Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Defense Lawyers in Lake County, Florida

Laws, Charges, Punishments, and Legal Defenses for Lake County Driving Under Influence (DUI) of Alcohol or Drugs

Lake County is a centrally located county in the southeastern state of Florida. The U.S. Census recorded approximately 297,000 residents living in Lake County. The City of Tavares is the county seat of Lake County, Florida. Clermont is Lake County´s most populous metropolitan city. Lake County is part of the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). The Lake County Courthouse is located at Lake County Courthouse (CH) 550 W. Main St., 2nd Floor, Tavares, FL 32778. According to crime data provided by the Florida Department Law Enforcement and Motor Vehicles there were 540 DUI arrests in 2019.

Driving Under the Influence in Lake County, Florida

Florida's DUI laws are similar to the DUI laws of other US states in terms of the legal limit of blood-alcohol content (BAC) being .08% or less. Florida drivers should have a general understanding of what is at stake when charged with DUI in the State of Florida.

The DUI Defense Lawyers at Musca Law have more than 150 years of combined legal experience defending individuals charged with DUIs and other criminal charges. Our law firm is devoted to protecting the constitutional rights of individuals throughout the State of Florida. If you or a member of your family has been charged with a DUI, speak with one of our qualified DUI Defense Lawyers today. Do not delay. The more time that you allow to pass by, the more difficult it will be to defend you or your family member from the harsh penalties of a DUI conviction. At Musca Law, our legal team is standing by to talk with you. Contact our Lake County DUI Defense Attorneys and learn how we can help you in fighting your Lake DUI charges. Call Musca Law 24/7 at (888) 484-5057.

Florida DUI Laws, Penalties, and Additional Consequences

DUI charges in Florida range in severity from a simple misdemeanor all the way to a serious felony charge.

Under Florida Statute Section 316.193(1), a person may be found guilty of a DUI charge if the Lake County prosecutors are able to establish the following:

The person facing DUI charges was driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle; and

  • The person was under the influence of alcohol, a chemical substance, or a controlled substance, and was intoxicated to the extent that the “person’s normal faculties are impaired;
  • The person had a blood-alcohol level of .08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood; or
  • The person had a breath-alcohol level of .08 or more grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.

DUI offenses can become more serious offenses when supplementary situations are involved. The following types of DUIs can lead to severe penalties and some are felonies: repeat DUIs, DUI accidents, DUIs accidents that cause personal injuries, DUIs accidents that cause property damage, and DUIs accidents that kill another person.

Criminal Penalties Resulting from Various DUI Convictions

Under Florida law, the following penalties apply to DUI offenses:

DUI Charge


Maximum Jail Time

Maximum Fine

First DUI Offense with BAC of .08 or more

Unclassified Misdemeanor

6 Months


First DUI Offense with Minor Under 18 in Vehicle

Unclassified Misdemeanor

9 months


First DUI Offense for BAC of .15 or more

Unclassified Misdemeanor

9 months


Second DUI Offense with BAC of .08 or higher

Unclassified Misdemeanor

9 Months


Second DUI Offense with BAC of .15 or higher

Unclassified Misdemeanor

1 Year


DUI Offense Involving Damage to Property

First-Degree Misdemeanor

1 Year


Third DUI Offense More than 10 Years After Prior Offense

Unclassified Misdemeanor

1 Year


Third Offense within 10 Years

Third-Degree Felony

5 Years


Fourth or Subsequent DUI Offense

Third-Degree Felony

5 Years


DUI Involving Serious Bodily Injury

Third-Degree Felony

5 Years


DUI Manslaughter (death of another person or unborn child)

Second-Degree Felony

15 Years


DUI Manslaughter Involving Driver Who Failed to Render Aid

First-Degree Felony

30 Years


What You Should Know About Police Officer Discretion in Lake County, Florida

Not all DUI charges are because of driving while intoxicated by alcohol. Many DUI arrests are drug-related DUIs. Also, DUI arrests are often the result of a person's behavior. If a driver's "normal faculties are impaired," the driver might be arrested and then charged with Driving Under the Influence even if the law enforcement officer wasn’t able to prove, at the time of DUI arrest, that the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Whether a driver's "normal faculties are impaired" is often a point of dispute when defending clients charged with a DUI.

