DUI Defense Lawyers in Marion County, Florida
How to Beat a Marion County Driving Under the Influence Charge
In Florida, it is a serious offense to operate a vehicle while impaired by drugs or alcohol. While driving under the influence, or DUI, may not seem like a major offense, the truth is that in some cases, it can result in the imposition of felony charges. If you are facing DUI charges in Marion County, you need to hire an experienced legal advocate who can put together the strongest defense strategy possible under Florida law.
Musca Law has a stellar reputation for successfully helping thousands of clients located throughout the state of Florida. Each of our attorneys focuses their practice exclusively on civil injunction and criminal law matters. No DUI case is too challenging for our attorneys, as we have over 150 collective years of legal experience representing clients facing DUI charges located throughout the state of Florida. To learn more about how our Marion County DUI Defense Attorneys can help you, contact us today at (888) 484-5057. Our lawyers are available 24/7 to discuss your case.
Marion County DUI Laws and Corresponding Penalties
In Florida, a person convicted of DUI may be subject to steep monetary fines and even time in jail. While most DUI cases constitute misdemeanor-level crimes, some are felonies that can amount to imprisonment and other serious repercussions. The legal limit in Florida is 0.08, however, some cases involve drug impairment where this limit does not apply. Pursuant to Florida Statute Section 316.193(1), an individual may face a DUI conviction if:
- The driver of the vehicle was in actual physical control of the subject vehicle; and
- The normal faculties of the driver were impaired due to alcohol or drugs; or
- The breath-alcohol level of the accused was 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath; or
- The blood-alcohol level of the accused was 0.08 or more grams per 100 milliliters of blood.
Many DUI matters involve the use of a field sobriety test and/or breathalyzer test to measure alcohol impairment. If a driver fails these tests, he or she will be placed under arrest. It is important to note that a driver may still be arrested, even if he or she passes these tests, if the arresting officer believes that the normal faculties of the driver are impaired.
The Categories of DUI Charges in Marion County
Pursuant to Florida law, DUI charges range from unclassified misdemeanors to first-degree felonies, summarized as follows:
- First DUI with a BAC of 0.08 or more – it is an unclassified misdemeanor to have a BAC of 0.08 to 0.14. If convicted, the offender may face up to six months in jail and a monetary fine not greater than $1,000.
- First DUI with a minor in the subject vehicle – it is in unclassified misdemeanor to have a minor (a child under the age of eighteen) in the subject vehicle at the time of one’s arrest for a first time DUI. This is associated with a jail term of up to nine months and a monetary fine not to exceed $2,000.
- First DUI with a BAC of 0.15 or more – it is an unclassified misdemeanor to have a first time DUI with a BAC of 0.15 or more. This is associated with a jail term of up to nine months and a monetary fine not to exceed $2,000.
- Second DUI with a BAC of 0.08 or more – It is an unclassified misdemeanor to be convicted of a second time DUI with a BAC between 0.08 and 0.14. This is associated with a jail term of up to nine months and a monetary fine of up to $2,000.
- Third DUI more than ten years following a prior DUI – if a third DUI conviction occurs ten years following a previous one, it is deemed an unclassified misdemeanor, which is associated with a jail term of up to one year and a monetary fine of up to $1,000.
- DUI involving damage to property – it is a first-degree misdemeanor if convicted of DUI involving property damage. This is associated with a jail term of up to one year and a monetary fine of up to $1,000.
- Second DUI with a BAC of 0.15 or greater – it is an unclassified misdemeanor to be convicted of a second DUI involving a BAC of 0.15 or more. This carries with it a penalty of up to one year in jail and a monetary fine of no greater than $4,000.
- Third DUI within ten years of a prior one – if convicted of a third DUI that happened within ten years of a prior one, it constitutes a third-degree felony, which carries with it a maximum five-year jail term and a monetary fine not greater than $5,000.
- Fourth DUI – a fourth DUI conviction constitutes a third-degree felony, which is associated with up to five years in jail and a monetary fine not greater than $5,000.
- DUI involving serious bodily injury – if convicted of a DUI involving serious bodily injury, it is a third-degree felony, which carries with it up to five years in jail and a monetary fine not to exceed $5,000.
- DUI involving death to an individual or unborn child (DUI manslaughter) – this is a second-degree felony, which carries with it a jail term of up to fifteen years and a monetary fine of no greater than $10,000.
- DUI manslaughter involving the failure to render aid to victims – it is a first-degree felony to fail to render aid to victims in a DUI manslaughter case. This is associated with a thirty year term in jail and a monetary fine not to exceed $10,000.
It is important to keep in mind that Marion County prosecutors often seek the strictest penalties in DUI cases, especially those associated with the presence of an aggravating factor, such as a BAC of 0.15 or greater. If you have been charged with DUI in Marion County, it is vital that you contact a qualified Marion County DUI Defense Lawyer as soon as possible in order to preserve your rights and learn more about your legal options.
