DUI Defense Lawyers in Nassau County, Florida
Defending Against DUI Charges in Nassau County, Florida
For several individuals who face driving under the influence, or DUI, charges in Nassau County, this is their first exposure to the criminal justice system. Undoubtedly, facing DUI charges is a frightening experience and having to navigate the court’s system is certainly not easy, as the stakes are extremely high. An experienced Nassau County DUI Defense Attorney is in the best position to defend those accused of DUI in order to safeguard one’s legal rights and interests.
In Nassau County, DUI cases are heavily prosecuted, as law enforcement and the prosecution desire to keep the public safe from harm. There are also several aggressive DUI prevention campaigns that highlight the risks of driving while impaired. The good news is that DUI cases across the United States is on the decline. However, over 10,000 individuals die due to accidents resulting from drivers who are impaired, whether by alcohol, drugs, or both. As such, it is critical that you take your DUI charges seriously and hire a skilled Nassau County DUI Defense Lawyer to help you to prepare the strongest defense case possible.
In several instances, there are ways in which to have one’s charges reduced and to avoid the serious criminal repercussions associated with a conviction, including monetary fines and imprisonment. Having knowledge of the options available to you will assist you in being able to make educated decisions and remain informed during the pendency of your case. Contact an experienced Nassau County Criminal Defense Attorney at Musca Law today by calling (888) 484-5057.
Florida DUI Charges: The Law and Associated Penalties
A person who is the subject of DUI charges in Nassau County must be aware of the challenges that lie ahead and the repercussions associated with a DUI conviction. For instance, a person who has been convicted of a felony DUI may face an extended prison term (such as decades in prison), steep monetary fines, and more.
In Nassau County and the State of Florida as a whole, the legal limit is 0.08% of alcohol per volume, whether the sample is obtained through a breathalyzer or a blood test. Keep in mind that although drug impairment cannot be measured like with alcohol, driving under the influence of drugs can lead to an arrest and corresponding DUI charges.
Under Florida Statutes Section 316.193(1), the court may convict an alleged offender if (i) the operator, at the time of arrest, controlled the vehicle; (ii) the operator had a BAC of 0.08%; and/or (iii) the operator’s normal faculties were impaired by drugs and/or alcohol.
If an individual is found to have a BAC of 0.08% or more, even if it does not appear that his or her normal faculties are impaired, he or she can be deemed as driving under the influence and placed under arrest. Keep in mind that law enforcement, if they suspect that a driver is impaired due to drugs and/or alcohol, can request that the driver undergo what is known as field sobriety test. A field sobriety test is used by police to determine whether he or she is driving under the influence. If a driver fails the test, then he or she will be arrested and taken into custody. There are some instances where a person passes a breathalyzer test and demonstrates impairment, which gives police the discretion to place the individual under arrest. Law enforcement can also arrest a person who demonstrates impairment due to other substances such as cannabis, or even a prescription drug.
“Implied Consent” Law for DUI Tests in Florida
Pursuant to Florida Statutes §316.1932, “[a]ny person who accepts the privilege extended by the laws of this state of operating a motor vehicle within this state is, by so operating such vehicle, deemed to have given his or her consent to submit to an approved chemical test or physical test including, but not limited to, an infrared light test of his or her breath for the purpose of determining the alcoholic content of his or her blood or breath if the person is lawfully arrested for any offense allegedly committed while the person was driving or was in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcoholic beverages.”
What this means is that as soon as you obtain a driver’s license in Florida, you have given your consent to undergo DUI testing when asked. This is known as Florida’s “implied consent” law. Although not as common, this law also implies that you have already given your consent to provide a blood or urine sample to law enforcement. Due to the implied consent law, a person who refuses to test when asked may face criminal penalties, including jail time and more.
