Lakeland DUI Lawyers
DUI Defense Laws and Penalties
If a person has been arrested and charged with a driving under the influence (DUI) offense in the Lakeland Florida area, it is important to consult with an experienced Lakeland DUI defense attorney, who specifically handles such criminal cases. This should be done as soon as possible because a DUI conviction in Lakeland Florida can mean jail time, fines, and other adverse consequences. At our firm, our DUI defense attorneys have numerous years of experience fighting for the rights of clients who have been charged with DUI offenses in Lakeland Florida, including:
- A First-Time or Second DUI
- Third, Fourth, or Subsequent DUI
- Felony DUI
- Underage DUI
- DUI Manslaughter
- Drug DUI
- CDL DUI
- Boating Under the Influence (BUI)
Lakeland DUI Attorney – Florida Law
Pursuant to Florida Statutes Section 316.193, an individual can be arrested and charged with a DUI offense if certain facts and circumstances are present. Some of the factors that are considered when determining whether an individual should be charged with a DUI in Lakeland include:
- Was their blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) 0.08% or more?
- Was their BAC 0.15% or more?
- Were they actually operating or in physical control of a vehicle at the time of the offense?
- Was anyone seriously harmed or killed?
- Was there any property damage?
- Do they have any prior DUI convictions?
There are other factors that may also be taken into consideration when determining DUI charges and the type of DUI offense with which an individual is charged. Experienced attorneys at Musca Law provide people with real information. A free and confidential consultation is available to people considering hiring an attorney.
DUI Defense Lawyer in Lakeland, Florida Discusses DUI Penalties
In Lakeland, Florida, a DUI conviction can have serious consequences, which can include criminal penalties such as large fines and jail time, but also administrative penalties such as the suspension of a driver’s license. Other penalties that a person might face upon conviction for DUI in Lakeland include:
- Community service hours;
- Installation of an Ignition Interlock Device;
- Enrollment in a substance abuse course; and
- Vehicle impoundment for ten days.
Lakeland DUI Defense
In Lakeland, if a person is convicted of a DUI, they can also face adverse consequences that can affect their everyday life. A criminal record can impact their ability to obtain a student loan, rent an apartment, own a firearm, and even keep or obtain a job.
Second Offense DUI Penalties in Lakeland
If, within five years of their first DUI offense, a person is arrested and charged with a second offense, they can face more serious penalties, including incarceration in jail. Depending on the facts and circumstances of the case, they can be subject to tougher penalties and even those that they might receive if convicted of a felony DUI. Lawyers at Musca Law can answer any questions you may have.
Felony DUI Defense Lawyer in Lakeland, Florida
Lakeland DUI attorneys here at Musca Law have determined that, under Florida law, driving under the influence offenses are misdemeanors. However, there are some circumstances that might elevate the offense to a felony. In Florida, an individual can be charged with felony DUI if:
- They had two other DUI convictions in the past five years;
- The current DUI arrest is the fourth or subsequent offense; and/or
- In the course of the offense, the accused seriously injured or killed another individual.
Felony DUI offenses in Lakeland are typically considered third-degree felonies according to lawyers at Musca Law, but there are some instances where a felony DUI may be charged as either a second or first-degree felony; one such instance is when someone dies as a result of the DUI.
Drunk Driving Manslaughter Defense in Lakeland
This offense is also known as DUI manslaughter, which is considered a second-degree felony. You can be charged with a first-degree felony and face up to thirty years in jail if you leave the scene of the accident after killing someone.
(BUI) Boating Under the Influence Defense Attorneys in Lakeland, Florida
Lakeland BUI Lawyers
BUI lawyers at Musca Law can defend people charged with Boating Under the Influence. According to Section 327.35 of the Florida Statutes, it is illegal to operate a boat while drunk in Florida. Under the law, if a person is operating a vessel while under the influence of or impaired by alcohol and/or drugs, they can be charged with boating under the influence (BUI). A first BUI offense typically results in up to six months in jail, but the penalties can be much worse depending on the facts and circumstances of the case.
The Ten Day Rule
After you have been arrested for driving under the influence in Lakeland County, the arresting officer will immediately suspend your driver's license if:
- Your blood-alcohol level is over the legal limit of .08%; or
- You declined to submit to a scientific analysis of your breath, blood or urine.
This administrative suspension that is put into motion by the arresting officer is sometimes referred to as an "on-the-spot suspension.” Following your arrest, you have just ten days in which to request a hearing for a formal review in order to fight the administrative suspension of your driver's license. Challenging the administrative suspension provides your criminal defense attorney with the ideal way to investigate all of the defenses in your case.
Your DUI attorney is able to make a request on your behalf for the review hearing and get you a 42-day driving permit, so that you may continue to drive while we challenge the administrative suspension. You will still want to preserve your driving by requesting a formal review hearing during the initial ten days following your arrest.
