Panama City DUI Lawyers
Panama City DUI attorneys at Musca Law understand that a DUI charge can be many different things. We provide facts and real information as it relates to specific laws. Dealing with DUI charges is something to be taken seriously as a DUI conviction can have lasting unfavorable fallout. For this reason, individuals arrested and charged with DUI in Panama City, Panama City Beach, or Bay County, Florida, should contact an experienced Attorney so as to guard their important legal rights.
Musca Law – Panama City DUI
At our Panama City DUI law firm, our legal professionals have 150 years of combined DUI and criminal defense practice experience. Our law firm helps our clients defend against DUI charges such as:
- DUI First Offense
- DUI Second Offense
- Third, Fourth, or Subsequent DUI
- Underage DUI
- Felony DUI
- DUI Manslaughter
- Drug-Related DUI
- Commercial Driver’s License DUI
- Boating Under the Influence (BUI)
Panama City DUI Defense Lawyers
A Driving Under the Influence conviction in Panama City or anywhere in the state of Florida can mean hefty fines, as well as jail time, and a driver’s license suspension along with other negative consequences. Obtaining or keeping employment, renting housing and qualifying for students loans can be affected by a DUI Conviction.
Panama City – Driving Under the Influence, (DUI) [Florida Statute 316.193]
Panama City DUI laws are governed by Florida Statutes Section 316.193; this is where the law on DUI in Florida is found. According to this statute, a person can be charged with DUI under certain specific situations or scenarios. Whether they are arrested and charged with DUI can depend on these circumstances:
- Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 percent or more
- The accused was impaired to a degree by alcohol and/or drugs
- If the person being charged was driving or in physical control of a vehicle at the time of the offense
- Whether someone else was seriously injured or if someone else was killed as a result of the offense
- If property damage was a result of the offense
- There have been any prior DUI convictions on the criminal record
Panama City DUI Attorneys, Effective and Experienced
The penalties associated with a DUI conviction in Panama City are numerous and potentially life-changing. They can include jail time and fines, and a DMV administrative license suspension of an individual’s driving privileges. That said, there are other consequences that an individual may face. These DUI-related consequences include:
- The completion of a certain number of volunteer service hours
- Proof of completion of a substance abuse course
- Mandatory use of an ignition interlock device in order to drive a vehicle
- A probationary period
- Vehicle impoundment for ten days
Other Consequences for Drunk Driving in Panama City
There are also additional “collateral consequences” to a DUI conviction in Panama City. A DUI conviction can make it difficult to rent an apartment, get (or keep) a job, or receive student financial aid.
What Happens for a second DUI in Panama City?
According to the drunk driving lawyers at Musca Law, a second DUI conviction within five years of the first DUI offense, results in more significant penalties. These significant and very serious penalties include a 10-day mandatory minimum jail sentence. If there are distinct aggravating factors present such as if a minor was in the vehicle at the time of the offense or whether there was a high blood alcohol concentration the person may be subject to more serious consequences, including any penalty that someone might receive for a felony DUI in Panama City.
Felony DUI Defense Lawyers in Panama City, Florida
Panama City DUIs in the state of Florida are generally treated as misdemeanor offenses. Our attorneys advise that in some cases a person can be charged with a felony offense. An individual can be charged with a felony DUI in the state of Florida and Panama City if:
- The offense is the third DUI within five years;
- The offense is the fourth or subsequent DUI;
- The offense either severely or fatally injures someone else.
A felony DUI is usually considered a third-degree felony in Panama City, Florida. However, there are some scenarios where a case might be elevated to a second or first-degree felony. DUI manslaughter is a second-degree felony in Florida. An individual can be charged with DUI manslaughter in Florida if someone else dies as a result of the DUI offense. If the person charged leaves the scene of a DUI manslaughter accident in Panama City, they can be charged with a first-degree felony. A first-degree felony conviction in Florida can mean up to thirty years in prison.
Panama City Boating Under the Influence Defense Attorneys
Panama City BUI lawyers at Musca Law have a clear understanding of the law. Under Florida law, which is applied to Panama City, if a person operates a boat or vessel while drunk, they can be charged with the offense of Boating Under the Influence (BUI). Section 327.35 of the Florida Statutes sets forth the elements and penalties associated with a BUI offense in the state of Florida including Panama City. If convicted of BUI in the state of Florida, a person can receive up to six months in jail if it is their first offense. If they have been charged with BUI previously, or if aggravating (enhancing) factors are present, the penalties can be more draconian.
Am I Able to Defend Myself Against DUI Charges?
