Florida DUI Attorney
Protect Your Rights with Musca Law
Were you arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol and/or drugs? If you are facing charges for one or two counts of this crime, an experienced attorney from Musca Law is waiting to help you create a viable case in court. In the State of Florida, a DUI is considered a serious offense that can result in charges of a 3rd-degree felony and a maximum of $2,000 to $5,000 in fines. Keep in mind that the risk for a DUI crime is raised when an individual’s blood-alcohol content (BAC) peaks at 0.08% or more. If a person is found to be guilty of multiple offenses of DUI, the punishment will worsen. If you need a voice to represent and protect your rights in court, call (888) 484-5057 to speak with a member of Musca Law firm today.
DUI Crimes in Florida
According to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), “driving under the influence” (also known as impaired driving) takes place when a driver attempts to operate a vehicle while he or she is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. At this time, DUI cases account for 25% of motor vehicle fatalities in the State of Florida. DUI offenses may take place after a person consumes one or more of the following substances:
- Illegal substances (like cocaine or heroin)
- Prescription medication (like opioid painkillers or benzodiazepines)
Understanding the Severity of DUI in Florida
As dictated by the Florida Statutes Title XXIII, Chapter 316.1934 (1), it is completely illegal for a person to consume alcoholic beverages or drugs (legal or illegal) to the extent that their judgement and motor control are fully impaired while being in physical control of a motor vehicle along a roadway. Keep in mind that “normal faculties” include:
- Walking and coordination
- Speaking and general comprehension
- Depth perception
- Quick judgement and logic
Committing a DUI Offense in Florida
According to Title XXIII, Chapter 316.193 (1), any person who is guilty of driving under the influence of a potentially addictive or influential substance while in full physical control of a vehicle will be charged with a DUI offense. To be found guilty of a first conviction of DUI, an individual must have:
- Consumed alcohol, illegal drugs, or any other controlled substances that completely impaired his or her judgement and reflexes
- Had a blood-alcohol content (BAC) recording of 0.08% + grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood
- Had a blood-alcohol content (BAC) recording of 0.08% + grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath
Here is a closer look at charges for second, third, and fourth DUI offenses:
- Second offense: the implementation of an ignition interlock device
- Third offense (within 10 years of 2nd violation): found guilty of a 3rd-degree felony
- Third offense (after 10 years of 2nd violation): fine and mandatory placement
- Fourth or more offenses: found guilty of a 3rd-degree felony
Many of our clients run into trouble at inconvenient times. That’s why we’re available 24/7. Call Musca Law today at (888) 484-5057 for more information about your case!
Details Surrounding DUI Manslaughter
In severe cases, DUI accidents can inflict severe injuries to victims or (in worst-case scenarios) kill other drivers (as well as passengers or pedestrians). According to FS Title XXIII, Chapter 316.93 (3), in the event that a person was driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and caused an accident that resulted in the death of one or more victims (or unborn children), he or she will be charged with DUI manslaughter, resulting in a charge of 1st or 2nd-degree felonies and the required 4-year imprisonment.
Measuring Blood-Alcohol Content for DUI Cases
As revealed in FS Title XXIII, Chapter 319.1934 (2), officers will determine the potential charges for DUI (excluding charges for manslaughter) based on the levels of alcohol (BAC) in the suspect’s blood during a subsequent test:
- 0.05% BAC or lower: no consideration of a DUI offense
- Above 0.05% BAC but below 0.08% BAC: questionable situation
- 0.8% BAC or greater: a cause for concern
Each chemical analysis performed to test the blood-alcohol content of a suspect must be performed via methods that have been fully approved by the Department of Law Enforcement and must be conducted by an individual who the department has licensed to carry out these procedures. Viable details of the test (including BAC and additional readings) may be held as viable evidence in court.
Refusing to Participate in a Test for a DUI
As dictated by FS Title XXIII, Chapter 316.1939 (1), any individual who refuses to take part in a test that analyzes his or her breath, blood, or urine (and who was recently charged for a past refusal to conduct the same procedure) will be charged with a 1st-degree misdemeanor and a subsequent fine of $1,000. Suspects will also face charges if they:
- Had been operating the vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Had already been arrested for a violation of previous charges of DUI
- Had (at that moment) been warned that the authorities would suspend his or her right to operate a motor vehicle for a period of 1 year (or 18 months for the 2nd offense)
- Had been warned that his or her behavior would also result in charges of a misdemeanor
- Had been warned that punishment would ensue
Revoking a Driver’s License in Florida
As indicated in the Florida Statutes, Title XXIII, Chapter 322.26 (1-a), the department will revoke a suspect’s driver’s license (or privilege to drive) if the person has been convicted of murder due to the suspect’s operation of a vehicle while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Keep in mind that the situation also calls for a subsequent DUI conviction. In the case of DUI manslaughter, the culprit’s license will be permanently revoked.
Engaging the Ignition Interlock Device on Vehicles in Florida
Based on rules listed in the FS Title XXIII, Chapter 322.2715, the department will require an approved placement of an interlock device on vehicles used by a person who has been convicted of a DUI (excluding people who suffer from a medical condition that would inhibit the device). Jointly-owned vehicles will still receive interlock devices. If the court does not approve the placement of an ignition interlock device within a period of 30 days following a sentence, the department is required to order the device to be placed on the vehicle(s) in question.