Further Consequences of a Marion County DUI Conviction
DUI cases often do not just involve jail time and monetary fines. If a person is convicted of DUI in Marion County, there may be further repercussions that he or she will face (whether there is a conviction following trial or plea bargain agreement), which may include:
- Educational courses;
- Substance abuse treatment and/or mental health counseling;
- Random drug/alcohol testing;
- Mandatory vehicle impoundment;
- Community service;
- The installation of an ignition interlock device in one’s vehicle;
- The temporary or permanent revocation of one’s license;
- The loss of the right to use/own ammunition and firearms (such as in a felony DUI case); and
- A permanent criminal record which may make it difficult to find gainful employment and a suitable place to live, as well as the inability to attend an educational institution.
It is important to understand that violating any of the above can result in additional criminal charges that may amount to jail time. Therefore, it is vital that you take your DUI case seriously as well as hire an experienced Marion County DUI Defense Attorney to assist you with your Marion County DUI case.
The Dismissal of Marion County DUI Charges
Not every DUI case involves a plea agreement or even a conviction. In many cases, the prosecution failed to proffer enough evidence to secure a conviction, or law enforcement illegally conducted a search and seizure in violation of an alleged offender’s Fourth Amendment rights. If there are valid reasons supporting a reduction or dismissal of the DUI charge, a skilled Marion County DUI Defense Lawyer will raise various defenses of same in court on behalf of the accused.
If the accused in a DUI case asserts that he or she is innocent and that the prosecution did not have the evidence necessary to establish impairment, such as may be the case when he or she passes a field sobriety test and/or breathalyzer test, the defense will assert will highlight this fact. Otherwise stated, a case may be dismissed the accused’s arrest was based solely on the arresting officer’s impressions. A case can also be dismissed if the accused was not read his or her Miranda rights, or if a false confession was elicited.
If the defense does not obtain a case dismissal, it can seek to negotiate a fair and reasonable plea agreement. If the case involves felony DUI charges, the defense may be able to seek a reduction to a misdemeanor-level offense, which may mean little to no jail time. If the prosecution fails to accept a plea agreement, a skilled Marion County DUI Defense Lawyer will litigate the case.
DUI Arrest and Detention Laws in Marion County
Florida law dictates that law enforcement may detain a person suspected of DUI for only a certain time period following his or her arrest. Under Florida Statutes Section 316.193(9), the police can only detain a suspect until one of the following has been met:
- The accused’s BAC is below 0.05;
- The accused has been in jail for a minimum of 8 hours; or
- The accused faculties are longer impaired by alcohol or drugs.
If Section 316 is violated, the accused’s DUI charges may be reduced or dismissed, depending upon the facts of one’s case. Notwithstanding, a person facing DUI charges should seek to hire a competent Marion County DUI Defense Lawyer as soon as possible after having been placed under arrest.
Choosing the Right Marion County Attorneys is Critical
Some people charged with DUI in Marion County choose to represent themselves, or, as provided by law, to go pro se. This is highly discouraged, as most defendants do not have the experience required to develop a successful defense strategy. Accordingly, this is a highly risky move, as most alleged offenders are not familiar with the law, the ins and outs of the courtroom, the judge, and the prosecutor.
Given that legal representation can be costly, several defendants choose to be represented by a public defender without consulting private attorneys. While many public defenders are highly qualified, they are often overworked and have scant resources to devote to one’s case. This is why it is important for an alleged offender to consult with a private attorney to learn more about his or her legal options, the costs of legal representation, and how payment options can be managed. Given the serious legal repercussions associated with a DUI conviction, the expenses associated with hiring a private attorney may be well worth it.
Always Do Your Homework When Seeking to Hire the Right Marion County DUI Defense Lawyer
Many attorneys claim to have the experience necessary to successfully represent a person charged with DUI in Florida. However, this is not always true. If a lawyer is not open about his or practice, their skill level, and their ability to represent the defendant’s legal rights, he or she may not be the right lawyer to work with. A Marion County DUI Defense Lawyer who has a positive reputation, many years of experience handling DUI cases, and who is dedicated, honest, and professional, may be the right legal advocate for the job.
At Musca Law, We Have a Proven Track Record of Success
At Musca Law, our Marion County DUI Defense Lawyers want all potential clients to understand how our team of legal advocates has been successful in defending other clients in their legal matters. We have a proven track record of success representing clients facing all types of criminal charges in Florida, ranging from DUI to capital murder.
Musca Law provides a list of case results on their website to show prospective clients about how they have helped previous clients. It is important to realize that we pride our successes on the fact that our legal advocates only handle criminal law and civil injunction cases. While it is important to keep in mind that no lawyer can guarantee a certain result in a case, working with a skilled Marion County DUI Defense Lawyer can give you the best chance of having a successful result. Contact Musca Law now at (888) 484-5057.
Contact our Marion County DUI Defense Lawyers Now to Learn More About Your Legal Rights and Options
If you have been charged with DUI in Marion County, it is vital that you hire a skilled Marion County DUI Defense Attorney who has a history of success in handling DUI cases. At Musca Law, our experienced team of legal advocates has the dedication and experience necessary to develop the strongest defense case possible. The Marion County DUI Defense Lawyers at Musca Law have over 150 collective years of legal experience representing clients facing DUI charges located throughout the state of Florida. Call (888) 484-5057 to learn more about how we can make a difference for you.