One other issue to contend with is whether the defendant was driver, operating or in substantive physical control of a vehicle. One police officer may think a driver was in control of a vehicle, while another police officer may not feel the same way. For example, in circumstances where a person is sitting in the driver's seat of a parked motor vehicle but vehicle’s ignition is turned off. DUI enforcement officers must use their judgement to determine if the person violated Florida law. Such decisions do not necessarily lead to an accurate result or conclusion. Many times, DUI enforcement officers can make "judgment calls," and sometimes polices officers make mistakes. For example, a police officer might fail to read the driver their Miranda rights.

Police discretion may be needed for some situations, but it could lead to DUI charges that aren't justified in other cases. Hence, to have the best chance of challenging DUI charges in Lake County, the accused must move expeditiously to discuss their case with one of our experienced Lake DUI Defense Attorneys.

The Dismissal or Reduction of DUI Charges in Lake County, Florida

The number one goal when defending a client against DUI charges in Lake County, Florida, is to have their charges dropped. A skilled DUI Defense Lawyer will work hard to make sure the prosecuting attorney cannot establish all of the elements necessary to prove a DUI offense occurred. If this happens, the defendant could file for a dismissal of his or her DUI charges. However, many defendants try to defend themselves or they choose to gamble their future by being represented by an overworked public defender. These defense option don’t always produce the desired outcome. Public defenders are more than qualified lawyers. But government agencies have limited resources unlike a private law firm that has the resources, manpower, and drive to win.

A DUI defendant, who has no criminal record, has a decent chance of either having adjudication withheld or having their DUI charges dismissed (if the prosecution's evidence is not sufficient and/or the prosecutor is unable to secure a conviction at the DUI criminal trial). If the adjudication is withheld, the DUI defendant will usually receive probation and he or she will be required to complete a series of additional requirements such as:

  • Community service;
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device on the accused person’s vehicle;
  • Successful completion of alcohol and drug abuse counseling;
  • Submission to routine and/or random alcohol and drug testing;
  • Successful completion of alcohol and drug abuse education courses; and
  • Suspension or revocation of a driver’s license.

Most of these punishments will be imposed on defendants who are convicted of DUI. But when adjudication is withheld, the defendant avoids jail and a DUI conviction on his or her criminal record.

The Non-Criminal Consequences of a DUI Conviction in Lake

If the defendant is convicted of DUI in Lake County, Florida, the defendant will receive harsh punishments that go beyond fines and jail time. The following are a list of other consequences, but may not be limited to, the following:

  • A criminal record that is publicly-viewable;
  • Difficulty traveling to and from work or school;
  • Difficulty obtaining employment;
  • Difficulty renting a home or apartment;
  • Difficulty obtaining credit;
  • Difficulty being accepted to a college or university; and
  • A tarnished reputation that may cause one to lose his/her job, lose friends, and generally be seen as a criminal.

Also, when a person has a criminal record, this creates hurdles for the defendant because background checks are often performed potential employers and loan officers. DUIs may not be as serious as violent, but a DUI conviction will attach a negative stigma to an individual despite the facts of that person’s case. The more experienced your Lake County DUI Defense Lawyer, the better off you will be when facing prosecutors in court.

The Arrest and Detention Process for Suspected DUI in Lake County, Florida

Florida law grants law enforcement officers with the power to detain a probably DUI offender for a set number of hours following a DUI arrest.

Per Florida Statute Section 316.193(9), a driver who is arrested on suspicion of DUI will remain in police custody until one of the following are satisfied:

  • The person is no longer under the influence of alcohol, chemical substances, or controlled substances to the extent that such intoxication has impaired the person’s normal faculties;
  • The person’s blood-alcohol level or breath-alcohol level is less than .05; or
  • Eight hours have elapsed from the time the person was arrested.

While law enforcement many hold individuals arrested for DUI, it is not uncommon for a DUI arrestee to be detained longer than permitted under Florida law. If you have been detailed for an extended period of time, it is important to discuss your case with one of our Lake County DUI Defense Lawyers as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, when a defendant doesn’t engage an attorney fast enough, the defendant will have a mountain to climb to obtain a positive result in the DUI trial.

