Statistics provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report that more than 800 people died in drunk driving-related auto accidents in the State of Florida in 2018. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study, there was a 3.6% decrease in motor vehicle deaths caused by drunk drivers throughout the United States. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement published a report that states there were almost 32,200 driving under the influence (DUI) arrests in the State of Florida in 2018. Drunk driver-related accidents remain the most significant hazard on Florida roads and across the United States.
Since DUI related accidents are 100% preventable and destroy so many lives, law enforcement and Florida prosecutors take DUI offenses seriously. Florida has some of the most severe punishments for those convicted of committing any DUI-related crime. In some cases, a defendant in a first DUI offense might avoid lengthy jail time. However, a defendant facing more grave DUI charges, such as DUI manslaughter or felony DUI will be serving time in jail following a conviction.
First and Second Offense DUI in the State of Florida
According to Florida law, it is unlawful to drive and/or control a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In the State of Florida, the legal blood-alcohol content (BAC) limit is 0.08%. This means is that should a driver´s BAC is 0.08% or higher, the driver is in violation of the law and will likely be arrested for driving under the influence. In the State of Florida, a simple first time DUI is a first-degree misdemeanor. If the driver is convicted of their first DUI offense, he or she could receive up to six months in jail and be ordered to pay a $1,000 fine. If a driver is arrested for their second DUI in the State of Florida, the driver is facing up to nine months in jail and up to a $2,000 fine. A second DUI offense is also a misdemeanor in the first-degree.
Aggravated Felony DUI Charges in Florida
If a driver is arrested for DUI and the driver has two other DUI convictions on his or her record, the driver could face a felony charge. For example, if a driver is convicted for his or her 3rd DUI within ten years of his or her second DUI conviction, the DUI will become a third-degree felony. According to Florida law, a third-degree felony is punished with a fine of up to $5,000, and up to five years in prison. If the driver is convicted for a fourth DUI, the crime is will be charge becomes a third-degree felony. If the driver is over the legal limit and is involved in a motor vehicle accident resulting in injury bodily injury to someone else, the driver could be charged with a third-degree felony. In Florida, all felony DUI convictions are punished with prison.
DUI Manslaughter Charges in Florida
The most serious DUI charge, according to Florida DUI law, is DUI manslaughter. A driver is charged DUI Manslaughter when the driver, while intoxicated, causes an accident that results in the death of another person, or an unborn child who would be viable outside the womb (also known as a “quick child”). DUI Manslaughter is classified as a second-degree felony under Florida law and carries a prison sentence of up to fifteen years and a fine of up to $10,000. One difference between felony DUIs and a DUI Manslaughter offense is the mandatory minimum. In other words, if someone is convicted of DUI Manslaughter, the judge must sentence the driver to a minimum of four years in prison.
How Do You Successfully Defend Yourself Against a Florida Felony DUI Charge?
DUI charges are severely punished in the State of Florida, especially felony DUI charges. However, the DUI arrest process is complex, and defendants have a good chance of beating their charge should they retain a private, highly trained Florida DUI Defense Attorney. A lot of public defenders are hardworking attorneys, however public defenders have limited time and limited financial resources to work hard on each of the 100s of DUI and criminal defense cases they manage. If you want the best shot at avoiding the severe consequences of a DUI conviction, contact the Florida DUI Defense Lawyers at Musca Law. Our firm has abundant resources to defend our clients vigorously. Musca Law has an army of experienced lawyers and paralegals who are ready to defend your case. Our firm has access to top defense experts. Musca Law has built a good reputation for having a great relationship with prosecutors and judges. DUI defendants in Florida are at far more significant advantage fighting their DUI charges with Musca Law by their side.
One of the essential strategies in defending yourself against a Florida DUI charge is to take action and retain an experienced DUI defense lawyer as quickly as possible. Other action items to help win your DUI case include:
- Assessing the location where the offender was pulled over by law enforcement for allegedly driving under the influence;
- Taking photos of the scene of a crash if the defendant´s case involves a motor vehicle accident;
- Speaking with an attorney before speaking with the police;
- Having a DUI attorney present during any interviews by police officers or detectives;
- Having an attorney review the arrest report and any other files and test results pertinent to the DUI arrest;
- Having the defense lawyer review the defendant’s criminal history as any previous DUI convictions will shape the defense strategy; and
- Having the attorney explain to the defendant the process and next steps in the case.
A charge of felony aggravated DUI is extremely serious, and without a qualified Florida DUI Defense Attorney by your side, you or your loved one might be at risk of serving many years in prison, thousands of dollars in fines, and permanent loss of driving privileges. Fighting felony DUI charges without the assistance of a highly trained DUI attorney is an error that many people lament over for years after a conviction, and their lives are forever changed.
Contact our Florida DUI Defense Attorneys Today to Learn About Your Rights and Your Legal Options
At Musca Law, our firm routinely handles serious criminal cases, DUI cases, felony DUI cases. Our firm has a track record of assisting clients who need the best possible result in their given situation. Our attorneys are available 24/7 to take your call. To receive your initial consultation by calling (888) 484-5057.