Pensacola DUI Lawyers
A Pensacola DUI Defense Firm with Over 150 Years Combined Experience
We are Pensacola DUI lawyers who focus exclusively on criminal defense. People who are facing driving under the influence charges in Pensacola or the surrounding area may want to consider hiring an attorney. Often times, our clients feel overwhelmed or are confused about how they should proceed with their case. We provide real information so people can make an informed decision. Individuals charged with DUI in Pensacola should take these charges seriously because a conviction can mean a number of different and serious consequences. If a person has been arrested and charged with DUI, they should be sure to contact an experienced Pensacola DUI defense lawyer to learn about their defense options.
DUI Lawyers in Pensacola
DUI lawyers at Musca Law, located in Pensacola, have many years of experience providing DUI defense representation. We can help people understand their situation, whether it is a first offense, second offense, third or subsequent offense, a felony DUI, drug-related DUI, DUI manslaughter, CDL DUI, underage DUI, BUI, or other offense.
DUI Defense in Pensacola – Florida Statute 316.193
Pensacola DUI defense attorneys at Musca Law recommend people charged with DUI become familiar with Florida Statutes Section 316.193 which provides the statutory elements of and penalties associated with DUI in Pensacola Florida. Pursuant to the law in the state of Florida, a person can be charged with DUI based on a number of different factual scenarios. Some of the factors taken into consideration when a prosecutor decides if an individual should be charged with DUI in Pensacola Florida include, but are not limited to:
- How high was the individual’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC)? Was it .08 percent or more?
- Was the individual’s BAC .15 or higher?
- Was the individual driving or in physical control of a vehicle when they allegedly committed the offense?
- Was the individual impaired to any degree by alcohol, drugs, or a combination of alcohol or drugs?
- Did the individual seriously injure or kill anyone?
- Did the individual cause any property damage?
- Was the individual previously convicted of DUI?
DUI Defense in Pensacola – Factors
This list of factors noted by our experienced Pensacola DUI lawyers used to determine potential charges is not exhaustive, and sometimes there are certain situations that warrant felony DUI charges. If a person has been arrested and charged with DUI in the Pensacola area they should contact a lawyer immediately to discuss their legal options.
DUI Defense Lawyers in Pensacola, Florida
Some of the penalties associated with a DUI conviction in Pensacola can include jail time, fines, and the administrative suspension of the privilege to drive. There are also damaging collateral consequences according to our legal experience. Some examples of the difficulties of having a criminal record include difficulty obtaining student financial aid, difficulty to rent an apartment, difficulties possessing a firearm, and even difficulties getting or keeping a job. Other consequences of a DUI conviction in Pensacola and throughout the state of Florida can include:
- Mandatory Volunteer Hours
- Installation of an Ignition Interlock Device in the vehicle
- 10 Day Vehicle Impoundment of the vehicle
- Mandatory Completion of a Substance Abuse Course
Pensacola DUI Penalties
People arrested and charged with a second DUI offense within five years of their first offense can face enhanced penalties that can include a minimum jail sentence of ten days. If there are certain specific aggravating factors present, the person can be subject to even more draconian penalties, such as lengthy jail sentences, large fines, and driver’s license suspensions.
Felony DUI Defense Attorneys in Pensacola, Florida
DUI offenses in Pensacola Florida are usually charged and treated as misdemeanor offenses. That said, under some factual circumstances, the charges can be considered a felony. Under Florida law, a person can be charged with a felony DUI offense if:
- It is their third DUI in five years;
- It is their fourth or subsequent DUI;
- The person seriously injured or killed another person as a result of the DUI offense.
Most felony DUI offenses in Pensacola and the state of Florida are considered third-degree felonies. However, some circumstances in Pensacola Florida warrant a second or first-degree felony DUI. If someone dies as a result of the DUI, it can be charged as second-degree DUI manslaughter. In this situation, a person can face up to fifteen years in prison. Leaving the scene of the accident after someone dies can result in a first-degree felony charge, where penalties can include up to thirty years in prison.
BUI Defense Law Firm in Pensacola, Florida
In Pensacola and the state of Florida, it is also against the law to boat while under the influence or impaired by alcohol and/or drugs. Section 327.35 of the Florida Statutes contains the elements and penalties associated with boating under the influence (BUI) in the state of Florida and Pensacola. If a person is convicted of a first-time BUI offense in the state of Florida, they could face up to six months in jail. The penalties can be even more strict depending on the facts and circumstances of the person’s case.
Speak with a Qualified DUI Defense Lawyers in Pensacola, Florida
Experienced DUI defense lawyers in Pensacola at Musca Law help people charged with either BUI or DUI in Pensacola, Florida. People can consult with one of our experienced Pensacola Drunk Driving Defense Attorneys immediately to protect and preserve their constitutional rights.
