Gainesville DUI Lawyers
More Than 150 Years of Combined DUI Defense Practice
Gainesville DUI lawyers at Musca Law are here to help with real information about drunk driving laws. People facing Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charges in Alachua County or the Gainesville, Florida area can learn more about Statute 316.193 here. This information can help people charged with such an offense figure out how best to proceed with their case.
DUI Defense Lawyers in Gainesville, FL
When someone has been arrested and charged with a DUI, it is a good idea for them to discuss their criminal case with an experienced Gainesville DUI Defense Lawyer as quickly as possible. There are certain time limits to protect a person’s driving privileges. Our DUI defense firm in Gainesville, Florida offers a no-cost initial case review to discuss the case and the defense options available. Our legal professionals have extensive experience dealing with clients who have been charged with DUI offenses that include:
- First-Time Offense
- Second DUI Offense
- Felony DUI
- Drug DUI
- Underage DUI
- Boating Under the Influence (BUI)
- DUI Manslaughter
- Commercial Driver’s License DUI
Gainesville DUI Attorneys – Driving Under the Influence in Gainesville (DUI) [Florida Statute 316.193]
Musca Law criminal defense attorneys have determined that Florida Statutes Section 316.193 governs the offense of driving under the influence in Gainesville. What constitutes a DUI offense will depend on the facts and circumstances of a case, but some of the factors that are taken into consideration when charging someone with a DUI include:
- Whether the person had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher.
- Whether they were impaired to a degree by alcohol and/or drugs.
- Whether they were driving a vehicle or in physical control of it.
- Whether property damage was caused as a result of the DUI.
- Whether another individual sustained serious or fatal injuries as a result of the DUI.
- Whether the individual has been convicted of a previous DUI.
Driving Under the Influence Defense Attorneys in Gainesville, Florida
DUI Penalties, Fines and Jail Time
People convicted of a DUI in Gainesville can be penalized in a variety of ways that include criminal penalties such as fines and jail time, as well as administrative penalties like the DMV’s suspension of their driver’s license. A DUI conviction can also adversely affect someone’s ability to do certain things that many individuals take for granted such as the ability to rent housing, obtain a student loan, or obtain or keep employment. Other consequences of a first-time DUI conviction can include:
- A substance abuse course.
- Mandatory use of an ignition interlock device.
- Impoundment of your vehicle for ten days.
- Community service.
Convicted of 2nd DUI in Gainesville, What Happens?
If a person is convicted of a second DUI within five years of the first one, they can expect a minimum jail sentence of ten days and can be subject to more severe penalties than they received for the first offense. If certain facts and circumstances existed at the time of the offense, the individual can face even harsher penalties. For example, if they had a minor in the vehicle at the time of the DUI, their BAC was higher than .15%, or they caused property damage, they may be subject to longer jail sentences and higher fines.
Gainesville Felony DUI Lawyers
Our criminal and DUI defense attorneys advise that driving under the influence offenses are usually viewed as misdemeanor offenses in Gainesville. However, there are some instances where an individual might be charged with a felony DUI. Under Florida law, a person can be charged with a felony DUI if:
- There have been two other DUIs within the last five years;
- The offense is the fourth or subsequent DUI;
- Another individual is severely or fatally injured by the DUI.
Based on our experience, felony DUIs are typically charged as third-degree felonies where the penalties can include up to five years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. A felony DUI conviction can also result in being labeled as a Habitual Traffic Offender which can mean the loss of an individual’s driving privileges for five years.
Gainesville Defense Lawyers – DUI Manslaughter
Another felony DUI offense in Gainesville is DUI manslaughter. This occurs when another individual is killed as a result of the DUI. DUI manslaughter is considered a second-degree felony, in which penalties can include up to fifteen years in jail. If the accused left the scene of a DUI manslaughter, they may face first-degree felony charges where a conviction can result in up to thirty years in jail.
(BUI) Boating Under the Influence Lawyers in Gainesville, Florida
Boating Under the Influence in Gainesville, Florida
Under Gainesville Florida law, it is possible to be charged with boating under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Section 327.35 of the Florida Statutes governs the elements of and penalties associated with BUI offenses in Florida. According to the law, if it can be established that a person operated a vessel while impaired by or under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they can be convicted of a BUI. A first-time BUI offense can result in up to six months in jail, and if the particular circumstances of the case warrants it, or if there is a criminal history, the person can be subject to tougher penalties.
We Are Focused on Your DUI Defense
When we are fighting your DUI charge in court, we take an aggressive approach to requesting and contesting pre-trial motions. Some of these pre-trial motions include:
- motions to dismiss unfair prejudicial or unnecessary evidence
- motions to dismiss unsubstantiated charges due to lack of evidence
- motions to quash evidence unlawfully seized by law enforcement
These pre-trial motions request that the judge either toss out the evidence against you or, better yet, dismiss the DUI charge altogether. Pre-trial motions are significant because should the judge rule that a portion of the evidence against you may not be entered at the trial, then the prosecutor could elect to drop your charges or decrease the DUI to a less severe charge, like reckless driving.
