Clearwater DUI Lawyers
Clearwater DUI lawyers at Musca Law have handled thousands of driving under the influence cases. People charged with DUI in the Clearwater, Florida should take these charges seriously because a conviction can have lasting negative consequences on their life. This could affect a person’s ability to obtain a job, student loan, or housing. The best advice according to our attorneys is to contact a dedicated Clearwater DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. Contact our DUI defense attorneys in Clearwater, Florida today by calling 800.687.2252 and schedule a confidential, no-cost case review.
Driving Under the Influence in Clearwater (DUI) [Florida Statute 316.193]
According to Florida Statutes Section 316.193, driving under the influence charges depend on several different factors including:
- Blood alcohol concentration. For a DUI in Clearwater, this typically is a BAC of .08 percent or more.
- A person was impaired to some degree as a result of alcohol and/or drugs. Whether the person was operating or in physical control of a vehicle. What this means is the person does not necessarily need to be driving a vehicle to be charged with DUI, just be in physical control, or have the ability to drive the vehicle.
- Whether anyone was seriously injured or killed.
- Whether any property damage resulted from the DUI.
- Whether there have any prior DUI convictions.
DUI Penalties in Clearwater, FL
Clearwater DUI defense attorneys at Musca Law have determined that under Florida law, an individual can face severe penalties even for a first-time DUI offense. In addition to criminal penalties such as jail time and hefty fines, people are also subject to DMV administrative penalties and other personal and financial collateral consequences including professional licensure discipline, loss of a job, and immigration issues. Some other consequences of a DUI conviction might include:
- Impoundment of the vehicle.
- Suspension of driving privileges.
- Installation of an ignition interlock device.
- Community service.
- Completion of a substance abuse class.
If there is a previous DUI conviction and the person receives another within five years of the first offense, they can be subject to harsher penalties. With a second DUI offense in five years, there is a mandatory minimum of ten days of jail time. Depending on whether the case has any aggravating factors such as a high BAC or there was a child in the vehicle at the time of the offense, a second DUI conviction can mean jail time for up to a year and fines of up to $2,000. Penalties for a second DUI offense can also include the suspension of driving privileges, installation of an ignition interlock device, completion of a substance abuse class, and probation.
Felony DUI Defense Lawyers in Clearwater, Florida
DUI defense attorneys at Musca Law have extensive experience handling felony DUI cases. Typically, DUI offenses in Clearwater are considered misdemeanors but a person can face felony charges even if it is their first DUI offense. In Clearwater Florida, a person can be charged with felony DUI if:
- It is the third DUI in a five-year period
- It is the fourth or subsequent DUI offense
- Someone is seriously injured as a result of the DUI
- Someone is fatally injured as a result of the DUI
A third-degree felony DUI conviction can result in a jail sentence of up to five years and a $5,000 fine. A person can also be labeled a Habitual Traffic Offender meaning the driver’s license can be suspended for five years.
DUI Defense Attorneys for Manslaughter in Clearwater
In Clearwater Florida, a person can also be charged with DUI manslaughter if they were driving under the influence and someone else dies as a result. DUI manslaughter is a second-degree felony, where penalties include up to fifteen years in prison and a $10,000 fine. If the person leaves the scene of a DUI manslaughter they can be charged with a first-degree felony. If they are convicted of first-degree felony DUI manslaughter they can face jail time of up to thirty years and a fine of up to $10,000.
BUI Defense Lawyers in Clearwater, Florida
In Clearwater Florida, not only can a person be charged with driving under the influence, but they can face criminal charges if they are found to be operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Experienced BUI defense attorneys in Clearwater at Musca Law have determined that according to Section 327.35 of the Florida Statutes, a person can be convicted of boating under the influence if it can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that they were operating a vessel while impaired by or under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of the two. The penalties for even a first-time BUI conviction can include up to six months in jail and significant fines, and the punishment can be harsher depending on the facts and circumstances of the case and the person’s criminal record.
Driving Under the Influence with Actual Physical Control in Florida
Cases of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol may be charged and prosecuted even when the person who was charged with the crime was not even driving the car. The theory of “actual physical control” is one of the most complex factors in Florida DUI cases. It is critical to your case that you grasp the concept of actual physical control. Police and officers of the court usually dub these cases as parking while impaired.
What could possibly happen if a police officer making his rounds noticed you just sitting in your vehicle? In a very finite number of circumstances, the police officer can legitimately request that you step out of your car so that he may conduct a DUI investigation even if he never witnessed you driving. In spite of the fact that these incidents are common, the state generally has a harder time establishing these cases during a trial. Motions to suppress and exclude evidence because of unlawful detainment are far more common.