Florida Categories of DUI-Related Offenses
The law in Florida treats DUIs differently, depending upon the offense that was allegedly committed. Also, a person can face multiple-DUI convictions, which causes the criminal penalties to be enhanced, meaning, that they become more serious. The below highlights the categories of DUIs in Florida and the associated criminal repercussions:
- First-time DUI offense of a BAC ranging between 0.08% to 0.14% - this is associated with a maximum six-month term in jail and a monetary fine not to exceed $1,000.
- First-time offense DUI offense with passengers in the vehicle who are minors (under the age of eighteen) – this is an offense that results in a jail sentence of up to nine months and a monetary fine of up to $2,000.
- First-time DUI offense of a BAC of 0.15% or greater – this is associated with a maximum jail term of nine months and a monetary fine not to exceed $2,000.
- Second-time DUI offense of a BAC ranging between 0.08% to 0.14% - this is associated with a jail term of up to nine months and a monetary fine not to exceed $2,000.
- Second-time offense of a BAC of 0.15% or greater – this is associated with a one-year jail term and a monetary fine of up to $4,000.
- Third-time DUI offense that occurred over ten years from a previous DUI conviction – this is associated with a jail term not to exceed one year and a maximum monetary penalty of $1,000.
- Third-time DUI offense that occurred less than ten years from a previous DUI conviction – this is associated with a maximum five-year jail term and a monetary fine not to exceed $5,000.
- Fourth-time DUI offense – if a person faces a fourth time DUI, then the timeline is no longer relevant. Even if the third DUI conviction was twelve years ago, the driver will face a prison term of up to five years and a monetary penalty not to exceed $5,000.
- DUI offense resulting in damage to property – this is associated with a jail term of up to one year and a maximum $1,000 monetary fine.
- DUI resulting in physical harm – this is associated with a prison term of up to five years and a monetary penalty not to exceed $5,000.
- DUI manslaughter – this is associated with a maximum fifteen-year prison term and a monetary fine not to exceed $15,000.
- DUI manslaughter/failure to render aid (i.e., hit-and-run) – this is associated with up to thirty years in prison along with a fine of no greater than $10,000.
In Nassau County, Florida, any DUI, including those with aggravating factors, will result in serious legal and personal repercussions. If you have been charged with a DUI in Nassau County, it is critical that you contact a skilled Nassau County DUI Defense Attorney as soon as possible in order to preserve your legal rights and interests, as well as to learn more about the defenses that may be available in your case. Only an attorney is in the best position to guide you through the criminal process and advise you of your legal options.
Additional Repercussions of a DUI in Nassau County, Florida
Vehicle operators who are convicted of DUI in Nassau County may face additional consequences far beyond monetary fines and time in jail. Keep in mind that the charges may be reduced if a person pleads to less serious offenses, however, there are still collateral consequences that follow. These include the following:
- Mandatory mental health counseling;
- Community service;
- Impoundment of one’s vehicle;
- Educational counseling on substance abuse;
- A revoked driver’s license, whether temporary or on a permanent basis;
- The loss of second amendment rights;
- An ignition interlock device that is required to be installed in one’s vehicle; and
- Mandatory alcohol and drug testing.
Keep in mind that the consequences of a DUI extend far beyond just the associated legal repercussions. It may be challenging to find gainful employment and housing, as the charges will appear on a person’s background check. A DUI conviction can also affect a person’s credit score and he or she may find difficulty in being accepted to an institute of higher education.
Only a skilled Nassau County DUI Defense Attorney will be able to advise you of your legal options and review with you the ramifications of a DUI conviction, a plea deal, or going to trial, if necessary. Working alongside of a skilled attorney means that your rights will be safeguarded and you will be educated as to all of your options during the entire criminal proceeding. Don’t wait, contact the highly experienced lawyers at Musca Law today.
Dismissals and Criminal Convictions in Nassau County, Florida
Facing DUI charges does not necessarily mean that the alleged offender will be convicted. There are various options when it comes to defenses that may be available in one’s case. Remember that the prosecution must prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, which is strict and requires solid evidence of guilt. If there is insufficient evidence to secure a conviction, the presiding judge will dismiss the case.