If your case does end up going to trial, pretrial motions will be exceptionally helpful in excluding any extraneous or prejudicial testimony. By eliminating that evidence before your trial, you will likely increase the probability of receiving a verdict of not guilty. Ensuring your best possibility of a not guilty verdict in your case frequently depends on the result of these types of pretrial motions.
The fact of the matter is that the harder your criminal defense attorney contends your DUI charges and prepares for your trial, the further encouraged the prosecutor will be to settle your case for a plea deal before your trial date. Having your charge knocked down to one of reckless driving is really only part of the fight because all of the extenuating factors are then able to be negotiated.
For instance, if you are given a withhold of adjudication for a charge of reckless driving, then you could bargain to have your record sealed once you finish your probation period. Ensuring the best achievable outcome demands exceptional effort throughout every part of your case.
Pre-Trial Motions and Challenges
For many Florida residents who are charged with driving under the influence, the aim is to not receive a DUI conviction. This is most commonly achieved by arranging with the prosecutor to drop your charge down to one of reckless driving. Now, after your charge is lessened to reckless driving, your Florida DUI attorney will be able to arrange all aspects of your plea deal with the prosecutor.
The most critical part of these compromises is determining whether or not you will be adjudicated guilty of reckless driving or if the court will instead agree to withhold adjudication. If the court does agree to withhold adjudication, then you could be able to request that any account of your arrest or your prosecution be sealed.
A charge of driving under the influence also has many consequences for professionals that could affect their employment. Some professions that could be adversely affected include but are not limited to:
- Nurses, doctors, therapists, and others in the healthcare field
- Tutors, teachers, substitute teachers, school administrators
- Law school students and practicing attorneys
- Members of the military
- Members of law enforcement
If you or someone whom you love has been charged with driving under the influence in the Gainesville area, contact us at Musca Law in order to support you at every step along the way of your legal defense. We can help you learn additional information about obtaining a withhold of adjudication for the diminished charge of reckless driving. In addition, we can determine whether or not your particular circumstances entitle you to be eligible to have your record sealed. This action would permit you to deny or refuse to concede that your arrest even took place.
Sealing your criminal record also includes your police mugshot and other delicate information regarding your case. These would no longer be information that is readily available to the public. If the charges against you are dropped, you could potentially be entitled to have your record expunged. A conviction for driving under the influence or an adjudication of guilt for a charge of reckless driving will be permanent, as you will never be permitted to expunge or seal your record.
Reasons Your Charge Could be Reduced to Reckless Driving
The DUI prosecutors with the State Attorney's Office in Gainesville, Florida might allow the reduction or the dropping of your charges for driving under the influence for a multitude of reasons that include but are not limited to:
- Reduced Impaired Driving Recidivism - If you are a first-time offender, you could be allowed to participate in a program, the trade-off of which is a reduction to reckless driving in exchange for participating in this voluntary punishment
- Unlawful Stop - The defense may win a motion to quash certain evidence because the stop performed by a law enforcement officer, including the Florida Highway Patrol, was considered unlawful
- DUI Sobriety Checkpoints - A DUI checkpoint stop is the most thoroughly examined form of restraint that falls under the purview of the Fourth Amendment. If any portion of the DUI checkpoint was arranged incorrectly, then any evidence regarding any driver that stemmed from that particular checkpoint is eligible to be tossed out by the court
- Other Motions - Concern that the defense may obtain a motion to eliminate other evidence in your case. This includes evidence that you either refused to submit to a blood-alcohol level test or that you took the breathalyzer test but blew over the legal limit of .08%
- Problems with the Intoxilyzer 8000 - Any suspected motions to refute the precision or authenticity of the breath test device or the precise test read-out that was obtained in your case. Your criminal defense attorney will file various motions to demonstrate that the device, the Intoxilyzer 8000, that was used in your instance had not been kept up in accordance with the laws that oversee the keeping and the care of these devices
- Video Evidence - Concerns regarding the jury assigned to you delivering a finding of not guilty if you do not sound, look or otherwise appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol on any recording that was taken during the stop or after your arrest
- Expert Witness - Concern that a drunk driving expert witness summoned by the defense would weaken the legality or authority that a key piece of their evidence has, especially if it is one that the prosecutor plans to lean on during your trial (i.e. the results of an urine, breath, or blood test or your successful completion of a field sobriety test)
Costs of a DUI Conviction
The upfront costs of a DUI charge are the ones that are inflicted by the court which include:
- 12 months of managed probation
- 50 hours of performing community service
- Attending a pre-selected DUI course
- Alcohol and drug evaluation and therapy
- Fees, fines, and court costs
- The expense of your supervised probation, investigation expenses, and expenses of the prosecution
- Impoundment or total loss of vehicle use
- The possibility of serving time in either prison or jail
- Mandatory placement of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle
Even more harmful are the unforeseen expenses of a DUI charge. These costs may involve a significant increase in your car insurance premiums, mandatory FR-44 insurance, raises in premiums for your life or your medical insurance, and the damage that having a criminal record could have on your future and current endeavors, including educational and employment opportunities. If you or a loved one find yourself facing such charges, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced Gainesville criminal attorney at Musca Law in order to schedule a free, no-obligation, and confidential consultation session to determine if our legal services may be a good fit for you.