DUI Defense Lawyers in Citrus County, Florida
How to Beat a Driving Under the Influence Charge in Citrus County, Florida
For many people facing charges for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Citrus County, the incident is the first time in their lives that they are involved in the criminal justice system. Being accused of a crime is frightening and stressful. Navigating the court system is no easy task, and of course, the stakes are high. An experienced criminal defense attorney can serve as your legal advocate and will develop a strategy for defending against the charges.
In Citrus County, DUIs are prosecuted aggressively. Law enforcement and the state view the prosecution of DUIs as one way that they are able to keep the public safe. The public perception of DUIs has changed over the years because of aggressive prevention campaigns that highlighted the dangers of impaired driving. Nationally, thanks in part to those same efforts, the number of DUIs are on the decline. Even still, more than 10,000 people die in crashes caused by impaired drivers. The numbers give officials cause to take these charges seriously. This means that you, too, should be taking the charges seriously and be prepared to fight vigorously against the allegations.
In many cases, there are ways to negotiate for lesser charges and to avoid some of the more severe penalties, such as prison time. Knowing your options and chances for success will help you to make informed and educated decisions in your case. An experienced DUI defense attorney will be best suited to fight the charges against you or to negotiate on your behalf.
At Musca Law, we represent clients throughout Florida and handle cases involving the most severe criminal allegations. Our Citrus County Criminal Defense Attorneys are ready to advocate for you and to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the entire process. We know that all Americans deserve the right to a strong legal advocate. Call Musca Law today at (888) 484-5057 to consult with a dedicated criminal defense attorney.
Citrus County, Florida DUI Charges: Penalties and the Law
A person facing charges for a DUI in Florida must understand what he or she is up against. Even in the case of less serious misdemeanor charges, the consequences can seriously impact your life and future. In the case of felony charges, long prison terms are among the potential consequences. In fact, for the individuals facing the most serious DUI charges, the results can be decades-long prison terms.
In Citrus County, Florida, the legal limit is a blood-alcohol level of .08 percent alcohol per volume. It is important to note, though, that people can also face a DUI for being impaired by drugs as well. In those cases, the legal limit is not as clear cut.
According to Florida Statute Section 316.193(1), the court may convict a person for driving under the influence if:
- The driver was in control of an automobile;
- The driver's normal faculties were impaired by alcohol or drugs; and/or
- The driver had a BAC at or above .08 percent alcohol-based on laboratory test results.
In the case of a person with a BAC of .08 or higher, the driver need not be acting as if he or she was impaired. Once a person's BAC is .08 percent or higher, that person will be presumed under the influence per se.
If a police officer suspects that a driver was under the influence of alcohol, then the officer will likely ask the motorist to perform field sobriety tests. Those tests work to determine whether the driver is behaving in such a way as to indicate impairment. When a driver fails a breathalyzer or the field sobriety tests, then the police will place that person under arrest. In some cases, a person will demonstrate signs of impairment but may pass the breathalyzer. In such instances, an officer still may arrest the individual under the suspicion that the person was under the influence of another substance, such as marijuana, or even a prescription drug.
Citrus County, Florida DUI Categories and Charges for Multiple Offenses
The law will treat DUIs differently depending on the circumstances of the crime. For instance, certain factors are aggravating and will lead to more serious penalties. Additionally, if a driver is convicted of multiple DUIs, the penalties will begin to increase as well.
The following illustrates the different categories of DUIs and related penalties:
- First DUI, BAC of .08 percent to .14 percent: A driver who has a BAC of .08 percent through .14 percent, and who has no prior DUIs on his or her records, will likely face charges for a misdemeanor. The charges related to this crime can include a six-month jail term and a fine of $1,000.
- First DUI, Passengers Under Eighteen in the Vehicle: If a driver is under the influence, and has minors in his or her vehicle, then that driver will face elevated charges and higher potential penalties. The sentence, in this case, will be a maximum of nine months in jail and a $2,000 fine.
- First DUI, BAC of .15 or Higher; If a driver commits a first time DUI, but has a highly elevated BAC of .15 or greater, then that person will face a maximum sentence of nine months in jail and a fine of $2,000.
- Second DUI, BAC of .08 to .14 percent: A second DUI will result in a sentence of no more than nine months, and a fine of $2,000.
- Second DUI, BAC of .15 and higher: If a driver is facing a second DUI and has an elevated BAC of .15 or higher, that person will face up to one year in jail and a penalty of $4,000.
- A Third DUI in More than Ten Years: Once a driver commits a third DUI, there is a question of when the previous DUIs occurred. If the most recent DUI took place more than ten years before the third DUI, then the penalties include a one-year jail term and a $1,000.
- Third DUI in Less than Ten Years: If a driver facing a third DUI and the previous DUI was under a decade ago, then the penalties increase to a third-degree felony rather than a misdemeanor. The sentence for this can include up to five years in prison and a fine of no more than $5000.
- Fourth DUI: If a driver faces a fourth DUI, the timeline no longer matters. Even if the third DUI was fifteen years ago, that driver would face charges for committing a third-degree felony, along with at most five years in prison, and a $5,000 fine.
- DUI Causing Property Damage: If a driver commits a DUI and damages property in the process, the crime is considered a first-degree misdemeanor, and the consequences include a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
- DUI Causing Injury: In cases where a DUI caused bodily injuries, the crime is upgraded to a third-degree felony, the sentence is a maximum of five years in prison, and a penalty of $5,000.
- DUI Resulting in Manslaughter: In the serious case of a DUI resulting in the death of another person, the crime is referred to as DUI manslaughter, which is a second-degree felony and comes with a sentence of up to fifteen years in prison. The fine associated with this offense is $15,000.