Defining an Ignition Interlock Device
As the name suggests, an ignition interlock device is a breath-measuring instrument that is connected (via wire) to a vehicle’s dashboard, along with a GPS device and a camera. Before the driver can start the vehicle, he or she must breath into the interlock device, which will subsequently measure the person’s blood-alcohol content. If the device detects a BAC that is higher than 0.2%, it will prevent the vehicle from starting. Also, at various times after the vehicle has started, the ignition interlock device will require additional breath tests from the driver. If no measurements are provided, the driver will receive warnings. However, for the safety of the motorist, the device will not shut off the vehicle if he or she does not comply with the rules.
Determination of a Valid DUI Case by a Criminal Jury
As indicated by the Florida Statutes, Title XXIII, Chapter 316.193 (1) and the instructions laid out for members of a Criminal Jury highlighted in Case 28.1, members of the court must prove (without any doubt) that:
- The defendant had been driving a vehicle or was physically in control of that vehicle.
- The defendant had been operating a vehicle while he or she was under the influence of drugs or alcohol to an extent that all motor capabilities and judgement were impaired and had a blood-alcohol measurement of 0.08% grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood (210 liters of breath).
If the court determines the victim to be guilty of a DUI offense, the court must prove (without any doubt) that:
- The defendant had a blood-alcohol measurement of 0.15% grams of alcohol while they had been operating the vehicle.
- The defendant had been accompanied by a passenger who was under 18 years of age.
Grounds for Defense in a DUI Case in Florida
A person may have grounds for a defense if, during the time of the reputed DUI offense, the vehicle in question was not working properly and was inoperable. However, this defense will be meaningless if the defendant was driving prior to the conviction.
Penalties for Committing a DUI Offense in Florida
Under the Florida Statutes Title XXIII, Chapter 316.193 (2), an individual who is found guilty of committing a first-time DUI offense (while in full control of the vehicle) and found to have a blood alcohol content of 0.8% grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood (or 210 liters of blood) will face a fine of at least $500 and at most $1,000 and a prison time of no more than 6 months. Individuals who commit a second DUI violation will potentially face a fine of $1,000 to $2,000 and imprisonment for a period no longer than 9 months. Likewise, an ignition interlock device will be placed on all vehicles owned and operated by the culprit for no longer than 1 year. Ultimately, punishment for third DUI violations can go one of two ways:
- For individuals who commit a 3rd offense within the time span of 10 years after a 2nd conviction, he or she will be convicted of committing a 3rd-degree felony (as indicated in FS Title XLVI, Chapter 775.083 (1-c), which will result in a $5,000 fine and the placement of a mandatory ignition interlock placed on his or her vehicle(s) for 2 years.
- For individuals who commit a 3rd offense within the time span of 10 years following a 2nd DUI conviction, he or she will be fined $2,000 to $5,000 and be imprisoned for 1 year at maximum. Additionally, ignition interlock devices will be placed on all vehicles for a period of at least 2 years.
Individuals who commit a fourth DUI violation (or subsequent offenses), regardless of any prior charges, will be found guilty of committing a 3rd-degree felony, resulting in a $5,000 fine and the placement of an ignition interlock device.
Having a BAC Measurement of 0.15% of Higher
Also indicated in Title XXIII, Chapter 316.193 (4), any person who is found guilty of a DUI and has a blood-alcohol content (BAC) measurement of 0.15% or higher will face more serious charges:
- 1st-time DUI: $1,000 to $2,000 fine
- 2nd-time DUI: $2,000 to $4,000 fine
- 3rd-time DUI (or more): $3,000 fine (at least)
Besides the mandatory placement of an ignition interlock device, individuals will also be enrolled in a reporting probation program (monthly reports) and a substance abuse course through a DUI program (including psychosocial evaluations).
Arrested for DUI in Florida? Choose Musca Law.
Being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol and/or drugs in Florida can be a confusing, intimidating, and demanding experience. From having an officer pull you over to feeling the handcuffs on your wrists, you’ve found yourself in a nightmare that you can’t seem to wake up from.
Fortunately, there is legal help available to ensure that your rights are effectively and aggressively defended so you can stay out of jail, keep your license, and avoid paying steep fines. If the charges against you aren’t dropped, it is possible that your charges may be reduced to help lower the potential financial, logistical, and psychological consequences you face.
Whether you yourself have been arrested for a DUI or you’re helping a loved one or friend who is in this situation, it is extremely important to access as much legal information and counsel as possible at this time. Fully understanding your legal rights and how to successfully defend against a DUI is extremely important. At Musca Law, our Florida DUI lawyers have years of experience successfully handling criminal hearings and DUI formal administrative review hearings to help our clients keep their driving privileges and save their reputation. We are familiar with the common lapses that take place in arrest procedures, as well as breath and chemical testing errors that all too often take place. In fact, we are certified in Breathalyzer Operation and can pinpoint mistakes in that area to help defend your rights. Don’t hesitate to call our office to schedule a free, no-obligation, and confidential consultation with one of our experienced attorneys today.
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