DUI Defense Lawyers in Putnam County, Florida
Defending Against DUI Charges in Putnam County, Florida
For many of those facing driving under the influence, or DUI, charges in Putnam County, this is their first time being subject to the Florida criminal justice system. Without a doubt, being faced with DUI charges in Putnam County can be a scary experience, as navigating the court system can be highly challenging and complex. That is why it is critical to hire an experienced Putnam County DUI Defense Lawyer who is knowledgeable about the applicable law, one’s legal rights and interests, as well as one’s legal options.
In Putnam County, DUI cases are aggressively pursued, as prosecutors and law enforcement alike have the manifest goal of protecting the public from harm. There are also various DUI prevention campaigns that highlight the inherent risks of driving under the influence. While DUI cases in the United States have been on the decline over the past decade, there are still countless lives lost a year due to drug and/or alcohol impairment. Accordingly, it is vital that you take your DUI charges seriously and work alongside of a Putnam County DUI Defense Attorney to help defend you to the fullest extent of the law.
In several cases, there are ways in which to seek a reduction of charges or a complete dismissal of the case in order to avoid facing the various consequences associated with a DUI, which includes jail time, monetary fines, and more, as discussed more fully below. Knowing your legal options once charged with DUI in Putnam County is essential during each stage of one’s case. This will ensure that the individual subject to DUI charges will make educated decisions and stay informed during the pendency of his or her case. Contact a skilled Putnam County Criminal Defense Lawyer at Musca Law today by calling (888) 484-5057.
Florida DUI Charges: The Applicable Law and Associated Penalties
A person facing DUI charges in Putnam County must be fully aware of the difficulties that lie ahead and the serious consequences of being convicted in Putnam County. For example, a person who is charged with DUI manslaughter should understand that this is third-degree felony associated with a maximum five-year prison term and steep monetary fines.
In Florida, the legal driving limit is 0.08% of alcohol (one’s blood alcohol concentration or breath alcohol concentration, both of which may be referred to as one’s BAC) per volume of breath or blood. It is important to note that drug impairment cannot be measured like with alcohol, however, being visibly impaired by drugs can lead to an arrest and DUI charges.
Pursuant to Florida Statutes Section 316.193(1), the court may seek a conviction of an accused 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.
Keep in mind that a person can still be arrested if they have a BAC of 0.08%, even if he or she does not appear to be drunk or otherwise impaired. They can also be arrested for having a BAC of less than 0.08% while being visibly impaired by drugs and/or alcohol.
Law enforcement, should they suspect impairment, has the right to request that a person undergo a field sobriety test. This is one of law enforcement’s tests that they can use to determine whether a person is impaired. If a driver does not pass a field sobriety test, he or she can be arrested. Law enforcement may also place a person under arrest who is visibly impaired by drugs such as cannabis, or even prescription medications.
“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 statute means is that as soon as a person obtains a driver’s license in the State of Florida, he or she is deemed to have consented to any DUI testing that law enforcement may request. As a result of this law, it implies your consent to provide a blood, urine, or breath sample as well as to undergo a field sobriety test. Refusing to undergo same may lead to criminal sanctions, just as jail time and more.
Categories of DUI-Related Offenses
In Florida, the law treats DUI offenses differently, depending upon the type allegedly committed. Moreover, a person can also face more than one DUI conviction, which means that the penalties are more severe. The following outlines the DUI categories and the associated legal consequences:
- First DUI offense with a BAC of between 0.08% to 0.14% - this offense carries with it up to a six-month jail term and a monetary penalty no greater than $1,000.
- First DUI offense with minor passengers – this offense carries with it up to a nine-month jail term and a monetary penalty no greater than $2,000.
- First DUI offense with a BAC of 0.15% or more – this offense carries with it up to a nine-month jail term and a monetary penalty no greater than $2,000.
- Second DUI offense with a BAC between 0.08% and 0.14% - this offense carries with it a jail term of up to nine months and a monetary penalty no greater than $2,000.
- Second DUI offense with a BAC of 0.15% or more – this offense carries with it a jail term of up to one year and a monetary penalty not to exceed $4,000.
- Third DUI offense that occurred more than a decade from a prior DUI conviction – this offense carries with it a jail term not to exceed one year and a monetary penalty of up to $1,000.
- Third DUI offense that occurred less than a decade from a prior DUI conviction – this offense carries with it a jail term not to exceed five years and a monetary penalty of no greater than $5,000.
- Fourth DUI – this offense carries with it a jail term of up to five years and a monetary fine of no greater than $5,000. Keep in mind that even if a person was convicted of a DUI fifteen years ago, the timeline is no longer relevant. Meaning, that it doesn’t matter when the prior conviction occurred.
- DUI offense that results in property damage – this offense carries with it a maximum one-year jail term and a monetary penalty not to exceed $1,000.
- DUI offense that causes physical injury – this offense carries with it a prison sentence of up to five years and a monetary penalty of no greater than $5,000.
- DUI manslaughter – this offense carries with it a maximum of fifteen years in prison and a monetary fine of no greater than $15,000.
- DUI manslaughter with a failure to render aid (i.e., hit-and-run DUI resulting in death) – this carries with it a prison term of up to 30 years and a monetary fine not to exceed $10,000.
In Putnam County, Florida, DUI convictions, including those where aggravating factors are present, will result in serious consequences, professionally, legally, and personally. Specifically, this is why you should hire a skilled Putnam County DUI Defense Lawyer as soon as possible in order to safeguard your legal rights and interests, as well as to obtain information pertaining to the defenses that may be available in your case. Consult a skilled Putnam County DUI Defense Attorney as soon as possible in order to protect your life and livelihood.
