Port Charlotte DUI Lawyers
Drunk Driving Attorneys in Port Charlotte with 150 Years of Experience
Port Charlotte DUI lawyer websites usually say things like, “a DUI arrest can be scary and overwhelming.” While this is true, Musca Law focuses on providing real information about DUI laws, penalties, and defense strategies so that defendants can understand the potential outcomes of their case and make an informed decision about hiring an attorney. Most people who have been arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) are unsure how to proceed. DUI charges in Port Charlotte should be taken seriously because a DUI conviction can result in significant, life-changing consequences. If a person has been arrested and charged with DUI in Charlotte County, a consultation with one of our experienced Port Charlotte DUI Defense Attorneys can help them protect their legal rights. Musca Law criminal defense lawyers at our Port Charlotte DUI law firm have over 150 years of combined experience in DUI litigation, including:
- DUI 1st Offense
- DUI 2nd Offense
- 3rd, 4th, or Subsequent DUI
- Underage DUI
- Felony DUI
- DUI Manslaughter
- Drug-Related DUI
- Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) DUI
- Boating Under the Influence (BUI)
DUI Lawyers in Port Charlotte
A DUI conviction in Port Charlotte can result in extensive fines and also jail time, and suspension of the privilege to drive along with other life-altering ramifications. Learn more about Florida Statute 316.193 here to better understand the potential penalties associated with a DUI conviction or subsequent drunk driving convictions.
Port Charlotte DUI Defense and Statute 316.193
Port Charlotte DUI laws are controlled by Florida Statutes Section 316.193, which contains the law for driving under the influence offenses in Florida. According to the law, you can be charged with DUI if certain prerequisite circumstances are present. For instance, whether a person is arrested and charged with DUI can depend on:
- If the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was .08% or higher.
- If the driver was impaired to a degree by alcohol and/or drugs.
- If the driver was in physical control of a vehicle at the time of the offense.
- If another person was seriously injured or killed as a result of the offense.
- Whether there was property damage as a result of the offense.
- If the driver has any previous DUI convictions on their criminal background.
Experienced DUI Defense Attorneys in Port Charlotte
Port Charlotte DUI lawyers at Musca Law advise clients that the penalties associated with a DUI conviction in Florida are wide-ranging. They can include jail time and fines, and a DMV administrative suspension of the privilege to drive. Other potential consequences that an individual may face as a result of a DUI conviction in Port Charlotte are:
- The completion of a set amount of community service hours.
- The completion of a course on substance abuse.
- Required use of an ignition interlock device in order to drive.
- Time spent on probation.
- 10-day impoundment of the vehicle.
Other DUI Consequences in Port Charlotte
A DUI conviction on your criminal record can also lead to everyday “collateral consequences.” These include difficulty renting an apartment, getting (or keeping) a job, obtaining student financial aid, and any other situation where a criminal background check is used.
Port Charlotte DUI Attorneys – Second Drunk Driving Conviction
A second DUI conviction in Port Charlotte within 5 years of the first offense can mean even stiffer penalties, including a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 10 days. If there are certain aggravating elements such as an elevated blood alcohol concentration or a minor being in the vehicle at the time of the offense, even harsher penalties can result. This can even include punishments that an individual might receive for a felony DUI.
Port Charlotte Felony DUI Defense
Port Charlotte DUI attorneys at Musca Law want people accused of drunk driving to know that DUIs in Port Charlotte are generally treated as misdemeanors. That said, in some scenarios, a person can be charged with a felony offense. Felony DUI charges can result if:
- The offense is the third DUI within five years;
- The offense is the fourth or subsequent DUI; or
- The offense either severely or fatally injures someone else.
A felony DUI in Port Charlotte is usually classified as a third-degree felony. However, it might be enhanced to a second or first-degree felony in some specific situations. DUI manslaughter is a 2nd-degree felony. A person can be charged with DUI manslaughter if someone else is killed as a result of the DUI offense. Leaving the scene of a DUI manslaughter accident results in a specific enhancement. In this situation, a person can be charged with a 1st-degree felony. A first-degree felony is extremely serious as a first-degree felony conviction can mean up to 30 years in prison.
Port Charlotte DUI Frequently Asked Questions
Will a DUI conviction give me a criminal record? Yes. A Driving Under the Influence (DUI) conviction will appear on your criminal record. This can affect your ability to obtain certain jobs or professional licensing. However, depending on your unique legal situation, and with the legal services of an experienced defence attorney, there may be opportunities to plead the DUI charges down or participate in special first-time offender programs designed to help the first-time offender avoid a criminal record.
Port Charlotte Boating Under the Influence Attorneys
In Port Charlotte, Florida, if a person operates a boat or vessel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they can be charged with the offense of Boating Under the Influence (BUI). Section 327.35 of the Florida Statutes sets forth the law and legal penalties associated with a BUI offense in the state of Florida and Port Charlotte. A BUI conviction in Port Charlotte can lead to the defendant receiving a jail sentence of up to 6 months if it is your 1st offense. If a person has been charged with BUI before, or if enhancing circumstances exist, the penalties increase.