The short answer is yes. It is entirely possible for you to represent yourself against charges of drunk driving. Each case is separate than the one before it. Musca Law DUI attorneys will be able to advise you and raise a variety of legal defenses that are available to you, including an erroneous breathalyzer test or blood test. You might also be able to demonstrate that there is a lack of evidence against you or even that your constitutional rights were, in some way, violated by law enforcement and that any evidence against you stemming from that violation needs to be quashed by the court.
The smartest route for you to take if you have your heart set on defending yourself against DUI charges in Panama City is to meet with an accomplished Florida DUI attorney so that you can better educate yourself on what legal defenses will work the best in your specific circumstances.
How Can a DUI Attorney Help Me?
Retaining legal counsel to help fight your DUI charges is undoubtedly the best way to handle the situation. Your Florida DUI attorney will be able to fully advise you of your legal rights and evaluate your case in order to give you specific details on the smartest way for you to proceed if you hope to have the charges dropped, or sidestep some of the more severe consequences of driving under the influence.
Our experienced Panama City, Florida DUI attorneys are here to help you get through this ordeal and see the best possible outcome. Any additional questions that you may have are able to be addressed in our free, no-obligation initial consultation.
Commercial Drivers DUI
Drivers of commercial vehicles are held to different standards than the drivers of traditional passenger vehicles, especially when it comes to drinking and getting behind the wheel. It’s true that all drunk driving arrests involve substantial consequences to your life, the result of a commercial driver DUI could leave you without a job and ensure that you are unable to secure another one in that same field.
You must have a valid commercial driver’s license in order to lawfully operate vehicles over a certain gross weight. This would include tractor-trailers, tankers, tow trucks, buses, wide load vehicles, and other heavy vehicles. Should you be convicted of a commercial DUI, which is driving one of these commercial vehicles with a blood-alcohol level of 0.04% or higher, then you can lose your commercial driver’s license for up to a year.
DUI Rules for Commercial Drivers
Fundamental regulations regarding CDL’s are laid out in federal statute, more specifically, in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration statutes will also apply to:
- Bus drivers, understood to include drivers of school buses, shuttle buses, metro buses and buses that are used for religious or civic organizations
- Taxicab drivers
- Truck drivers
- Construction equipment operators
Operators of non-commercial vehicles may legally drive a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol level of less than 0.08% provided there is no impairment to their faculties. Standard drunk driving laws make a first-time DUI charge a misdemeanor, provided that the accused was not involved in an accident where anyone was killed or injured.
Drivers of commercial vehicles, however, are thought to be in violation of the law if they have a blood-alcohol level that exceeds 0.04%, which is half of the legal limit for everyone else. That is the per se amount of a violation for a commercial driver. They could also be charged with driving under the influence if they are under the influence of any drug, legal or illegal, to the extent that their usual faculties are impaired.
How Long will my Commercial Driver’s License be Suspended?
You will catch an automatic one-year suspension of your commercial driver’s license if:
- You are found guilty of driving a commercial vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Your blood-alcohol level meets or exceeds 0.04%
- You refuse to yield to a test to determine your blood alcohol level
- You have a controlled substance in your possession
- You flee the scene of an accident
- You knowingly used a commercial vehicle in the perpetration of a felony
- You are caught operating a commercial vehicle while your commercial driver’s license is suspended or you have been disqualified
You will be ineligible to apply for a standard hardship license, which means there is no possible way you can continue working.
A second DUI in a commercial vehicle will most likely earn you a lifetime disqualification of your CDL.
If you were transporting hazardous materials at the time of your arrest, you will be banned from operating a commercial vehicle for a minimum of three years.
If you wish to have your commercial driver’s license reinstated following a conviction, you will have to wait until your current disqualification expires, and then you will be required to pay a reinstatement fee before you can begin the process of restoring your commercial driver’s license.
You might lose your license for up to 60 days if you are found guilty of any two of the following in a three-year time span:
- Driving more than 15 mph over the posted speed limit
- Improper/Illegal lane change
- Reckless driving
- Following too closely (tailgating)
- Driving a commercial vehicle without the proper class of CDL
- Driving a commercial vehicle without any CDL
A person who is found guilty of three of these offenses in a three-year window could be looking at as many as 120 days of suspension.
Your Panama City drunk driving defense attorney might be able to arrange a reduction in your charge to a non-drinking crime, which would allow you to return to work much quicker and carry less of a chance that you will lose your job. A commercial vehicle drunk driving charge is definitely something worth challenging if you wish to remain employed in your current line of work.
Just the process of being arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can be an uncomfortable and hellish experience. The most important thing for you to keep in mind is that, simply because you have been arrested, it is not for absolute certain that you will be found guilty of the driving under the influence charge. Driving under the influence is a serious crime, however, making sure that you have an experienced and professional Panama City defense attorney by your side will greatly improve your chances of putting this incident behind you with the best outcome possible.