Additional Consequences Associated with a DUI in Putnam County, Florida
Operators of vehicles who have been convicted of a Putnam County DUI may face collateral consequences in addition to jail time and monetary fines, including the following:
- Community Service;
- Mental health counseling;
- Vehicle impoundment;
- Substance abuse education;
- Loss of the use of a firearm and ammunition;
- The mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device in one’s vehicle;
- Mandatory drug and alcohol testing; and
- Driver’s license revocation, whether permanently or on a temporary basis.
It is important to realize that the repercussions of a DUI in Putnam County extend far beyond just the legal consequences associated therewith. Specifically, a convicted individual may experience difficulties in finding housing or obtaining gainful employment, as a DUI conviction permanently remains on one’s criminal record. A DUI can also negatively affects one’s credit score and the ability to attend an educational institution such as college or grad school.
Only a skilled Putnam County DUI Defense Lawyer will be able to advise a person charged with a DUI of their legal rights as well as review the potential ramifications associated with a DUI conviction, a plea deal, or taking the case to trial. Specifically, working with a seasoned attorney means that one’s rights will be safeguarded and that he or she will be informed as to all of his or her options during the pendency of the criminal case.
Dismissals and Criminal Convictions in Putnam County, Florida
Being charged with a DUI does not mean that the accused will be convicted, as there may be various defenses that are available in one’s case. Remember that the prosecutor must prove his or her case beyond a reasonable doubt, which is strict and requires solid evidence of guilt. If there is not enough evidence to secure a conviction, the presiding judge will dismiss the case.
There are other circumstances where a DUI case may be dismissed (or the charges reduced), including when police violate the legal rights of the accused that are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. For instance, if a person is not read his or her Miranda rights, any evidence obtained during the stop will likely be suppressed by the judge. Miranda rights are constitutionally guaranteed and are more than just a formality, as they are meant to safeguard an individual from unjust police tactics and false confessions.
If an alleged offender denies that he or she was under the influence at the time of his or her stop by law enforcement, there is the potential for him or her to challenge the accuracy of the tests (such as a Breathalyzer test) and/or the evidence presented by the prosecution.
It is important to realize that no attorney can guarantee a certain result in one’s case, however, hiring one will ensure that the accused will have the opportunity to present all defenses that may be available in his or her case.
In certain instances, there is no ability for the defense to have the charges dismissed, however, a skilled Putnam County DUI Defense Attorney can seek a reduction of the charges, which means that the corresponding penalties will be less severe. Keep in mind that there are cases where the prosecutor refuses to reduce the charges, which may result in a trial where the evidence and overall case are contested.
Your Legal Rights Following a DUI Arrest in Putnam County
When a person is arrested for being under suspicion for DUI, law enforcement may bring the alleged offender into custody and detain them for a certain period of time. Note that the arrested individual possess certain legal rights that are set forth in Florida Statutes Section 316.193(9). Under this law, law enforcement must release the individual from being detailed where:
- He or she is no longer displaying further signs of impairment;
- He or she has been in jail for a minimum of eight hours; or
- His or her BAC test shows that the level of impairment is less than 0,05%.
A person does possess valuable legal rights when charged with a DUI, of which many individuals are not aware. This is why it is critical to hire a skilled Putnam County DUI Defense Attorney to ensure that one’s legal rights are safeguarded to the fullest extent of the law. These rights protect a person from being taken advantage of by law enforcement. An attorney will also ensure that the accused is not alone when challenging the DUI charges that have been lodged against him or her.
It is Critical to Select the Right Legal Advocate to Represent You in Your Putnam County DUI Case
Trying to navigate the criminal process can be both complex and highly challenging, and may be replete with curve balls along the way. For instance, it takes a significant amount of time to fully grasp the ins and outs of the courtroom, the applicable law, and the defenses that may be raised in one’s case. People who choose to represent themselves in a DUI case face various risks, as taking the case to litigation involves a rubric of complicated rules. It is also highly risky to attempt to negotiate a plea deal without being aware of one’s legal options and rights.
In many cases, people opt out of paying for a private criminal defense attorney and seek the services of a public defender. While public defenders are typically experienced and highly competent attorneys, they often have heavy caseloads and simply do not have the resources necessary to successfully defend an accused in his or her DUI case. In other words, many public defenders do not have the resources that a private attorney does to handle a Putnam County DUI case.
Prior to retaining a Putnam County DUI Defense Lawyer, it is vital that the accused hire one that is skilled, experienced, and qualified to represent him or her. A lawyer who only has handled a couple of DUI cases in the past is not the ideal attorney to work with, as he or she may not have the experience necessary to raise a vigorous and successful defense strategy.
DUI Defense Representation in Putnam County, DUI at Musca Law
The team of seasoned Putnam DUI Defense Lawyers at Musca Law offers diligent, aggressive, and highly experienced legal representation when defending their clients. In fact, our legal advocates take on even the most complicated DUI cases such as DUI manslaughter and DUI hit-and-run cases involving death or physical injury. We take pride in the skilled services that our Putnam DUI Defense Attorneys offer and are proud of our efforts. Click here to learn to learn more about Musca Law’s track record of success.
Contact the Putnam County DUI Defense Lawyers at Musca Law Right Now
If you are facing DUI charges in Putnam County, you have legal rights and options. The attorneys at Musca Law have over 150 years of collective legal experience representing those charged with a DUI throughout the State of Florida. We leave no stone unturned, and fight aggressively to defend our clients who have been charged with any type of DUI-related offense. Call Musca Law today at (888) 484-5057 to learn more about your legal options.