The formal review hearing is one of the essential components of your case. A lot of ill-informed people forego their right to the formal review hearing by obtaining a hardship license immediately. They do this without realizing the permanent results that go along with that choice.
Regrettably, surrendering all of your personal rights indicates that you are basically agreeing to the suspension of your driver’s license and the conclusion that you were driving under the influence. Unless you challenge this suspension and win during your formal review hearing, the administrative suspension will remain on your driving history for the next 75 years.
The only advantage of agreeing to the penalties is that you will avoid the 30-day or 90-day blanket suspension. That is a modest price to pay, however, for having that administrative suspension erased from your driving history. Rather than relinquishing your rights, you could hire a criminal defense attorney to ask for a "formal review hearing" to oppose the administrative suspension. If you are successful, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will permanently erase the suspension from your driving history as though it never took place.
The methods used by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles at the Bureau of Administrative Review are very involved. Before deciding which way is best for you to go, call the legal team at Musca law so we can examine the best strategy for you to successfully fight your case.
RIDR Diversion Program
The diversion program is an excellent way to conclude your case, particularly if you are arrested for your first driving under the influence charge. For a first time charge of driving under the influence in Lakeland, FL, if you were arrested on or since 01 March 2018, you could possibly be eligible for the Reducing Impaired Driving Recidivism (RIDR) Program. This program is Florida’s brand new DUI diversion program that is administered by the State Attorney's Office for a first DUI charge in Lakeland, FL.
As a trade-off for performing tougher penalties, like fitting your vehicle with an ignition interlock device or agreeing to wear a SCRAM ankle monitoring device, you may earn an arranged plea for a lesser charge of reckless driving with a withhold of adjudication, which means that you will not be formally convicted of a criminal offense. Additionally, the withhold of adjudication could mean that you may possibly be allowed to have your criminal record sealed and mugshot withheld from the view of the general public.
The RIDR program is only open to first-time offenders with a non-aggravated DUI charge that did not include a car accident or property damage of any kind. Our DUI defense attorneys at Musca Law are familiar with all of the eligibility qualifications that must be met and know the optimal way to get through the RIDR program in Lakeland.
Why You Should Fight Your DUI Charge
This page is intended to provide you with some much needed common information regarding the various ways you are able to challenge a drunk driving charge. Most people believe that, if they are arrested, a conviction will naturally follow.
According to the latest statistics regarding DUI cases in Florida, only 60% of all charges of driving under the influence actually ended in a conviction for a charge of either reckless driving or a DUI. Most instances of drunk driving are settled without any conviction at all, due to the fact that:
- The DUI charge is dropped by the prosecutor before your trial;
- The DUI charge is lowered by the prosecutor to a less severe crime like reckless driving before your trial;
- The DUI charge is dismissed by the courts before your trial; or
- The accused is found to be not guilty of the DUI charges at trial.
In cases of driving under the influence, the prosecutor has to demonstrate that the driver was directly under the influence of drugs or alcohol to such an extent that their blood alcohol level was over the legal limit of .08% as determined by a blood, urine, or breathalyzer test .
Heightened punishments come into play if the offender’s blood alcohol level was 0.15% or higher. If your blood-alcohol content was 0.15% or above when you were arrested, then you have plenty of company. Current DUI statistics reveal that the median blood-alcohol level taken in arrests in the state of Florida is usually exactly at 0.15%.
On the other hand, the prosecutor could also establish that the driver's regular faculties were badly impaired due to the consumption of drugs and/or of alcohol. Should the driver refuse to participate in a test of his blood, urine, or breath, then the latter of the two choices is all that will be viable for the prosecution.
Stages of a DUI Case
Following your arrest for the DUI, your criminal defense attorney will be able to waive your appearance for most, or possibly even all, of your pre-trial court appointments. Waiving your appearance during a pre-trial court appearance spares you from the stress and aggravation of having to go to court when your presence there is not strictly needed.
The stages of a typical DUI case include:
- Your first appearance, which is your bond hearing;
- Your formal review hearing to contest the administrative suspension of your driver's license by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, which typically takes place within 40 days of when you were arrested;
- Your arraignment on your DUI case;
- Your status hearings date;
- Your evidentiary hearing, which includes a motion to quash the evidence or a motion to throw out the DUI charge altogether;
- Your pre-trial meetings; and
- Your jury trial or bench trial.
The criminal defense attorneys here at Musca Law are concentrated on crimes that take place at both the federal and the state level, which includes all charges pertaining to driving under the influence, even if they include a collision with another vehicle, a hit-and-run accident, fleeing to elude capture, or driving on a suspended license. Hiring the least expensive drunk driving attorney in the Lakeland area is probably not the best tactic if you wish to see a positive outcome for your DUI case. Instead, hire a top-rated and experienced DUI attorney in the Lakeland area, who will be determined, efficient, and proactive in defending your rights and best interests at every step along your legal journey.