Key West DUI Lawyers
Musca Law has been handling DUI defense in Key West for decades and we have lawyers who advise people charged with DUI every day. DUI charges should be taken seriously as a conviction can have lasting negative consequences. Accordingly, if someone has been arrested and charged with DUI in Key West or the surrounding area, they should be sure to consult with an experienced Key West DUI Defense Attorney in order to protect their legal rights. At our firm, our legal professionals have extensive experience helping clients craft effective defenses against their DUI charges, including:
- DUI First Offense
- DUI Second Offense
- Third, Fourth, or Subsequent DUI
- Underage DUI
- Felony DUI
- DUI Manslaughter
- Drug-Related DUI
- Commercial Driver’s License DUI
- Boating Under the Influence (BUI)
A DUI conviction in Key West Florida can mean large fines, jail time, and suspension of a person’s driving privileges among other adverse consequences.
DUI Attorneys in Key West – Driving Under the Influence (DUI) [Florida Statute 316.193
Florida Statutes Section 316.193 governs driving under the influence offenses in Key West Florida. According to the law, someone can be charged with DUI if certain factors and circumstances exist. For instance, whether they are arrested and charged with DUI can depend on:
- Whether the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 percent or more.
- Whether they were are impaired to a degree by alcohol and/or drugs.
- Whether they are driving or in physical control of a vehicle at the time of the offense.
- Whether another individual was seriously injured or killed as a result of the offense.
- Whether property damage was a result of the offense.
- Whether there are any prior DUI convictions on your criminal record.
DUI Penalties Explained by Our Drunk Driving Defense Attorneys in Key West, Florida
The penalties associated with a DUI conviction in Key West Florida can include jail time and fines, and the DMV can administratively suspend driving privileges. Some other consequences that an individual may face as a result of a DUI conviction are:
- The completion of a certain number of hours of community service.
- The completion of a substance abuse course.
- Mandatory use of an ignition interlock device.
- A period of time on probation.
- Impoundment of the vehicle involved for ten days.
DUI Convictions in Key West, FL
A DUI conviction on the criminal record can also adversely affect someone’s ability to do certain everyday tasks such as renting an apartment, getting a job, or obtaining student financial aid.
A second DUI conviction within the five years of your first offense can mean even harsher penalties, including a mandatory minimum jail sentence of ten days. If there are certain aggravating factors present such as a high blood alcohol concentration or a minor was in the vehicle at the time of the offense, they may be subject to more serious penalties, including any punishment that an individual might receive for a felony DUI.
Felony Drunk Driving Attorneys in Key West, Fl
DUIs in Key West are generally considered misdemeanor offenses. Our experienced attorneys want people to know that in some instances people can be charged with a felony offense. An individual can be charged with a felony DUI if:
- The offense is the third DUI within five years;
- The offense is the fourth or subsequent DUI;
- The offense either severely or fatally injures someone else.
A felony DUI in Key West is usually considered a third-degree felony, but there are some circumstances where it might be elevated to a second or first-degree felony. DUI manslaughter is a second-degree felony, and an individual can be charged with DUI manslaughter if another individual is killed as a result of the DUI offense. If the person left the scene of a DUI manslaughter accident, they can be charged with a first-degree felony where a conviction can mean up to thirty years in prison.
BUI – Key West Boating Under the Influence Attorneys
Under Florida law which applies to Key West, if someone operates a boat or vessel while drunk, they can be charged with the offense of Boating Under the Influence (BUI). Section 327.35 of the Florida Statutes sets forth the elements and penalties associated with a BUI offense. If convicted of BUI in Key West Florida, someone can receive a jail sentence of up to six months if it is their first offense. Depending on whether they’ve been charged with BUI previously, or if aggravating factors are present, the penalties can be more serious.
No Cost DUI or BUI Defense Case Review in Key West, Florida
If someone is facing DUI or BUI charges in Key West, Florida, they can contact our law office to discuss the legal matter with one of our experienced Key West DUI Defense Lawyers right away. Our law firm has over 150 years of combined criminal defense practice experience handling DUI and BUI cases in Key West and throughout the state of Florida. For a no-cost review, contact us at 800.687.2252 to receive your no cost and confidential case evaluation.
Use of Breathalyzers in Key West DUI Cases
A breathalyzer is a computerized machine that has embedded software which is designed to determine whether or not a person has alcohol in their system, and if they do, how high the concentration is.
Breathalyzers are regularly used by Key West law enforcement officers in order to gauge a person’s blood alcohol level in the event that they have been presumed to be driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you would like more information regarding the use of breathalyzers in Key West drunk driving cases, then you should speak with an experienced drunk driving attorney who will know how to not only address your specific concerns but begin building a defense for your DUI case as well.
