Florida’s more than one-hundred-fifty (150) colleges, and universities throughout the state attract not only Florida residents, but also students from across the country and world. Whether the attraction is to the academic curriculum, athletics, acting, or any other specialty or industry, Florida colleges have a lot to offer. All college students – regardless of where they attend school – are on a new path to independence, which brings both rewards and responsibilities. Consuming alcohol may be considered a “reward” to some college students who never had the chance to drink while in high school. Regardless of the legal drinking age of twenty-one (21), many college students will drink between the ages of eighteen and twenty. A “responsibility” that comes along with drinking is avoiding driving while intoxicated.
Teenagers and young adults notorious make mistakes, and making mistakes is a part of growing up. Driving under the influence is certainly an avoidable mistake, but such mistakes do happen for some college students in Florida. One mistake of driving under the influence should not ruin a college student’s future. While some consequences may be warranted – such as probation, counseling, and community service – a college student (especially one with no criminal record) should not be subjected to jail time. Additionally, depending on the severity of the alleged conduct, with the right Florida DUI Defense Lawyer, a DUI charge may be reduced to a much less severe crime that will not have the same stigma and long-term consequences as a DUI conviction.
What You Should Know About DUI Laws in Florida
Under Florida law, driving under the influence (DUI) is a first-degree misdemeanor that is punishable by up to six months in jail for a first DUI conviction and up to nine months in jail for a second DUI conviction. Additionally, if convicted, the defendant faces a fine of up to $1,000. Florida, like most states, has established a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 as the legal limit for getting behind the wheel while intoxicated. As such, if a person’s BAC level is equal to or greater than 0.08, he or she may face a DUI charge. Depending on the prosecutor and judge involved in a DUI case, the defendant may face jail time, probation, fines, community service, the requirement to install in ignition interlock device, and the loss of a driver’s license for at least one year. Such consequences can be harsh for a college student whose alleged DUI offense is not severe.
Felony DUIs Under Florida Law
If a college student has prior DUI convictions (whether in the state of Florida or another state), the consequences of a third or fourth conviction can be disastrous to his or her future. Conviction of a third DUI offense within ten years or conviction of a fourth DUI offense (whether within ten years or not) brands the defendant as a felon. Both offenses are third-degree felonies under Florida law, carrying jail time of up to five years and the imposition of a fine of up to $5,000.
If a college student is charged with driving under the influence and the alleged conduct resulted in an accident that caused another person to sustain serious bodily injuries, the DUI becomes a third-degree felony. Moreover, if an alleged DUI results in an accident that causes another person or unborn child that could live outside the womb (“quick child”) to sustain fatal injuries, the DUI becomes DUI manslaughter, which is a second-degree felony under Florida law. Conviction results in mandatory jail time for at least four years and the sentence could reach a maximum of fifteen years. Also, a conviction results in the imposition of a fine of up to $10,000.
Be Ready Against Tough Prosecutors in a Florida DUI Case
Because prosecutors and judges can be unpredictable, it is essential for any college student facing a DUI charge – whether the charge is a first, second, or subsequent offense – to retain the best Florida DUI Defense Lawyer available to handle the case. A tough attorney can withstand the tactics and aggression of prosecutors, and the right attorney will have excellent negotiating skills to seek a result that is fair to the defendant given the facts of the case. From the time of the arrest to the first court appearance, a qualified Florida DUI Defense Attorney will have a solid plan to help the accused college student get through a very scary and difficult time.
The Long-Lasting Consequences of a DUI Conviction for College Students
A DUI conviction is serious enough for any person, regardless of whether that person is a college student. However, college students are in the process of obtaining an education they plan to apply after graduation to begin a career. One DUI conviction can make it difficult to get a job, obtain credit, rent an apartment, or apply to graduate school. To avoid the harshest penalties allowable under Florida law, college students and/or their parents should seek to work with an attorney who can use all possible means to reach the least severe result possible.
Why You Need a Florida DUI Defense Lawyer Even if You Don’t Live in Florida
Many college students attending school in Florida are not originally from Florida, often going home during winter and summer break. Regardless of where college students permanently reside, if they are facing DUI charges, they will need to retain an experienced Florida DUI Defense Lawyer who handles DUI cases across the entire state. Parents who become aware of their child’s DUI charge must act quickly to find an attorney who can handle the matter on the college student’s behalf. Depending on the nature of the DUI charge, the student may be able to avoid appearing in court during the entire proceeding. Acting quickly to address a Florida DUI charge can prevent a warrant being issued for a college student’s arrest, which would be applicable throughout the country.
At Musca Law, we have nearly thirty locations throughout the state of Florida, many of which are located in college towns. Parents can count on Musca Law to assist a college student’s needs, regardless of where the college student attends school. Not all criminal defense law firms have the resources to reach state-wide clients, but Musca Law can uniquely handle a large caseload for thousands of clients throughout the state.
Contact the Florida DUI Defense Attorneys of Musca Law Today to Protect Your Rights
One mistake does not need to ruin a college student’s future. If you are a college student facing a Florida DUI charge or are the parent of a student facing a Florida DUI charge – regardless of whether you live inside or outside the state of Florida – it is imperative to act quickly to speak with a qualified Florida DUI Defense Lawyer. At Musca Law, our attorneys take all necessary steps to advocate for their clients and protect their clients’ rights. Musca Law represents clients throughout Florida as well as clients facing Florida DUI charges who may live out-of-state. To find out how our Florida DUI Defense Lawyers may be able to help you, contact our office today by calling (888) 484-5057. Our attorneys are available 24/7 to speak with you.