Navarre DUI Lawyers
In the event that a law enforcement officer suspects that you were driving your car while you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol in the Navarre area, you will most likely find yourself arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated. Here at Musca Law, we realize that this position is scary and stressful, but it is vital to remember that a driving under the influence charge is not the same thing as conviction. There are a multitude of actions that you could conceivably take if you want to avoid conviction or to reduce the penalties that you might suffer, just as long as you start fighting right away.
In agreement with Florida state law, charges of driving under the influence are generally filed as a misdemeanor. The consequences of being found guilty of driving under the influence, however, are harsh and lasting, and they will be prevalent in your daily life for a long time to come. The ramifications of drunk driving can and will reshape your professional, personal and social life in a very unpleasant way. That is why it is so important to hire a qualified Navarre drunk driving attorney who knows Florida’s laws inside and out.
What Constitutes Driving Under the Influence in Florida
According to Florida laws, drivers can be viewed as being under the influence when they are operating a motor vehicle, or even if they are not technically driving, but simply in “actual physical control” of the vehicle. A charge of driving under the influence also necessitates some form of proof that, at the time of the alleged incident, the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the degree that their “normal faculties were diminished or otherwise impaired.” Florida drunk driving laws define the phrase “normal faculties” as the ability to perform the mental and physical acts of daily life, such as seeing, hearing, driving, talking, or balancing.
State prosecutors can also charge you with driving under the influence even if you do not exhibit any signs of actual impairment. Under Florida’s “per se” modification of a driving under the influence charge, if your blood-alcohol content is above the state’s legal limit of .08% at the time you were arrested, then you could be charged with a DUI even though you were showing absolutely no signs of physical or mental impairment of any kind. Police officers have many different ways of establishing a driver’s blood-alcohol level. These testing methods include a breathalyzer test, a urine test, or a blood test. The breathalyzer test is the single most commonly chosen method of testing the blood-alcohol level of a driver who is suspected of being impaired, although the penalties are the same no matter which form of testing is chosen.
Can I Get my Driving Under the Influence Charge Dropped to Reckless Driving?
The DUI prosecutors with the State Attorney's Office in Navarre, 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:
Agreeing to Participate in the Reduced Impaired Driving Recidivism Program
First-time drunk driving offenders might be approved to take part in a DUI awareness and prevention class called the Reduced Impaired Driving Recidivism Program. If you agree to participate in this rigorous and demanding prevention program, in exchange you will most likely earn a reduction of your DUI charges down to reckless driving.
Law Enforcement Had no Legal Right to Pull You Over
Your Florida drunk driving attorney can win a motion to quash specific pieces of evidence if it turns out that the stop enacted by the police officer was found to be illegal. This applies even to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Police Protocol Was Not Followed at a DUI Checkpoint
A DUI checkpoint is the most intensely analyzed manner of police detainment because many people feel that it goes against their Fourth Amendment rights (the freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures). If any stage of the road checkpoint was not done according to standard police protocol, then the court is obligated to throw out any evidence concerning any driver that emanated from that DUI checkpoint.
The Intoxilyzer 8000 Had Technical Problems or Was Not Properly Maintained
Your Musca Law criminal defense attorney will be able to file motions that call into question the accuracy or the credibility of the blood alcohol content testing equipment. We can also challenge the exact test result that it gave in your case. Your drunk driving attorney can file multiple motions in order to prove that the exact Intoxilyzer 8000, that was used in your specific test had not been maintained in compliance with the laws that oversee the upkeep, programming, and field use of these machines.
There is Video Evidence That Could Exonerate You
If you do not look, speak, or in any other manner give the appearance of being under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs on any recordings that may have been filmed while the traffic stop was taking place or following your arrest, then apprehensions about your assigned jurors rendering a verdict of not guilty may be enough to get the state prosecutor to drop your case.
There is an Expert Witness Who is Giving Testimony in Your Favor
Your DUI charges may also be thrown out if the state is worried that a drunk driving expert witness who has been called by the defense will significantly impair the validity or weight of an important portion of their evidence. This is particularly true if that dubious piece of evidence is one that the state had intended to rely heavily upon throughout your trial.
Various Other Legal Motions Filed by Your Attorney
Anxiety over the fact that the defense could receive a motion to exclude additional evidence pertaining to your case could also lead to a favorable outcome with your driving under the influence charge.
What Happens After I am Formally Charged With a DUI?
