense strategy. When defending against drunk driving charges, you can challenge:
The DUI charges attorneys at Ruhl & Lux, P.A. can help you explore every possible defense option to obtain the most favorable outcome possible. Contact us today to schedule a consultation. Serving clients in Charlotte, Sarasota, or Desoto Counties. Call 941-505-7845 or 855-784-5529 today.