- DUI Manslaughter, Failure to Render Aid: If a driver who is under the influence causes the death of another person, and then fails to provide aid to the victim, or flees the scene, the crime will be categorized as a first-degree felony. This will lead to a maximum of thirty years in prison and a fine of at most $10,000.
In Citrus County, any DUIs, especially those involving aggravating factors, will meet serious consequences. If you are facing a DUI, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney right away to ensure that your rights are protected.
Other Consequences of a Citrus County, Florida DUI
Drivers who are convicted of a DUI in Citrus County will face charges beyond jail time and fines. It is possible to avoid some penalties of DUIs by pleading to lesser offenses, but there are other additional consequences that follow.
Some additional penalties include:
- Required counseling;
- Required education on substance abuse;
- Required drug and alcohol testing;
- Community service hours;
- The requirement to install an ignition interlock device in his or her car;
- The revocation of the driver's license for a set time period;
- The impoundment of the driver's vehicle; and
- If the charges include a felony, the driver may lose his or her second amendment rights.
The consequences of a DUI will reach beyond the legal repercussions. Finding a job and housing may become a challenge as the charges will appear on a background check. There can be an impact on the person's credit score, and even in attempts at higher education.
An experienced Citrus County DUI attorney will be able to explain the full ramifications of a DUI and of any potential plea deal. Hiring an attorney means that you have someone ready to fight for your rights.
Criminal Convictions and Potential for Dismissals
Being charged with a DUI in Citrus County, Florida, does not necessarily mean that the driver will be sentenced. There are plenty of ways to defend against the charges. It is important to remember that the state must meet a very high bar when it comes to a criminal conviction. The standard of "beyond a reasonable doubt" is strict and requires particularly compelling evidence. If there is not enough evidence, the charges could end up dismissed.
There are other cases where the police violated a person's rights during the investigation or arrest of that person. Suspects have constitutionally protected rights, and if those rights are violated, it is possible to have evidence suppressed if it was collected during such a violation. This could be the case in situations where officers failed to give the defendant his or her Miranda warnings. Such a failure on the part of law enforcement might appear to be nothing more than a technicality. This is not the case, however, as those warnings are designed to protect a suspect from being coerced into providing false confessions or other potentially unfair practices. A failure of this sort will often be enough to weaken the state's case.
If the suspect denies the allegations of having been drunk or otherwise impaired, there are possible ways to attack the evidence or even the accuracy of a chemical test.
No attorney will be able to guarantee an outcome in a case, but hiring an experienced attorney will help to ensure that all potential avenues for defending against the charges are thoroughly pursued.
In some instances, there will be no possible way to have charges against the driver dismissed. In these situations, the best move could be to bargain for a reduction in charges. This could mean reducing charges from a felony to a misdemeanor. The defendant, in these cases, could be able to avoid jail time or some of the more severe consequences. Unfortunately, there are prosecutors who refuse to negotiate the charges. In such a case, your lawyer may decide its best to take the case to trial.
The best way to defend against charges will be heavily dependent on the specific facts involved in your DUI case. Hiring a Citrus County Criminal Defense Attorney is a good way to protect yourself from such accusations.
Police Detentions: What are Your Rights?
When a person I arrested for a DUI, the police will take that person into custody and hold them for a given period of time. The rights that you have if you face such an arrest are detailed in Florida Statute Section 316.193(9). Police must release a person from custody when:
- The BAC test came back with a result of less than .05 percent;
- The person is no longer exhibiting signs of impairment; or
- The person has been in police custody for eight hours or longer.
The law includes many protections for suspects. Most people do not know what protections are available. It is incredibly important to speak to an attorney early on in your case. Your attorney will ensure that the police do not take advantage of you. Contacting a Citrus County DUI Defense Attorney is your best bet for protecting yourself and your future. Your attorney will ensure that you are not alone in facing the charges filed against you.
Selecting a Criminal Defense Attorney is an Important Decision
Navigating the court system is a complicated matter. It takes time and experience to learn the ins and outs of the system, and the best ways to defend against various allegations. You do have the right to represent yourself; however, that decision is incredibly risky. Trying a case involves complicated rules, and it can be challenging to negotiate a plea deal or to even know what options are available to you.
In many cases, people look at the legal fees required for a defense attorney and choose to go with a public defender. It is often the case that these attorneys have heavy caseloads and lack many of the resources that a private defense attorney has at his or her disposal.
Before contacting a Citrus County Criminal Defense Attorney, it is best to ensure that the person is experienced and a proven track record of defending against criminal charges.
Preparing Your Citrus County DUI Defense
Your attorney works for you, and that person should be willing to answer your questions. Ensure that you are hiring someone who is upfront with you and responsive. Your attorney should always treat you with respect.
Musca Law's attorneys are dedicated to their clients. We represent people facing the most severe criminal charges and work tirelessly as their dedicated legal advocates. We take pride in our successful representation of our clients and are happy to share our results and past efforts.
We believe that our clients deserve the right to make an informed decision about the person who will be representing them in such important matters. Click here to learn about how the attorneys at Musca Law have worked to represent clients in the past.
Although no attorney can provide guaranteed outcomes for prospective clients, at Musca Law, our lawyers have years of experience representing defendants facing DUI charges and can put that past experience to use when analyzing your case.
Contact the Citrus County Attorneys at Musca Law Today
If you are facing charges for a DUI in Citrus County, Florida, finding an attorney should be your first priority. The DUI defense attorneys at Musca Law routine handle these types of cases and are ready to help you.
Together, Musca Law's attorneys have more than 150 years of experience handling criminal defense in Florida. Call us today at (888) 484-5057 to learn how we can help you obtain a favorable outcome to the charges that you are facing. Your rights and your future depend on what you do now.