Breathalyzer Use and Key West Police Officers
The lawmakers for the state of Florida have decided that a blood alcohol level of .08% or higher renders you too intoxicated to drive as far as legal standards go. After you have have been pulled over and subjected to a breathalyzer test, Key West police officers will then use that samples to when they attempt to prosecute you for driving under the influence in court and file for the administrative suspension of your Florida driver’s license via the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
Currently, the only approved breathalyzer device in the state of Florida is the Intoxilyzer 8000. This version of the device has been employed for almost twenty years here in Florida, but the possibility of new technologies is always looming over us, as well as incentives such as manufacturers extending lower prices, can very well result in the use of a different non-sanctioned device being used to determine your blood alcohol levels at the time of your arrest.
I Was in a Parked Car and Still Charged With a DUI
Part of what makes Florida DUI cases so complicated is that you are able to be charged with driving under the influence even if you were not really operating a motor vehicle at the time the offense took place. According to Florida laws, if you were in a situation where you could be viewed as being in actual physical control of the car while you were under the influence, then you may still be arrested and charged.
This means that you can be charged with driving under the influence for simply pulling over to sleep it off in the parking lot of a Waffle House. When this occurs, the courts will review many different factors when they are determining whether or not there is adequate evidence to agree to a motion to dismiss your case. The factors that they will examine include, but are not limited to:
- Was the vehicle running at the time of the incident or was it turned off?
- Where was the vehicle parked?
- Was the hood of the vehicle warm to the touch, indicating that it had recently been driven?
- Were the keys in the ignition at the time of the incident?
- If not, were the keys somewhere the defendant could easily get to them?
- Was the defendant sitting in the driver’s seat or somewhere else? Was the seat in a reclined position or was it upright?
- Was the vehicle parked on purpose or were there mechanical issues that were the real reason for pulling over?
In the bulk of these kinds of cases dealing with actual physical control, your Key West drunk driving defense attorney will most likely dispute the DUI charge by saying that your arrest was unlawful to start with since the law enforcement officer never even saw you operating the vehicle and had absolutely no reason to approach you, to begin with. Also, with a shortage of sufficient proof that you were in actual physical control of the vehicle, your DUI defense attorney will be able to file a motion to get the DUI charge completely dismissed.
If you have been charged with driving under the influence while you were not physically operating a vehicle in any way, shape, or form, then a criminal defense attorney who specializes in drunk driving cases in Key West, Florida will be able to help you when it comes to forming a solid defense against the bogus charges as we diligently strive to ensure that you receive the best possible outcome.
When someone is killed by a supposed drunk driver, that driver will be faced with a charge of DUI manslaughter. In order to make sure that you are convicted for a charge of DUI manslaughter, the state must demonstrate that you were driving the car while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs at the time of the incident and that your operation of the vehicle is responsible for, or contributed to, the death of any human being, including an unborn child.
DUI manslaughter is classified as a second-degree felony under Florida state law. It carries a maximum penalty of as long as 15 years in state prison. If more than one person was killed during the incident, then there is absolutely no promise made that each 15-year prison sentence will not be scheduled to run consecutively, rather than concurrently.
A DUI Manslaughter charge could also be classified as a first-degree felony, which would carry with it a maximum penalty of as long as 30 years in state prison. This scenario would only occur if, at the time of the deadly accident, the at-fault driver was aware or should have been aware that the accident had taken place but failed to give their information or render any aid, both of which are required by law. In other words, it was a drunk hit-and-run.
The minimum sentence for a charge of DUI manslaughter is four years in state prison. Some recent changes to Florida state law also make it a four-year minimum sentence for fleeing the scene of a deadly accident, and that is in conjunction with the state maintaining that you were intoxicated behind the wheel. This new law was established as a method of getting rid of the advantage that drunk drivers gained by fleeing the scenes of fatal car crashes.
Can a Key West Criminal Defense Attorney do Anything to Help Me?
As we have said before, there are very severe potential outcomes that go along with a DUI conviction in Key West, some of which may be permanent. You need to ensure that you seek advice from an experienced DUI defense attorney as soon as you can. You might feel like your case is unlikely to win and that you will be found guilty, particularly if a blood or breath analysis test concluded that you had a blood-alcohol level that was over Florida’s legal limit of 0.08%. Fortunately, there are several ways that a drunk driving defense attorney can help you to get the penalties in your case reduced or even eliminated altogether.
To schedule a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation, please get in touch with our law offices by calling (800) 687-2252 as soon as you possibly can. The more quickly you act the better off you will be.