Driving Under Influence (DUI) Defense Lawyers in Volusia County, Florida
DUI Laws, Punishments, and Strategies for Defending Your Volusia County DUI Charge
Driving under the influence in Volusia County, Florida, can reap havoc on your life if a law enforcement officer ever stopped you. One mistake is all it takes for a police officer to pull you over and start an investigation into drunk driving. Once that happens, the wheels of justice will start turning, and there is no way to stop them until you retain Volusia County DUI defense lawyers who have vast experience trying — and winning — DUI cases in Volusia County.
Getting arrested for DUI in Volusia County, Florida, could send your emotions out of control. You most certainly would experience some remorse (even if you were not intoxicated), regret, anger, and fear. Fear of the unknown is inevitable, and it could be overwhelming. A person arrested for DUI in Volusia County is faced with the prospect of incarceration, paying large fines, compulsory attendance in a drug or alcohol program, and losing his or her driver’s license, even if the person has never been arrested before. Moreover, a conviction for DUI in Volusia County could cause your auto insurance rates to spike, and you could experience financial difficulties and even lose your job. Additionally, a conviction for a first offense DUI in Volusia County will be used against you if you ever happened to be stopped for DUI again. Therefore, trying to take the fastest way out and eliminate the fear of the unknown by accepting punishment is not the best solution in every situation.
A person apprehended for DUI in Volusia County, Florida, must align himself or herself with a tireless advocate, a DUI defense attorney who has the knowledge, skill, and determination to achieve the best result possible for the person who faces DUI charges. The specifics of each case will dictate what the best result is in a particular situation. In some instances, an acquittal on all charges would be the best result; meanwhile, in other cases, the best result might be a plea bargain to a lesser sentence or reduced charges. Only through close consultation with your expert DUI defense lawyer from Volusia County will you be able to devise a winning defense strategy for your Volusia County DUI arrest.
Musca Law, one of Florida’s pre-eminent DUI defense law firms, will provide you and your family with aggressive representation for your Volusia County DUI charges. Musca Law’s Volusia County DUI defense attorneys have over 150 years of collective legal experience fighting for people who made a mistake by taking the wheel after drinking. We know that the person who gets stopped for DUI has most likely never been in trouble before and merely overestimated his or her ability to drive safely after having a couple of drinks. Call Volusia County DUI defense lawyers today at 888-484-5057 to acquire the representation you deserve. Do not compound your legal problems by trying to handle the case yourself.
DUI Law in Volusia County, Florida
Florida Statutes §316.193(1) defines the crime of DUI. As with every crime in Florida, the state attorney must prove each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. The jury instructions used in Florida establish two elements, or components, of the crime of DUI. The government, represented by the state attorney’s office, must prove beyond a reasonable doubt before a person accused of DUI could be convicted. The elements of DUI, according to 28.1 of the Florida Model Jury Instructions are:
- The person accused of DUI drove or had actual, rather than constructive, physical control over a vehicle, and
- While driving or having control over the vehicle, the accused:
- Was either under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, a chemical substance, and defined by Florida Statutes §877.111 or a controlled substance defined by Florida Statutes Chapter 893 to the degree that the person’s “normal faculties were impaired.” OR
- Had a blood or breath-alcohol (BAL) of .08 grams of alcohol for every 100 milliliters of blood or every 210 liters of breath.
The definition provided by the Court requires additional explanation. A vehicle is a device that moves or transports a person or property or a device that could be drawn on a highway, except those delivery devices designed for personal use, mobile carriers, and devise only used on stationary rails or upon tracks are not vehicles. The definition is overly broad and encompasses almost everything with a wheel from a bicycle to a tractor.
Physical control must be further defined. The accused has physical control, in this context, if he or she is in or on the vehicle with the capacity to operate the vehicle, even if the person is not operating the vehicle.
The phrase normal faculties is vague on its face and requires additional explanation as well. Normal faculties, as defined by Florida Statutes §316.1934(1), are the normal physical and mental functions of our daily lives such as walking, talking, hearing, seeing, drive, accurately judge distances, make sounds judgments, respond to emergencies, and any other activity that people normally perform.
The definition of DUI and its component parts are given to a jury who must deliberate on a verdict are extremely broad and prosecution-friendly, even though the government always retains the burden of proving every element of the charge of DUI beyond a reasonable doubt. Notwithstanding, a person accused of DUI in Volusia County represented a seasoned DUI attorney will have the ability to experience a level playing field and have the best chance to defeat the government’s case.
