DUI Defense Lawyers in Miami-Dade County, Florida

Miami-Dade County sees its fair share of traffic violations, but when it comes to driving under the influence (DUI), most individuals who face DUI charges are not ultimately convicted. According to an article published by the www.miaminewtimes.com, data released by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles indicates that only 32 percent of all DUI cases in 2018 resulted in a conviction. The majority of DUI cases were resolved by either dismissal or alternative adjudication/probation. However, even when the majority of DUI cases do not result in a conviction, many of the individuals charged with DUIs may have had no criminal record. Alternatively, these individuals may have hired reputable Miami-Dade DUI Defense Lawyers who negotiated favorable outcomes for their clients.

Regardless of the DUI conviction rate in Miami-Dade, all DUI charges should be taken seriously. All prosecutors are different, all judges are different, and all DUI incidents are different. DUI charges could quickly become serious when a DUI is linked to bodily injuries or death. When facing a DUI charge in Miami-Dade, it is best to approach the situation from a “worst-case-scenario” standpoint. As such, DUI charges – regardless of one’s criminal history – should not be taken lightly.

The Miami-Dade DUI Defense Lawyers of Musca Law have more than 150 years of combined experience representing the constitutional rights of individuals from throughout the state of Florida. If you are facing Miami-Dade DUI charges, you need to retain a qualified lawyer quickly. The longer you wait to seek the advice of a lawyer following an arrest on suspicion of DUI, the more difficult it will be for your lawyer to help you avoid harsh consequences. At Musca Law, our legal team is standing by to help you 24/7. Contact the Miami-Dade DUI Defense Lawyers of Musca Law today to find out how we can help you fight your Miami-Dade DUI charges by calling (888) 484-5057.

Driving Under the Influence in Miami, Florida

Miami-Dade is one of the most popular destinations in the United States, bringing visitors and tourists from around the world year after year. In addition to a large population, Miami-Dade has numerous colleges and universities. Therefore, a substantial number of drivers in Miami-Dade are young adults, and this age group often faces DUI charges more so than other age groups. Florida’s DUI laws are similar to that of other states in terms of the legal blood-alcohol content (BAC) limit of .08, and all drivers should have a general understanding of what is at stake when facing DUI charges in Miami-Dade.

Florida DUI Laws, Penalties, and Additional Consequences

DUI charges under Florida law range in severity from a minor misdemeanor to a first-degree felony.

Per Florida Statute Section 316.193(1), a person may face DUI charges if prosecutors can 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.

The above-listed criteria must be established for any DUI charge in Miami-Dade. DUI charges become more serious when additional factors are involved, such as repeat DUI offenses, DUIs involving property damage, DUIs involving personal injuries, and DUIs involving the death of 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 Miami-Dade

While most DUI charges involve alcohol, some involve the use of drugs. As such, arrests are often made because of a person’s behavior. If the person’s “normal faculties are impaired,” he or she could be arrested and charged with DUI even if a police officer cannot prove at the time of arrest that a driver is under the influence of drugs. Whether a person’s “normal faculties are impaired” may be a point of contention when fighting DUI charges.

Additionally, whether a person was driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle may be a point of contention. One police officer may believe a person was in control of a vehicle when a different police officer might not reach that same conclusion (such as in a situation where a person is seated in the driver’s seat of a parked car with the engine turned off). Police officers routinely use their discretion to determine whether a person has broken the law. Such discretion does not always lead to the correct conclusions or results. For example, when police officers have the discretion to make judgment calls, they sometimes make mistakes (such as failing to read the arrested person his/her Miranda rights).

Police discretion may be necessary for some circumstances, but it could lead to criminal charges that are not warranted in other situations. Therefore, to ensure the best chance possible of fighting DUI charges in Miami-Dade, charged individuals must move quickly to speak with a reputable Miami-Dade DUI Defense Lawyer with a successful track record.

The Dismissal or Reduction of DUI Charges in Miami-Dade County

The goal when facing DUI charges in Miami-Dade is to get the charges dismissed based on a variety of legal grounds. If the prosecution cannot establish that all elements of a DUI charge have been established, a defendant has grounds to seek dismissal of the charges. However, many defendants who choose to represent themselves or seek the help of a public defender do not always receive a favorable result. Public defenders are by no means unqualified lawyers, but they may not have the same resources as a firm with a large team of lawyers and legal staff members.

By working with the right Miami-Dade DUI Defense Lawyer, an accused person with no criminal record has a good chance of either having DUI charges dismissed (if the evidence is insufficient and/or the prosecution cannot secure a conviction at trial) or having adjudication withheld. When adjudication is withheld, an accused person will be under probation and required to complete a series of requirements which include, but may not be limited to, the following:

  • Installation of an ignition interlock device on the accused person’s vehicle;
  • Successful completion of alcohol and drug abuse counseling;
  • Community service;
  • 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.

Many of these penalties are also imposed on individuals who are convicted of DUI, but when adjudication is withheld, an accused person can avoid a DUI conviction on his or her record.

The Non-Criminal Consequences of a DUI Conviction in Miami-Dade County

If a person is ultimately convicted of a DUI in Miami-Dade, her or she will face consequences that go far beyond jail time and monetary fines. Examples of such consequences include, 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.