Call Our Port Charlotte DUI Law Firm for Legal Answers
If a person has been charged with DUI or BUI charges in Port Charlotte, Florida, it is very important that they contact a Port Charlotte Drunk Driving Defense Attorney to discuss their legal situation. Call our Port Charlotte DUI defense law firm at 800.687.2252 to set up a no-cost and confidential evaluation of a DUI or BUI case.
Common DUI Mistakes
Not Choosing a Designated Driver
Forethought will spare you from a lot of unpleasant things. Before you go out drinking, ask a friend if they would be willing to get you home safely. If you can't find someone who is willing to be the designated driver, load the Uber or Lyft app onto your phone or put the number for a local cab company in your contacts. If for some reason that doesn’t work, restaurants and bars are usually happy to call a cab for you. Being rational and planning ahead will save you from a lot of things. In this instance, it may save you from a criminal record. It may even save a life.
Not Having Your Paperwork Ready
If you drink and still make the decision to drive, you can help yourself out by having all of your necessary paperwork, usually just your license, registration, and proof of insurance, ready to hand over. Keep your license in the same spot in your wallet. Keep your paperwork in the same spot in your glove compartment, paper-clipped together. It is normal to be nervous with a police officer standing outside your car window, and knowing that you have been drinking is only going to compound that anxiety. Dumping out the contents of your purse, or digging around in your backseat trying to find all these little bits of paper that you need is going to be a major indicator that something isn’t right. The more you talk and the more you move, the more you are going to give yourself away. The police are already looking for any type of behavior that might indicate that you are under the influence. The less you say and do, the better. So keep all your necessary things together, and always in the same place.
Hiring the Wrong Port Charlotte DUI Defense Lawyer
A lot of people strive to remedy the situation by hiring an attorney after they have been arrested for drunk driving. Unfortunately, in their haste to do the right thing, they often hire the wrong attorney. Where most people mess up is by trusting their legal matters to inexperienced attorneys or attorneys who do not specialize in DUI charges. They may even base their decision solely on the cost. With an experienced Musca law attorney, you can trust that your lawyer can be counted on to examine your case, explore every avenue of defense, interview experts, and see your case through to trial if need be.
Not Getting a Copy of the Police Report
Not asking to receive a copy of the police report along with any other documentation of evidence might be damaging to your case. Police reports often lay the groundwork for a solid defense. Neglecting to gather any evidence that might be used to solidify that defense is only going to work against you.
Not Knowing/Not Exercising Your Miranda Rights
Miranda rights defend your constitutional right to remain silent once you have been arrested, to have an attorney represent you, and to not incriminate yourself. If you want to use your Miranda rights, you need to vocalize your intent to remain silent, and then remain silent. Once you have verbally acknowledged your Miranda rights, you could use them to strengthen your defense.
Self-Incrimination/Gathering Evidence Against Yourself
It is a typical reaction to feel the need to speak to, or answer questions from, the police. In the event of a DUI charge, however, one of the worst things you can do is give the police any reason to search you or administer a field sobriety test. When the police ask if you have had anything to drink, whatever comes out of your mouth next will be used against you in court. The smartest move you can make there is to ask to speak with an attorney. Even though it won’t be possible to speak with an attorney prior to the breath test being given, your valid legal request should discontinue any further questioning.
Driving on a Suspended License
If you are pulled over while you are driving on a license that was suspended because of a DUI, you can be looking at new penalties and fines. Along with an extended suspension of your driver’s license, you could also be sentenced to as long as 60 days in county jail. Any new penalties that you incur for driving on a suspended license will be tacked on to any earlier penalties.
Failure to Appear for Court
Failure to appear or simply forgetting about your court date will most likely produce a bench warrant for your arrest. The courts will deny any bonds or bail that you might have posted. Failing to appear for your scheduled court date is one of the most costly mistakes that you can make. Judges do not enjoy having their time wasted.
Talking About Your Case to Anyone Besides Your Attorney
Speaking to anybody besides your attorney can be detrimental to your case. Even if you feel like a particular police officer is on your side, do not talk to them. It’s a trick. It is in their job description to gather any evidence against you, and even an off-hand remark that you make without really thinking could be turned into something compromising. This also applies to any comments that you make to your insurance company after a drunk driving related crash. Those are not confidential and can also be used against you.
Acting as Your Own Attorney
An accomplished drunk driving attorney should be the one fighting for your best interests in court. If you declined to take a breathalyzer, didn't make good use of your Miranda rights, or forgot to go to court, a professional attorney is going to be the most capable when it comes to challenging the charges made against you with a solid legal defense. Your attorney will also make sure that the state follows all of the rules and does not overwhelm or outwit you in court. Don’t hesitate to contact our Port Charlotte office today to schedule a free, confidential, and no-obligation case review with one of our experienced DUI lawyers!