Asleep Behind the Wheel/Actual Physical Control
In order to be able to convict you of drunk driving, the prosecution must establish that you were in actual physical control of the vehicle. In short, what this means is that you do not have to be actually driving your car to be arrested for drunk driving. Being asleep in a parked car can, however, be a reason for being charged with a DUI. Your Pensacola DUI criminal defense attorney has successfully challenged this kind of charge in the past and might be able to do the same for you.
The Elements that Comprise Actual Physical Control
In order to be considered as having actual physical control of the vehicle, the following must apply to the situation:
- Actual, or constructive possession, over the key to the car
- The accused was in the driver's seat, passenger seat, or backseat of the car
- Proof that the car was mechanically able to be driven
Evidence that a car is able to run without a physical key in the ignition is increasingly standard with many of the late model fobs not requiring a keyhole or ignition turnover, especially with the rise in popularity of hybrid and electric cars. That you had the necessary tool (the key) and that you COULD HAVE driven the car are the major factors for actual possession to be established. There have been instances where the offender was in the back seat of the car, but had the car keys in his pants pocket, and was found guilty of a DUI charge. In order to prove that the car was operable (mechanically able to be driven), the car must be capable of self-propelled movement. An empty gas tank is not a viable defense, whereas not having all four tires, being up on blocks, or some pressing mechanical issue might be a defense to the accusation. In certain states, although not Florida, you would be required to obtain a document from the state certifying that the car was a jalopy.
So, if you decide to sit in your legally parked car and sleep off the evening's libations, but not before taking the clever precautions of turning the engine off, making sure the car is in park with the emergency brake set, and settling down in the back seat of the vehicle, you could still be arrested for driving under the influence. Reportedly, there have even been incidents where the offender placed the car keys outside of the vehicle and was still arrested for DUI under the laws of actual physical control.
Chemical Testing Regulations in Pensacola
Breath Alcohol Retrograde Extrapolation
In order to be able to convict a person of driving under the influence, the prosecution has to establish what your blood alcohol level was at the time you were operating the vehicle. The breath test that you take an hour or two after the fact is not what establishes your guilt or your innocence in DUI charge. Your breath test numbers at the time you were actually behind the wheel of the car are what matter the most.
Your breathalyzer results at the time that you were behind the wheel have a great deal to do with the following aspects which will vary from case to case:
- How much you weigh
- The rate of your metabolism
- What you have had to eat recently
- How much you had to eat recently
- How long it has been since you ate
- What you had to drink
- How much you had to drink
- When did you start drinking (for the evening)
- When did you stop drinking (for the evening)
In order for the prosecution to be able to prove that, at the time you were driving the car, your blood alcohol level was over the .08% legal limit, they would need to extrapolate what your blood alcohol numbers were at the time you were pulled over.
Blood Tests in Pensacola
The State of Florida has an implied consent law. This means that every single person who drives a car gives their consent (meaning that by agreeing to operate a motor vehicle you are also agreeing to these laws) to submit to chemical testing of their blood, urine, or breath in the event that they are suspected of drunk driving. Law enforcement officers are authorized to use reasonable force in order to procure a blood sample from a suspect who has refused to yield to a breathalyzer and is suspected of DUI.
When a blood sample is taken from a DUI suspect, it is tested through a method known as gas chromatography. This testing method compares the blood sample that was taken from the potential offender to a controlled blood sample that has a known amount of alcohol content. If the driver was involved in an accident and a sample of their blood was taken at the hospital, it may be the only sample that the state is able to use. These hospital-borne blood samples are taken from the blood serum (the clearish, yellowish fluid that is left behind from blood plasma after clotting agents have been taken out) and are generally thought to be a less precise measurement of a person’s blood alcohol level.
Pensacola Urine Testing Regulations
If someone is required to yield a urine sample for the measurement of their blood alcohol level, the urine test is usually not given correctly. If a suspect’s urine sample has to be taken, it means that the potential offender has to fully evacuate their bladder (using the toilet as they normally would) and then wait for a minimum of twenty minutes before their urine is collected for a urine sample. This method is thought to provide the most precise results.
When a urinalysis is used to test someone’s blood alcohol level, the concentration of alcohol is measured using water. As a result, the conclusions of these sorts of tests can be extremely exaggerated, especially since the concentration of alcohol in urine is nearly 1.33 times greater than the concentration of alcohol in the blood. Because of this anomaly, blood samples are widely thought to produce far more accurate results when determining a person’s blood alcohol level.
Non-Compliance with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement establishes the rules that the people in law enforcement must obey both prior to and following the testing of any blood, urine or breath collection. If a law enforcement officer neglects to obey any of the extremely specific regulations, then an experienced Pensacola DUI criminal defense attorney will be able to file a motion to suppress the breath, urine, or blood test measurements stemming from non-compliance with the rules that were set out by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.