DUI Defense Attorney, Jacksonville, FL
If you or a loved one have been charged with driving a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you are probably feeling confused and frightened by the grim outlook of your circumstances. With no one to turn to for help and no one to answer your many questions about your immediate future, it is easy to feel isolated and afraid. If this scenario sounds like the one in which you currently find yourself, then you need to contact experienced and knowledgeable help from a Jacksonville, Florida criminal defense attorney with plenty of experience in getting successful and positive outcomes for those who have been charged with driving under the influence (DUI). A criminal defense attorney will always focus on what is best for you, the client. The Jacksonville offices of Musca Law are here to support you. Our DUI attorneys will work diligently to get your DUI charges reduced, or even get them dropped altogether. We are also here to defend against various other criminal accusations should the need arise, crimes like the distribution of narcotics, prostitution, sexual battery, domestic violence and more.
Effects of a DUI
There are plenty of legitimate reasons to feel uncertain about the quality of your future if you have a charge of driving under the influence on your record. The following are a few of the possible effects that a DUI could potentially have on the quality of your life if the issue is not efficiently handled by an experienced DUI attorney:
- A criminal record that will never go away
- Suspension or revocation of your driver’s license
- Hefty financial repercussions (court costs, fines, counseling, classes, and an ignition interlock device), potentially costing you tens of thousands of dollars in total
- Raised insurance premiums, also costing you more money
These consequences of a DUI charge and conviction are something that thousands of Florida residents experience every single year, especially since instances of people driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol have been steadily increasing each year throughout the state. In our professional experience, after representing so many of them as clients, we can safely say that you can rest easy. One errant night does not have to destroy your name, leave you with a criminal record, and deplete your bank account. The criminal defense attorneys at Musca Law office in Jacksonville will fight endlessly to try to earn you the absolute best outcome that is possible for your particular situation. Our goal is to preserve the validity of your driver’s license, to protect the money you have worked so hard to save, and to safeguard your good name and reputation.
Steps of your DUI Case
If the magistrate agrees to release you on bond, then we can begin working on your DUI case. There are different phases to your case and you will go through each one of them in turn. Each separate phase of your case has the power to dramatically alter your life, for better or for worse, based on how competently each phase was handled. Our criminal defense attorneys at Musca Law understand the many different steps and avenues that exist for challenging your driving under the influence charge, and they will be able to guide you confidently through this process:
- Arraignment - Our Jacksonville law office will write and file a Notice of Appearance document on your behalf. With a plea of not guilty, in most instances, you will be exempted from an arraignment.
- Preliminary Hearing - The next step in your DUI case is the preliminary hearing. This hearing takes place before any formal charges are filed. There are two different kinds of preliminary hearings. One is an adversarial hearing. In an adversarial hearing, additional facts and evidence are collected in an effort to stop the charges from ever being filed. In order to be granted this kind of hearing, your DUI attorney is required to file a notice requesting one within 21 days following your arrest. This is one of the reasons that immediately hiring a DUI attorney is so crucial. The second type of preliminary hearing is what is known as a bond hearing. This type of hearing demands a restrained amount of testimony and is required in order to discharge a person from jail. The amount of the accused’s bail is also set during this preliminary hearing.
- Pretrial Motions - These motions are employed in order to collect information so that your attorney may be granted a dismissal for your case, arrange a less harsh sentence, or negotiate a plea deal with the prosecutor. These are all tactics that are commonly employed in order to keep you in the safest possible position while decisions that will ultimately affect the outcome of your DUI case are still being made.
- Discovery - Discovery is the process by which your attorney will receive copies of any of the evidence that is being used against you. Generally speaking, this could include items such as videos, intoxication test results, and lab reports. Your DUI attorney will carefully analyze all of this information in an effort to prepare your defensive tactics and to ensure an optimal outcome for your DUI case.
- Pretrial or case management - After the discovery phase has concluded, the pretrial motions will be filed and any applicable deadlines will be put into motion. A trial date will also be established at this point.
- Pretrial motions - Pretrial motions are an extremely valuable part of your defense process because they can result in a deal that is beneficial to you. It is essential to the success of your case to understand that the prosecution has to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that your blood alcohol levels were well over the legal limit of .08% while you were operating a motor vehicle. Mistakes are frequently made when law enforcement officers conduct field sobriety tests as well as when they attempt to obtain other forms of sobriety and chemical tests. Your DUI attorney will carefully examine each and every single test for any errors and ensure that the burden of proof is placed fully on the prosecution. He will also look at the circumstances surrounding your arrest and make certain that all appropriate methods were followed and that all legal obligations were met by the law enforcement officers. When errors are discovered, regardless of how small they might be, your acquittal becomes far more possible.
