DUI Defense Lawyers in Osceola County, Florida
Laws, Charges, Punishments, and Legal Defenses for Osceola County Driving Under Influence (DUI) of Alcohol or Drugs
The Office of the State Attorney for the Ninth Judicial District prosecutes DUI cases in both Orange County and Osceola County in the State of Florida. The State Attorney for the 9th Judicial District in Florida has a reputation for being a tough, no-nonsense prosecutor, particularly crimes involving DUI offenses. The Osceola prosecutor's office typically seeks maximum jail sentences, large fines, and strict terms with probation, to severely punish those individuals who are convicted of Driving Under the Influence as a means to discourage additional criminal conduct and to convey a tough and resolute message to the public that the State Attorney for the Ninth Judicial District deems drunk driving intolerable.
DUI is the only one of the few driving offenses where an individual could be arrested. Florida Statutes §316.193 establishes the criminal charge of Driving Under the Influence (DUI). Under Florida Statute §316.193, a defendant will be convicted of DUI should the state's attorney prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- The individual arrested was operating, driving, or exercising physical control over a motor vehicle; and
- At such time was under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, under the influence of a substance outlined in Florida Statutes §877.111, or after consuming any controlled substances defined in Florida Statutes Chapter 893, or, alternatively,
- Had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 grams or more of alcohol for every 100 milliliters of blood, or has a BAC of 0.08 grams or higher of alcohol for every 210 liters of breath while driving, operating, or having physical control over a motorized vehicle.
If you or a loved one have been arrested for a DUI, align yourself with a tough and experienced Osceola County DUI defense lawyer from Musca Law. Our attorneys work hard to help you dodge the serious consequences of driving when you had "one too many." The Osceola County DUI lawyers at Musca Law have significant experience, and we guide our clients toward the most successful DUI defenses to help you get your license reinstated, get your life back on track, and move on with your life.
The Penalties of a DUI Conviction in Osceola County, Florida
The severity of the penalties that a judge will impose upon a person who is convicted of driving under the influence in Osceola County, Florida, depends on several factors. These factors include the severity of the offense, the nature of the offense, the scope of the accused's previous criminal history, and other considerations.
DUI First Offense in Osceola County, Florida
The punishments established in Florida Statute §316.193 to punish an individual convicted for DUI are often extremely harsh. Fortunately, a first-time DUI offense is not punished with a minimum mandatory jail sentence unless the charges include aggravating circumstances. For a first offense DUI, the judge may sentence the defendant up to six months in the Osceola County jail. The judge has the option to sentence the defendant as he or she thinks is fitting to the crime. Therefore, judges often consider the defendant's criminal history to determine whether an alternative to jail, such as probation or maybe a better option instead of incarceration. The DUI case's circumstances will also play an important role in helping the judge to decide the most suitable sentence for a first-time offender.
In addition to sentencing a defendant to a maximum of six months at the Osceola County jail, the judge might order the defendant to be placed on probation for up to one year, order the defendant to complete community service, and pay a legal fine of between $500.00 and $1000.00. Also, the court will suspend the defendant's driver's license for up to one year, but no fewer than 180 days as required by Florida Statute §322.28. Lastly, the court could order the offender to attend substance abuse counseling, report to a probation officer each month, and have an interlock ignition device installed on the defendant's car.
Second Offense DUI in Osceola County, Florida
The components of a second offense DUI offense in Osceola County, Florida, are identical for a first-time DUI offense, except that the prosecution asserts that the defendant has committed the crime of DUI once before. The penalties in a second DUI offense escalates because of the prior offense. The second-time DUI defendant faces a jail sentence of up to nine months in the Osceola County jail. Additionally, the court may impose legal fines ranging from $1000.00 to $2000.00, and the court may require the defendant to install an ignition interlock device on their car for up to one year. In addition, the defendant's driver's license could be suspended for one year, and the judge could impose probation with mandatory substance abuse counseling.
