Driving & Driving
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a fairly common crime in Florida, and a crime that is taken very seriously given how dangerous drinking and driving can be. Regardless of what your blood-alcohol content (BAC) was at the time you were arrested, you face potentially harsh consequences, both in terms of criminal punishment and the loss of your driver’s license. Tampa DUI Defense Attorney Marc A. Joseph, P.A. handles DUI charges on a regular basis, and knows what to expect with any given DUI charge. No matter how minor or serious your DUI is, Marc A. Joseph, P.A. has the experience and drive to provide you with the best legal representation possible. Without a strong advocate by your side, you may not be able to minimize the negative impact a DUI conviction would have on your life.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Florida
Under Florida law, as in most states, the legal BAC limit for most drivers is .08%. The legal limit for minors under the age of twenty-one (21) is .02%, and the legal limit for commercial drivers is .04%. Upon being arrested and facing DUI charges, you have ten (10) days to address the suspension of your Florida driver’s license. If arrested for driving under the influence, you face automatic suspension of your driver’s license for a certain period of time if you do not act within the 10-day period. Your options during this period of time are to (1) waive the appeal of the decision to suspend your driver’s license, or (2) fight the suspension of your driver’s license.
If you have been charged with driving under the influence for the first time, and you waive your right to appeal the decision to suspend your driver’s license within 10 days of your arrest, you may be granted a hardship driver’s license that is good for a certain period of time. This hardship driver’s license will allow you to drive to work, school, religious functions, and any other travel that is necessary to fulfill life’s daily needs. However, if you do not act within 10 days of arrest, you will not be able to obtain the hardship driver’s license. If your pending DUI charge is not your first, you may not have the option of obtaining a hardship license.
To ensure you are taking all steps possible to fight your DUI charge in Florida, you should act quickly once you have been charged with driving under the influence. With the assistance of a seasoned Tampa DUI Defense Attorney like Marc A. Joseph, P.A., you may be able to continue driving with some sort of restricted driver’s license depending on the individual circumstances of your DUI charge.
Consequences of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Florida
Driving under the influence in Florida is considered a misdemeanor for a first and second offense. If you are charged with driving under the influence and already have two DUIs on your record, the third offense is considered a third degree felony if it is committed within ten years from your previous DUI conviction. If the third DUI occurs after the ten year period, it is considered a misdemeanor. If your particular DUI charge involves serious bodily injury to another individual or death, the DUI charge may be considered either a first or second degree felony, depending on the facts of your case.
Regardless of whether your DUI charge is your first or is a subsequent DUI charge, you will be required to have an interlock ignition device on your vehicle if you are ultimately convicted or plead guilty. The range in penalties for being convicted of driving under the influence or pleading guilty in the state of Florida are as follows:
- First Offense – 6 months in jail if your BAC is between .08% and .14%, and not more than 9 months in jail if your BAC is .15% or greater, the imposition of fines between $500 and $2,000, and the suspension of your driver’s license for 180 days to one year;
- Second Offense – between 9 months and one year in jail, the imposition of fines between $1,000 and $4,000, and the suspension of your driver’s license for up to five years; and
- Third Offense – not more than one year in jail, the imposition of fines between $2,000 and $5,000, and the suspension of your driver’s license for up to ten years.
It is important to remember that the above-listed Tampa DUI penalties are what is allowed under Florida law, and are not all of them are mandatory penalties, as it is possible that your attorney and the charging prosecutor will be able to reach an agreement so that you avoid jail time and the imposition of significant fines. Further, if there are extenuating circumstances surrounding your DUI charge, such as the serious injury or death of either a passenger, other driver, pedestrian, or any other individual, the consequences may be much more severe as you could be facing a felony charge.
Why a Tampa DUI Lawyer is Crucial
There are a variety of ways in which an attorney can help you face your DUI charge. Tampa DUI Defense Attorney Marc A. Joseph, P.A. will explain each and every potential outcome to your case depending on what steps you decide to take. First, if Marc A. Joseph, P.A. believes your constitutional rights have been violated in the course of your arrest and booking or believes there is simply insufficient evidence to find you guilty, there may be grounds to have the DUI charge dismissed. Second, if your DUI charge cannot be dismissed, Marc A. Joseph, P.A. will seek to resolve the DUI charge by negotiating a fair result with the charging prosecutor, especially if this is your first DUI charge. You will likely be able to avoid jail time and will be able to regain full driving privileges after the suspension period. Even if you are facing a subsequent DUI charge, Marc A. Joseph, P.A. will do everything he possibly can to keep you out of jail.
Contact Tampa DUI Defense Attorney Marc A. Joseph, P.A. Today for a Free Consultation
Driving under the influence (DUI) in Florida has a number of consequences that could haunt you for years to come. Whether you are facing your first DUI charge or have more than one DUI on your record, you need excellent legal representation in order to reach a result that will keep you out of jail. Because DUIs are taken so seriously in Florida, you should contact a skilled Tampa DUI Defense Attorney as soon as possible following arrest. Tampa DUI Defense Attorney Marc A. Joseph, P.A. has more than 18 years of experience helping his clients face and overcome DUI charges in Florida. While the potential consequences of being convicted of driving under the influence are frightening, you may be able avoid such harsh consequences with the help of Marc A. Joseph, P.A. and his legal team. Available 24/7 to answer your questions and address your concerns, Tampa DUI Defense Attorney Marc A. Joseph, P.A. provides all of his clients with the individualized attention and counsel that they deserve.
To schedule your free consultation with Marc A. Joseph, P.A., contact our office today by calling (813)234-6374.