Although some of these consequences may not affect all individuals convicted of a DUI in Miami-Dade, having any criminal record can create hurdles for individuals as background checks performed by any party or agency will show a DUI conviction. DUIs certainly are not as serious as violent crimes or crimes of dishonesty (such as fraud), but they still attach a stigma to a person despite the unique circumstances of that person’s case. Overall, the stronger and more experienced the Miami-Dade DUI Defense Lawyer, the better off a person will be when facing prosecutors in the courtroom.

The Arrest and Detention Process for Suspected DUI in Miami-Dade County

Florida law provides law enforcement officers with the power to detain a suspected offender for a certain number of hours following an arrest on potential DUI charges. Per Florida Statute Section 316.193(9), a person arrested on suspicion of DUI must remain in police custody until one of the following has been 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 police officers can keep arrested individuals in custody as allowable under Florida law, it is not uncommon for arrested individuals to be detained longer than allowed under Florida law. In such cases, it is especially important to work with a Miami-Dade DUI Defense Lawyer as soon as possible after being arrested. Unfortunately, without prompt legal representation, some individuals facing DUI charges will have an uphill battle to reach a fair result given the facts of the underlying DUI offense.

Steps to Building a Strong Defense to a Miami-Dade County DUI Charge

Even the best lawyer in the world cannot guarantee a client will receive positive results. However, by following the steps below, individuals facing DUI charges in Miami-Dade are providing themselves with the best chance to reach a result that avoids the harshest penalties under Florida law – jail time and fines.

Step 1 – Upon arrest, do not answer any questions you are asked by any law enforcement official. Rather, you should stay silent or state that you will be contacting a lawyer. You should also be cordial and respectful to police officers. Anything other than cordiality can be harmful to a person’s case moving forward. Being cooperative without giving up legal rights is the best way to approach the situation after being arrested.

Step 2 – Contact a skilled Miami-Dade DUI Defense Lawyer as soon as possible following arrest. If you are allowed to make a phone call, your first call should be to a lawyer or a close family member or friend who can reach out to a lawyer on your behalf. Do not wait until days or weeks to find a lawyer. Finding a lawyer should be your number one priority.

Step 3 – Chose a Miami-Dade DUI Defense Lawyer who focuses only on criminal law. Many lawyers in Miami-Dade have multi-purpose law practices and handle DUI matters only part of the time. Many of these lawyers and firms handle DUI cases in addition to personal injury, workers’ compensation, medical malpractice, and family long, among other non-criminal practice areas. While such firms may employ excellent lawyers, a lawyer who handles nothing but criminal matters is in the best position to provide superior legal representation in a Miami-Dade DUI case.

Step 4 – Be honest with your lawyer about your current situation. The conversations you have with your lawyer are privileged and confidential. As such, your lawyer cannot disclose the information you communicate. The more your lawyer knows about your current situation, the more likely this lawyer can help you fight DUI charges in Miami-Dade. Providing false information to your lawyer can be catastrophic when trying to get a DUI charge dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense. If you have a criminal record (whether such crimes were charged in Florida or another state), you must disclose this information to your lawyer.

Step 5 – Be sure to show up to all meetings and court dates on time, as instructed by your lawyer. Being late to a court hearing or failing to appear altogether may lead to a judge issuing a warrant for your arrest, which only adds another headache to a stressful criminal matter. Additionally, be respectful in court and make the best appearance possible. Dressing nice and being polite to all parties and the judge goes a long way.

Step 6 – Follow the instructions of your lawyer. Your lawyer has your best interests at heart and will fight endlessly to ensure your rights are protected. However, your lawyer can only do his/her best job when clients are cooperative and follow instructions. For example, if your lawyer says you cannot drive while the DUI matter is pending, do not drive your car or any other vehicle. Such an instruction may seem obvious, but many individuals facing DUI charges continue to drive when they should not. In some cases, individuals facing a first DUI defense may be allowed to drive in limited circumstances while a DUI matter is pending.

Step 7 – After evaluation of all facts available from you as well as the prosecution about your Miami-Dade DUI charge, your lawyer will determine whether grounds exist to seek dismissal of your DUI charges. Your criminal record will be a significant factor that your lawyer and prosecutors will consider when determining whether DUI charges should be dismissed or reduced.

Step 8 – Trust that your lawyer will do his/her best to help you avoid jail time and fines. Jail time is, by far, one of the worst penalties for a DUI conviction. If a DUI case involves bodily injuries or death, jail time may not be avoided unless the charge can be dismissed on legal grounds or if you are found “not guilty” at trial. However, for most DUI cases, which are often first offenses, jail time is avoidable so long as you comply with all requirements of an alternative program that withholds adjudication.

Protect Your Rights by Calling the Miami-Dade DUI Defense Lawyers of Musca Law Today

If you are facing DUI charges in Miami-Dade County or in any county throughout the State of Florida, you should act quickly to find a qualified DUI Defense Attorney who can thoroughly evaluate your situation and develop the best defense for the case. At Musca Law, our nationally-recognized trial lawyers handle all types of criminal matters in the state of Florida, including DUI cases. To learn what legal options you may have for fighting Florida DUI charges, contact Musca Law today to speak with a Miami-Dade DUI Defense Lawyer by calling (888) 484-5057.

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