Third Offense DUI in Osceola County, Florida
If a defendant is arrested for a third offense DUI in Osceola County, Florida, he or she could be charged with a felony in the third-degree. A third-degree felony DUI conviction might be punished with up to five years in state prison if the DUI conviction occurred within ten years of the defendant's most recent DUI conviction. However, if the interval between a second DUI conviction and the third DUI conviction is more than ten years, the DUI charge will be a first-degree misdemeanor. A first-degree misdemeanor is punished with no more than one year in the Osceola County jail and a fine between $2000.00 to $5000.00. An individual convicted of a third DUI offense, he or she will be required to install an ignition interlock device on their car for two years or longer. The defendant's driver's license will be suspended for up to ten years.
Fourth DUI Offense or Greater in Osceola County, Florida
If a defendant is charged with his or her fourth or greater DUI offense, the defendant will be charged with third-degree felony DUI. Any individual found guilty for a fourth time DUI might be sentenced to five years in state prison regardless of when their last DUI conviction occurred. Furthermore, the fourth time DUI defendant will lose their driver's license for life. However, the defendant's driver's license might be reinstated under certain circumstances, and only if the State of Florida approves the defendant's application for a hardship license.
Enhanced Penalties for "Aggravated DUI" in Osceola County, Florida
In the State of Florida, enhanced penalties do not only apply to multiple DUI convictions. Florida laws established enhanced penalties for aggravating factors. By way of example, if the driver's BAC sample is more than 0.15%, he or she may be subject to enhanced penalties. The offense of having a BAC sample of more than 0.15% is punishable with additional jail time and the installation of an ignition interlock device.
A person who is driving under the influence and causes an accident that results in property damage will be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor, even if this is the defendant's first offense. If a driver under the influence causes an accident that causes serious bodily injury to someone else will be charged with a third-degree felony under Florida law. Lastly, the State of Florida charges DUI manslaughter as a second-degree felony. An individual convicted of a second-degree felony in Florida could receive up to 15 years in a Florida state prison, receive a fine up to $15,000 fine, receive probation, and a lifetime driver's license suspension.
Administrative Penalties in Florida
The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles ("the Department") is the state agency that is in charge of drivers' licenses in Florida. Florida law authorizes the Department to suspend an individual's driver's license before the defendant's criminal case under certain circumstances. Those circumstances include refusal or failure to take a chemical test, the defendant has prior DUI arrests, the driver driving under the influence who under the age of 21 years, and other factors.
Obtaining a Temporary Driver's License in Osceola County, Florida
Florida law empowers the Department to give hardship licenses, also known as work permits, or Cinderella licenses, in certain circumstances. A driver who is under 21 years of age and is charged with DUI is not eligible to obtain a hardship license due to Florida's zero-tolerance law even if the driver's chemical test result is under the "legal limit."
A driver, 21 years of age or older, who receives an administrative suspension of his or her driver's license, can appeal the decision. The application for an appeal must be submitted promptly. Florida law only allows a ten-day window to file an appeal with the Department.
The DUI Defense Procedure in Osceola County, Florida
A DUI arrest in Osceola County, Florida, is typically initiated when a law enforcement officer witnesses the accused driving or the officer is responding to a traffic accident. The law enforcement officer's suspicion typically begins when the law enforcement officer witnesses the accused driving carelessly by braking erratically, weaving, speeding up and then slowing down without reason, or almost crashing.
Law enforcement officers are trained to look for particular signs that a driver is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Law enforcement officers understand that a suspect under the influence will have slow, slurred speech and have glassy and bloodshot eyes. Moreover, law enforcement officers watch out for signs that the driver's coordination is impaired. Law enforcement officers are trained to observe the driver as he or she reaches their driver's license and proof of insurance.
If the law enforcement officer concludes that the driver has been drinking alcohol, the law enforcement officer will order the defendant to step out of the car and ask the driver to submit to field sobriety tests and a breath test. The law enforcement officer will evaluate the driver's performance on the field sobriety tests. The officer observes how the driver follows directions, comprehends instructions, listens, and performs field sobriety tests.