Penalties for First Offense DUI in Volusia County
A conviction for a first offense DUI charge could have very serious legal ramifications. A person convicted could serve up to six months in the county jail, pay a fine between $500.00 an $1000, and be placed on one-year probation. Probation could be imposed in place of jail. Typical terms of DUI probation are 50 hours of community service, and compulsory attendance at a drivers’ education course, payment and probation supervision fees, random alcohol test and urine screens, assessment by the probation department for substance abuse, and enter and complete substance abuse counseling if necessary. Failure to comply with any term of probation Could lead to incarceration.
The person charged with DUI will experience administrative license loss. The arresting law enforcement officer has the authority to suspend a person’s driver’s license administratively if the person takes a chemical test and provides a result that is at or greater than the legal limit or refuses to participate in the chemical test. The person who takes the chemical test but fails will receive a ten-day temporary license. Additionally, the judge who issues sentence after a conviction for a first offense DUI must order the suspension of the driver’s license for up to one year but in no event less than 180 days, pursuant to Florida Statutes §322.28. Moreover, the person convicted of a first offense DUI may be required to install an interlocking device on the ignition of the car the offender used most frequently, and the judge could order the car to be impounded.
Penalties for Second Offense DUI in Volusia County
A conviction for a first offense DUI follows a person everywhere. Therefore, if the individual is charged again with another DUI offense, then the person faces enhanced penalties for each subsequent offense. A person convicted of does you why for the second time in Florida faces up to nine months in the County jail, with a minimum sentence of 10 days committed if the previous conviction occurred within the last five years. The court could also impose fines that could be as high as $2000, but will not be any less than $1000. Also, the mandatory license suspension increases too one year, and the court will order the offender to install, at the offender’s sole expense, an ignition interlock device for up to two years. Furthermore, the judge must order the vehicle driven by the offender during the incident to be impounded.
Florida law gives the convicted offender credit toward any jail sentence to which the accused was sentenced for time spent in an inpatient rehabilitation facility for drugs or alcohol while awaiting trial.
Penalties for a Third Offense DUI in Volusia County
A conviction for a third offense DUI could be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the timing of the previous convictions. The person convicted of three DUI offenses could face up to five years in state prison for committing a third-degree felony if the previous conviction the current within ten years of the most recent DUI conviction. Conversely, the offender will be guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor if the previous conviction falls outside of the ten-year lookback window. A person convicted of a first-degree misdemeanor in Volusia County could serve up to one year in the County jail along with fines that cannot exceed $5000 but will be no less than $2000. Furthermore, the court must order the offender to 30 days in jail or prison if convicted of a third offense DUI. Also, the driver’s license of the offender will be suspended for ten years, and the court will impound the vehicle as well.
Penalties for a Fourth or Subsequent Offense in Volusia County
Any person convicted of a fourth or subsequent DUI offense is guilty of a third-degree felony. The maximum sentence is five years in the state’s prison, and the judge must water at least 30 days to be served. The driver’s license, any person convicted of a fourth or subsequent offense for DUI shall be revoked for life. However, the offender could apply for reinstatement.
It must be noted that DUI convictions from other jurisdictions in Florida, as well as convictions in other states, can be used as evidence to charge an offender with a subsequent offense. As a result, you must do everything you can to avoid a conviction for the first DUI offense.
Enhanced DUI Penalties in Volusia County
Section 316.193 of the Florida Statutes includes enhanced penalties for aggravated DUI crimes. Anyone who provides a chemical test that exceeds .15 could be charged with aggravated DUI. Similarly, anyone who is convicted of driving under the influence with a person under 18 in the car also faces enhanced penalties. For a first offense aggravated DUI, the maximum jail sentence is nine months and a fine of up to $2000 but no less than $1000. The person convicted of a second offense aggravated DUI could be jailed for up to one year and ordered to have a fine between $2,000 and $4,000. Any subsequent offense carries a fine of at least $4,000, but the offender will be subject to incarceration in the state prison for a third-degree felony.
Accidents caused by a person operating under the influence allow the government to pursue enhanced penalties as well. The person driving under the influence, which causes an accident resulting in minor personal injury or property damage, faces a first-degree misdemeanor conviction, even if the charge is the individual’s first-ever criminal offense. A person who is driving under the influence and causes a collision that inflicts serious bodily injury faces a conviction for a third-degree felony.