Commercial Vehicle DUI
Obviously, any type of DUI charge comes with severe criminal penalties. When a DUI charged is leveled against a CDL driver or against a commercial vehicle, it comes with extra penalties. A DUI defense attorney in the Clearwater area will be able to help you fight to save your job.
When someone who is in possession of a commercial driver license is arrested for a DUI or other drug-related offense or alcohol-related offense, there are some pressing results that begin to take place immediately. It is vital that you are aware of your rights and what steps you can take in order to safeguard yourself from the harsh penalties. A commercial DUI attorney at Musca Law can help you in this situation.
The Clearwater DUI attorneys here at Musca Law have years of practice in defending clients who are up against commercial DUI charges. We appreciate that keeping your driving privileges intact and your CDL license valid for use is important. We can assist you when it comes to remaining employed in your preferred line of work. The committed Florida DUI attorneys at Musca Law will strive to achieve the best attainable result for your case.
Culpable Negligence is a type of behavior that displays a thoughtless disregard for the life or the overall safety of another person. Culpable negligence can be established when someone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol gets behind the wheel without any concern for the fact that their capacity to safely operate a motor vehicle is impaired.
Proving culpable negligence entails proving more than the basic failure to use ordinary care for another. During the sequence of behavior, it must be proven that the accused acted with malice or recklessness by casually dismissing the well-being and safety of the public or a disregard for the safety of persons exposed to the hazardous effects of driving under the influence on human life.
Under Florida state laws, the crime of culpable negligence is made up of two distinct elements:
- The accused perpetrated an act which either caused actual personal injury on the victim or endangered the victim to personal injury, even if no concrete injury occurred
- The accused did this through the act of culpable negligence
Penalties for Culpable Negligence
Florida’s laws regarding culpable negligence allow for criminal penalties when a person’s behavior escalates to the level of culpable negligence. Very much like Florida’s reckless driving statute, there is no requirement to prove any intent to harm another. These kinds of cases are tough to prosecute because the state must prove the accused’s frame of mind in acting or in failing to act.
According to Florida law, culpable negligence can be tried as a second-degree misdemeanor, which carries a punishment of as long as 60 days in county jail and a fine of as much as $500. Culpable negligence can also be tried as a first-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by as long as one year in county jail and a fine of as much as $1,000.
In more aggravated instances, the charge might be classified as a third-degree felony, which is punishable by as long as five years in the state penitentiary and a fine of as much as $5,000. For instance, if the defendant keeps or leaves a gun within easy reach of a child, and the child gets a hold of the gun and manages to injure or kill himself or another person, then culpable negligence would be tried as a third-degree felony.
Civil Negligence vs Culpable Negligence
Civil negligence, which is used in Florida’s civil cases, is different from culpable negligence. Culpable negligence has to demonstrate that there was a lack of concern for the welfare, rights, or safety of another person. This means that someone behaved in such a way that obviously had the potential to inflict harm on another human being but they chose to ignore the potential outcome. No proof of any intent to cause harm is necessary when you are being charged with culpable negligence.
In civil cases, however, negligence charges are required to demonstrate that a person did not act with reasonable care in the service of other people. If someone declines to act prudently in the consideration of their duty towards others, then civil liability may be forced.
Am I Going to Have a Criminal Record?
Driving a car while you are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is regarded as a crime in the state of Florida. You may be charged with a misdemeanor DUI or maybe with felony DUI if the judge determines that you are a repeat offender. Your felony or misdemeanor conviction will be exposed on your criminal record, just as it would with any other criminal conviction.
There are some changes, however, in specific cases where it might be probable to have your charges decreased to something less serious or for you to willingly enter a first-time DUI offender class, which will allow you to avoid having a criminal record for the rest of your life, so long as you abide by specific requirements that will be placed on you by the courts. The DUI defense attorneys at Musca Law will represent anyone who has been charged with a DUI in Clearwater, Florida and we will help you to determine which of these options may be the best one for you and will begin to draft a defense in case we go to trial.
How Can a DUI Attorney Help Me?
Retaining legal counsel to help you challenge your DUI charges is surely the best way to take control of your circumstances. Your Florida DUI attorney will be able to fully apprise you of your legal rights and appraise your case in order to give you precise details on the best way for you to progress if you wish to have your charges dropped, or avoid some of the more serious consequences of driving under the influence.
Our experienced Clearwater, Florida DUI attorneys are here to see you through this trial and get you the best possible outcome. Any additional questions that you may have can be addressed in our free, no-obligation initial consultation.