Field sobriety tests, also known as "divided attention tests," are good ways to determine if the individual is coordinated enough to drive. Many medical, physical, and emotional conditions make conducting field sobriety tests difficult, if not impossible, for a driver. Field sobriety tests demand balance and hand-eye coordination, which are essential abilities necessary to operate a car.
The police officer has the authorization to place the driver under arrest once the officer believes there is enough probable cause to find the driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Usually, prior to the arrest, the law enforcement officer will order the driver to perform a breath test.
Florida enacted an implied consent law. Implied consent means that every driver who is lawfully operating a vehicle on a public road in Florida automatically consents to take a blood or breath test once ordered by a police officer who has probable cause to place the driver under arrest for DUI. A law enforcement officer may also take a sample by force if needed. A person who refuses to submit to a breath test will receive an automatic administrative driver's license suspension for one year.
A driver who was arrested for DUI in Osceola County, Florida, has legal rights. The arrestee possesses the legal right to make a phone call and arrange for someone to post their bail. Florida law mandates that the alleged drunk driver to remain in police custody until their BAC falls below 0.05%, or eight (8) hours have passed since being arrested, whichever event happens first.
The DUI defendant will receive his or her notice of their court date when released from police custody. The first court hearing is the arraignment hearing, and the defendant will enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. The judge will ask the accused if he or she has a lawyer should the defendant appear without an attorney at the arraignment.
A skilled DUI defense attorney in Osceola County, Florida, will review the circumstances of the case and review the details to devise a winning strategy for their client. If this is the defendant's first offense, and there are no enhanced penalties, there is a good chance of negotiating the criminal charge down to a lesser offense known as "wet reckless."
In many cases, it is better to file a motion to suppress, which will prevent some of the prosecution's evidence from being used in the DUI trial. Motions to suppress might argue that the law enforcement officer had justification for stopping the defendant, the officer failed didn't read the Miranda warning to the defendant, or the statements made by the accused were coerced.
Arguing a motion to suppress is often a great defense tactic because the defense can expose the prosecution's case weaknesses. The prosecutor may see that their case is weak and offer a solid plea deal that reduces the charge.
Common DUI Defenses in Osceola County, Florida
Positioning a strong defense against a DUI charge in Osceola County demands a meticulous examination of all the circumstances encompassing the arrest. A constitutional mistake perpetrated by the law enforcement officer or the prosecution will require the judge to suppress much of the prosecution's evidence or dismiss the case. Suppressing the prosecutor's evidence might lead to the dismissal of the case because of a lack of evidence the prosecution can present at trial, or the approved motion to suppress might considerably weaken the government's case.
Should none of the prosecutor's evidence be suppressed, the legal standard the prosecutor is held to by the courts in Florida can be insurmountable. A skilled, experienced, and highly trained DUI defense attorney in Osceola County, Florida, understand how to reveal the deficiencies of the government's case to the benefit of his or her client. Also, an aggressive, seasoned DUI defense attorney from Osceola County, Florida, will know how to attack expert testimony and prove that breath tests, blood tests, and field sobriety tests are only effective when the test administer follows the test's strict protocols. If the test administrator does not follow those strict rules while performing the test, the DUI trial jury might find that the test results are not reliable, and the test results should be ignored.
An experienced DUI defense attorney who has experienced notable success defending clients from their DUI charges in Osceola County will understand how to face the prosecution's witnesses and persuade the jury that the state attorney's evidence is misleading, weak, and unreliable. If a jury does not find the prosecution's evidence meets the burden of proof, the defendant will be found not guilty, and he or she can go on living their life.
Aggressive, Experienced Osceola County DUI Defense Lawyers
Call Musca Law at 888-524-5057 to learn about your legal rights and to begin defending your Osceola County DUI charges. Our Osceola County DUI defense lawyers will devise a legally sound, aggressive defense to help you keep your job, protect your driver's license, maintain your freedom, and defend your way of life. Make no mistake and place a call to Musca Law today!