- Plea bargains or trial - Once all of the relevant motions have been filed and all the rulings have been passed down by the judge, it is then determined whether or not to enter a plea or to go ahead with a trial. When you begin plea discussions, you are basically requesting that the prosecuting attorney make you his kindest reasonable offer in exchange for not having to be dragged through a lengthy and arduous trial. Most of the time your DUI attorney will be able to renegotiate any expensive fines switched over to hours where you perform community service instead.
- Trial and sentencing - At Musca Law, our criminal defense attorneys work their hardest in an effort to reach a reasonable and equitable result for our clients so that a trial will no longer be needed. In the event that a trial is necessary, we always apply our extensive knowledge and skill to the trial process. With our attorneys’ extensive years of prior involvement in courtroom environments, they are completely acquainted with the approach that each court will take, as well as the court personnel and the judges that will be there. A Florida DUI attorney from Musca Law will work until the matter is settled to ensure that your sentencing is at its minimum and that the whole ordeal passes as quickly and as painlessly as possible for you.
Your Jacksonville DUI attorney will schedule a meeting with you at the start of your case and go over your possible outcomes, your legal options, and our proposed legal strategy. You will know precisely what to expect when we begin the proceedings. You can trust the legal team here at Musca Law to guide you through this difficult and complicated process with integrity, accuracy, and skill. Get in touch with someone in our Jacksonville offices today to determine how your may benefit from our legal counsel. Possible Felony DUI Charges and Their Penalties
- You received a fourth or more DUI charge or your third DUI charge in 10 years, which results in a third-degree felony that carries with it a potential fine of as much as $5,000 and as long as 5 years in state prison.
- You caused injury to another person while driving under the influence, which results in a third-degree felony and carries with it a potential fine of as much as $5,000 and as long as 5 years in a state prison.
- You accidentally killed someone while you were driving under the influence, which results in a charge of DUI/Manslaughter. This is a second-degree felony and carries with it a potential fine of as much as $10,000 and as long as 15 years in a state prison.
- You accidentally killed someone while driving under the influence and you left the scene of the crime. This is also considered to be DUI/Manslaughter/Leaving the scene. This is a first-degree felony and carries with it a potential fine of as much as $10,000 and as long as 30 years in state prison. In cases where leaving the scene is involved, the prosecutors have to prove that you were aware that the accident had taken place or should have been aware that it took place before you fled the scene. They must also prove that you knowingly and intentionally neglected to provide your information to law enforcement or to provide any aid to the injured party.
- You killed someone while driving a car in an unsafe way (i.e. in a way that is liable to kill someone or inflict severe bodily injury, even if you didn’t mean to kill someone). This includes drunk driving and is considered Vehicular Homicide. This is a second-degree felony and carries a potential fine of as much as $10,000 and as long as 15 years in state prison.
- You killed someone while driving a car in an unsafe way and you fail to remain at the scene, provide aid to the injured, or give your information to law enforcement officers after doing so. This is considered to be Vehicular Homicide/Leaving the Scene. This is a first-degree felony and it carries with it a potential fine of as much as $10,000 and as long as 30 years in state prison.
Driver’s License Restoration The restoration of your driver’s license is plausible, even in the event that a Florida arrest or conviction of driving under the influence (DUI) has caused you to have a suspended driver’s license. In the event that your driver’s license is currently under administrative suspension, it should be feasible for your DUI attorney to have your license reinstated, or to receive a hardship license so that you will be able to drive yourself to and from work once again. It is imperative that you are not caught driving on a suspended license in Florida. Any criminal attorney can tell you that courts are usually exceedingly harsh on drivers who are caught driving on a suspended driver’s license, even if you genuinely had no idea that your license was suspended at the time, or if the suspension of your license took place in another state. In the majority of the cases that we see, our DUI attorneys will be able to have your driver’s license reinstated or assist you in obtaining a hardship license which will permit you to drive to and from your place of employment for the duration of your DUI case. More often, our legal team will be able to assist you in getting your charge of driving under the influence (DUI) dropped or your charges reduced, so that at least you will retain a valid driver’s license. If you have been charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in Jacksonville, Florida and, as a result, have had your driver’s license suspended, then it is in your best interest to give the Jacksonville DUI defense attorney team at Musca Law firm a call today to discuss your case and best options moving forward.