There are other instances where a DUI case may be dismissed (or the charges reduced), including when law enforcement violates the accused’s constitutionally-protected rights. For example, evidence of impairment may be suppressed in a case where police did not advise the accused of his or her Miranda rights. A failure to read a person’s Miranda rights is more than just a technicality, as they are intended to protect an individual from false confessions or unjust tactics.
If the accused denies the allegations of being impaired, whether by drugs or alcohol, there is the potential to challenge the evidence or even the accuracy of the tests (i.e., a field sobriety test was conducted on a person with a physical handicap, rendering the results inaccurate and unfair).
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.
Keep in mind that an attorney cannot guarantee a given result in a case however, hiring one will ensure that all available defenses to the DUI case are aggressively pursued.
In certain cases, there is no way to obtain a dismissal of the charges. In these set of circumstances, the best approach would be for a skilled Nassau DUI Defense Attorney to seek a reduction of the charges where the penalties will be less. There are instances where the prosecutor refuses to reduce the charges, which may result in the case going to trial.
What Your Legal Rights are Following an Arrest
When an individual is placed under arrest for DUI, the police will take him or her into custody and detain them for a certain time period. The arrested individual has certain legal rights in this regard, that are set forth in Florida Statutes Section 316.193(9). Under this statutory section, the police must release a person from jail when:
- The person is no longer visibly impaired;
- The individual has been in jail for at least eight hours or more; or
- The BAC test evinces that the individual’s BAC is less than 0.05%.
The law does provide for various levels of protection for those accused of DUI. Many people are not aware of what their rights are, which is why it is important to contact a skilled Nassau DUI Defense Lawyer in order to ensure that one’s legal rights are safeguarded throughout the pendency of his or her case. Specifically, working with an attorney is the best path to take as he or she can ensure that law enforcement does not take advantage of him or her. An attorney will also ensure that the alleged offender is not alone in facing the charges that were filed against him or her.
It is Vital to Select the Right Attorney to Represent You in Your Nassau County DUI Case
Navigating the criminal process in court can be both challenging and complex. Specifically, it takes a significant amount of experience and time to fully understand the ins and outs of the court system, the laws, and the defenses that may be available. Keep in mind that you can choose to engage in self-representation however, this is a decision that is replete with risks, as taking a case to trial involves a rubric of complicated rules. It is also risky to try and negotiate a plea deal without being aware of your legal rights and options.
In many instances, people do not want to pay for a private attorney and decide to pursue the services of a public defender. It is important to realize that while a public defender may be highly competent and experienced, they often carry heavy caseloads and lack the resources available to a private defense counsel.
Before hiring a Nassau County DUI Defense Lawyer, it is critical to ensure that he or she is highly qualified and experienced in handling DUI cases in Florida. An attorney who only who has handled a few DUI cases is not sufficiently competent to successfully represent those facing DUI charges in Nassau County.
DUI Defense Representation in Nassau County, DUI at Musca Law
The attorneys at Musca provide aggressive, diligent, and highly experienced legal representation to their clients. In fact, our team of Nassau County Criminal Defense Attorneys provide skilled representation to those who are facing all types of criminal charges, including aggravated DUI charges such as DUI manslaughter and DUI hit-and-runs. We take pride in the skilled services that our Nassau DUI Defense Attorneys offer and are proud of our efforts. Click here to learn to learn more about our track record of success.
Contact the Nassau County DUI Defense Lawyers at Musca Law Right Now
At Musca Law, we take pride in our dedication, knowledge, and skills in representing clients facing all types of criminal charges, including all types of DUI matters, regardless of how serious or complex. Our team of seasoned Nassau County DUI Defense Lawyers are aggressive legal advocates who fight for the legal rights and interests of each of each and every client. In fact, our lawyers have over 150 years of collective legal experience representing criminal defendants facing DUI charges. Contact Musca Law today at (888) 484-5057 to learn more about your legal options. Don’t wait, as your life, freedom and livelihood are at stake.