Steps to Developing a Powerful Defense to a Lake County DUI Charge

Florida law prohibits lawyers from making any form of guarantee of a specific result in a case. However, by heeding the six steps below, those facing DUI charges in Lake County, Florida have the best probability of obtaining a favorable result, which could help them to avoid the tow of the harshest penalties under Florida law – expensive fines and jail time.

Step 1 – During the arrest, do not answer any questions any law enforcement officer asks you. Instead, be polite, remain silent, and state that you want to call a lawyer. You are required to answer questions concerning you full name, address, and contact information. It is always a good idea to remain calm, polite, and respectful to the law enforcement officers. Anything you say or do that is out of line will damage your defense moving forward. Always be cooperative but remain silent and never lose control over your emotions.

Step 2 – Contact our experienced DUI Defense Lawyers in Lake County as quickly as possible after a DUI arrest. Once you are permitted to place a phone call, your first phone call should be to Musca Law or a reliable and close friend or family member who can contact Musca Law on your behalf. Avoid waiting several days or weeks to speak with an attorney. Talking with a lawyer should be your primary concern.

Step 3 – Chose a law firm that focuses only on DUI law and criminal law. Many attorneys in Lake County practice many areas of practice and some of these attorneys or law firms will also handle DUI law but also handle other types of legal matters such as personal injury, medical malpractice, workers’ compensation, divorce law, and several other non-criminal areas of practice. While general practice law firms might employ well-qualified attorneys, an attorney who limits his or her practice exclusively on DUI and criminal defense will have the amount of knowledge and experience you need in your Lake County DUI criminal case.

Step 4 – Be open and honest with your lawyer about the facts and circumstances in your legal situation. The conversations you have with your lawyer are always confidential and are protected. An attorney from Musca Law is unable and unwilling to disclose any information that you disclose. The more details that your attorney knows about your legal situation, the better he or she can help defend you in a Lake County DUI criminal case. Conversely, providing your attorney with false information will be catastrophic when attempting to have your DUI charge reduced to a lesser offense or having your charge dropped. If you have a criminal history (crimes charged in Florida or another state), always disclose these important details to your attorney.

Step 5 – Always attend all meetings and court hearings on time, and as directed by your lawyer. If you are late to a court hearing or if your fail to make an appearance, the judge might issue a warrant for your arrest and this will only make your criminal matter more stressful and more serious. Additionally, always be polite and courteous in court and try to make the best impression that you can. Grooming, dressing well, and being respectful to everyone involved will make a difference in your case.

Step 6 – Follow the advice and guidance of your lawyer. Your lawyer always has your best interests at heart and he or she will work hard to get you the best possible result in your case. However, your attorney can only do their job when clients follow directions and are cooperative. For example, if your lawyers tells you not drive any motor vehicle on any roadway while your DUI trial is pending, do not drive any motorize vehicle under any circumstance. Although this may be obvious advice, it is not uncommon for DUI defendants to continue driving although they are not legally permitted to drive. In some situations, defendants facing a first-time DUI defense will be allowed to drive on a limited basis during the pending DUI case. However, this is not an automatic privilege and to obtain limited driving privileges, the proper authorities must approve the temporary, limited driving privilege.

Step 7 – After reviewing all of the evidence provided by the prosecution handling your Lake County DUI charge, your lawyer will determine whether there are grounds to attempt a dismissal of your DUI charge. Your criminal history may be the most meaningful determinant that your lawyer and the state prosecutors will consider when determining if your DUI charges may be dropped or reduced.

Step 8 – Trust that your lawyer will do the best job possible to help you avoid jail time and fines. If your DUI case involves injury or death to another person or if your accident caused property damage, the only possible way to avoid jail time is having your charges dropped or by a “not guilty” verdict at trial. A majority of DUI cases in Florida, are first offenses, and jail time may be avoidable if will you comply with all of the conditions of an alternative program that withholds adjudication.

Protect Your Legal Rights by Calling the Lake County DUI Defense Attorneys at Musca Law Today

If you or member of your family are facing a DUI charge in Lake County, Florida, do not delay and take immediate action by calling Musca Law at (888) 484-5057. Speak with one of our experienced and qualified DUI Defense Lawyers and understand the DUI defense process and your legal rights.

Get your case started by calling us at (888) 484-5057 today!