If you are charged with driving while intoxicated anywhere in the State of Florida:
- You will be held in jail for a minimum of eight hours
- Your driver’s license will be immediately suspended
- You will be allowed to drive for the next ten days, provided that your driver’s license was in good standing at the time of the incident
- You have only those ten days in which to request a formal review hearing to try and have your license reinstated
- A temporary license may be issued until the date of your hearing for a maximum of 45 days
Florida Penalties for Drunk Driving
In Florida, a DUI charge applies when a person who is in control of a motor vehicle has a blood alcohol level of .08% or higher. If you are convicted of a DUI, there are a wide range of penalties to which you could possibly be subjected. The outcome will depend on other factors that get taken into consideration, such as whether or not this is your first DUI offense, whether or not there were any children with you in the car, if your blood alcohol test indicates that you blew higher than a .15%, and whether or not any type of accident occurred and, if so, was any property damaged or was anyone injured or killed.
First Charge of Driving Under the Influence
Drivers who are found guilty of their first DUI would most probably be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor. Penalties for this charge include, but are not limited to:
- A fine of anywhere from$500 to $1,000
- A fine of anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000, if the driver had a blood-alcohol concentration of .15% or higher or they had children in the vehicle
- Up to 50 hours of supervised community service
- Up to one year of supervised probation
- Up to six months in the county jail
- Up to nine months in the county jail, if the driver had a blood-alcohol level of .15% or higher or they had children in the vehicle
- Revocation of their driver’s license for a minimum of 180 days
- 12 hours in DUI School and a requirement evaluation, to be conducted in order to determine if there is a need for recovery treatment
- Up to six continuous months with an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle
Once you are charged with your second DUI, you will naturally be subjected to much harsher penalties, which will likely include a longer and more expensive advanced DUI school, much larger fines, an ignition interlock device installed in your car for no less than one year, a prolonged suspension of your driver’s license, and the very real possibility of a longer jail sentence. Incarceration could be compulsory, depending on how recent your prior conviction was. If you have been convicted of numerous DUIs, you will most likely be charged as a felon. A charge of felony DUI could bring with it a sentence of up to five years in state prison and a permanent revocation of your driver’s license.
If you have been charged with driving under the influence in Navarre or any other part of Florida, it is imperative that you are familiar with the 10-Day Rule, which says that a driver has exactly 10 days from their DUI arrest date in which to seek out a formal review hearing and dispute the administrative suspension of their license. Provided that you are able to request the hearing within this time frame, a temporary driver’s license will be issued to you, making it legal for you to drive for the duration of the temporary license, which is usually one week.
Your Formal Review and the Ten-Day Rule
After you have been arrested for driving under the influence in Navarre, the arresting officer will immediately suspend your driver's license if:
- Your blood-alcohol level was over the legal limit of .08%
- You declined to submit to a scientific analysis of your breath, blood or urine
This administrative suspension that is set into action by the arresting police officer is often called an "on-the-spot suspension”. After your arrest, you only have 10 working days in which you are able to ask the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles for a formal review hearing in you would like to try to overturn the administrative suspension of your Florida driver's license. Inviting the FDMV to review your suspension gives your Navarre drunk driving attorney a great way to examine all of the potential defenses to your DUI case.
Your drunk driving attorney is allowed to make a plea on your behalf at the review hearing and arrange for you to be issued a 42-day Florida driving permit in order for you to be able to continue to drive while the suspension of your Florida driver’s license is disputed.
What Are the Elements of a DUI Manslaughter Charge?
When someone is killed by a drunk driver, they face a charge of DUI manslaughter. To make sure that you face the penalties for a charge of DUI manslaughter, the state has to establish that you were driving a car while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol at the time and that your operation of the vehicle is what caused, or contributed to causing, the death of any person, including an unborn child.
Penalties for DUI Manslaughter in Navarre
DUI manslaughter is classified as a second-degree felony according to Florida law, carrying with it a maximum penalty of up to 15 years in state prison. If more than one person dies, then there is no guarantee that each 15-year prison sentence will not be slated to run consecutively (one after the other), instead of concurrently (both at the same time).
A DUI manslaughter charge can be classified as a first-degree felony, which would bring with it a maximum penalty of 30 years in state prison. This would only be the case if, at the time of the fatal accident, the at-fault driver was aware or should have been aware that the accident had occurred but neglected to give the information or render any aid, both of which are required by law. In layman’s terms, a drunk hit-and-run.
The minimum sentence for a charge of DUI manslaughter is four years. Some recent changes to Florida law also make it a four-year minimum sentence for fleeing the scene of a deadly accident, and that is with the prosecutors proving that you were drinking. This new law was enacted as a way of getting rid of the benefit that drunk drivers saw to absconding from the scenes of fatal car crashes.