The most serious DUI-related offense pertains to DUI manslaughter. DUI manslaughter is a second-degree felony in Florida and carries a maximum prison sentence of fifteen years, with a four-year minimum mandatory prison sentence. Furthermore, the person convicted of DUI manslaughter will have his or her driver’s license revoked permanently. However, the offender can seek reinstatement of his or her driver’s license upon completion of requirements imposed by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
Obtaining a Temporary Driver’s License after Volusia County DUI Arrest
Florida’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (“the Department”) has the sole authority to reinstate a driver’s license after an arrest for DUI or a conviction for DUI. The Department could issue a business license, which might be referred to as a Cinderella license or a hardship license, to people who lost their licenses to administrative suspension for failing a chemical test or refusing a chemical test.
A person under 21-years-of-age who suffers an administrative suspension will not be eligible for reinstatement because of Florida’s “Zero-Tolerance” policy unless the offender satisfies particular educational requirements and waits at least 30 days before applying for a business license.
The hardship license requirements for adults are similar to underage drinkers, with notable a notable exception. The adult offender must satisfy all educational requirements and wait to apply for a hardship license. The waiting period will differ if the person failed the test or refused a chemical test. The person who failed the chemical test must wait 30 days before applying for a hardship license. However, the person who refused to take a chemical test must wait 90 days.
The person who suffered administrative license loss has the chance to appeal the officer’s decision. The appeal is a civil matter and has no direct bearing on the criminal proceedings. However, appealing the officer’s decision to suspend a driver’s license administratively allows the defense to develop a sound and effective defense strategy and could expose weaknesses in the government’s case that might allow you to defeat the charges.
The person whose driver’s license was suspended administratively only has ten days to file the appeal. A person should never represent himself or herself in this matter. The accused has a right against self-incrimination, and speaking about the incident to anyone expect legal counsel is dangerous because the statement could be used at trial to prove the accused guilty. Instead, contact a knowledgeable DUI defense lawyer immediately after your arrest to learn about your rights and how to protect them best.
Volusia County DUI Defense Strategies
The best defense against a DUI charge in Volusia County will depend on the situation at hand. The best defense strategy is the one that minimizes your exposure to the harsh consequences of a conviction for DUI or results in an acquittal. The chances of an acquittal cannot be predicted in advance. However, a thorough and honest discussion with your Volusia County DUI defense attorney will provide insight into your chances of winning at trial.
One strategy is to negotiate with the prosecution for a favorable plea bargain. For people charged with a first offense DUI, the prosecution might offer a plea bargain to a crime referred to as “wet reckless.” A plea to a wet reckless charge avoids the consequences of having a first strike on the offender’s record while satisfying the prosecution’s goal of compelling the person to enter into drivers’ educational courses and suffer license loss, in addition to possible incarceration.
Defense tactics do not need to happen in isolation. Sometimes the better course of action is to challenge the constitutionality of the arresting law enforcement officer’s actions. A constitutional violation could result in the judge ordering all evidence against the accused to be suppressed from trial and, as a result, will force the prosecution in most circumstances to dismiss the case.
Taking the case to trial is another option. There is never a guarantee as to how a jury will rule in a particular case. Therefore, it is important to have an in-depth conversation with a knowledgeable and experienced DUI defense attorney to ascertain the best course of action for you. At trial, Your attorney can Rip apart the prosecution’s case by showing that the police officer exaggerated your performance on field sobriety test, exaggerated how poorly you drove, and also demonstrate that the police officer has no idea how to administer a field sobriety test correctly or what the field sobriety test results mean. Moreover, a savvy DUI defense lawyer will know how to attack the chemical tests. The chemical tests are valid only if they are administered properly, the results are obtained are reliable, and the results are properly interpreted. Any failure to conduct the test properly is grounds to ask the jury to disregard the results of the test.
Aggressive DUI Defense in Volusia County
Contact Musca Law today at 888-484-5057 to speak with our aggressive and successful Daytona Beach DUI defense lawyers. We know that being arrested for DUI in Volusia County has thrown your life into turmoil. We are here to help. We promise to walk you through each juncture of the process while exhaustively working to achieve justice for you and your family.