Melbourne DUI Lawyers
A Defense Firm with 150 + Years Combined DUI Law Experience
Melbourne DUI attorneys at Musca Law want people to know that convictions relating to driving under the influence offenses in Florida carry several penalties. Some of the penalties associated with a DUI conviction can include jail time and fines and collateral consequences that a criminal conviction can have on an individual’s life. Accordingly, if someone is facing DUI charges in the Melbourne, Florida area, they should consider consulting with an experienced Melbourne DUI Defense.
Melbourne DUI Cases Musca Law Handles
Our DUI defense firm in Melbourne has extensive experience handling a variety of DUI cases including those that involve:
- A First or Second Offense
- Third, Fourth, or Subsequent DUI Offense
- Drug-Related DUI
- Felony DUI
- DUI Manslaughter
- Underage DUI
- Boating Under the Influence (BUI)
- Commercial Driver’s License DUI
Melbourne DUI Attorneys – Driving Under the Influence in Melbourne (DUI) [Florida Statute 316.193]
Our experienced Melbourne DUI defense lawyers have a lot of experience dealing with the law and we have determined that Florida Statutes Section 316.193 provides the elements of and penalties associated with driving under the influence offenses in Melbourne Florida. Pursuant to the law, an individual can be charged with a DUI offense based on a number of different factors and circumstances. When the prosecution decides whether a person should be charged with DUI, some of the factors taken into consideration include:
- How high was the blood alcohol concentration (BAC)? Was it .08 percent or more?
- Was the BAC .15 or higher?
- Was the individual driving or in physical control of a vehicle when they allegedly committed the offense?
- Were they impaired to any degree by alcohol, drugs, or a combination of the two?
- Did they seriously injure or kill anyone?
- Did they cause any property damage?
- Have they been convicted of DUI previously?
DUI Defense Lawyers in Melbourne FL
This is not an exhaustive list of factors used to determine DUI charges in Melbourne, and sometimes there are certain situations that may warrant felony DUI charges. If a person has been arrested and charged with DUI in the Melbourne area they can contact our firm today to discuss their options.
DUI Defense Attorneys in Melbourne, Florida Discuss DUI Penalties in Florida
Some of the penalties associated with a DUI conviction in Melbourne can include jail time, fines, and the administrative suspension of an individual’s driver’s license, but there are also adverse collateral consequences. For instance, a criminal record can affect an individual’s ability to obtain student financial aid, rent an apartment, own a firearm, and even affect a person’s ability to obtain or keep a job. Other consequences of a DUI conviction in Melbourne Florida can include:
- Community Service Hours
- A Period of Time on Probation
- Installation of an Ignition Interlock Device
- Ten Day Vehicle Impoundment
- Completion of a Substance Abuse Course
If someone is arrested and charged with a second DUI offense within five years of their first offense, they can face harsher penalties that can include a minimum jail sentence of ten days. If there are certain aggravating factors present, they can be subject to even more severe penalties such as lengthy jail sentences, hefty fines, and suspension of their driving privileges.
The punishments for a DUI charge in the state of Florida hinge upon whether or not you have any previous convictions for the same charge and whether or not there were any mitigating or aggravating or factors to be considered.
On a first DUI offense, you could be fined somewhere between $500 and $1000 except in cases where your blood alcohol level exceeds .15%. If that is the case, then you can face a fine of somewhere between $1,000 and $2,000. For first time offenders, the requirement is a minimum of 50 hours of supervised community service and the possibility of as long as six months in jail, or as long as nine months if your blood alcohol levels were extremely high.
The jail time, court-mandated fines, and community service hours escalate from this point on. For example, once you receive your fourth conviction, you will be facing fines that are a minimum of $2,000 and facing an incarceration term of as long as five years.
Melbourne Florida Felony DUI Defense Attorneys
Driving under the influence offenses in Melbourne Florida are usually considered misdemeanor offenses. But under some circumstances, the offense might be considered a felony. Under Florida law, a person can be charged with a felony DUI offense if:
- It is the third DUI in five years;
- It is the fourth or subsequent DUI;
- The person seriously injured or killed another person as a result of the DUI.
Most felony DUI offenses are considered third-degree felonies. However, under some circumstances, a DUI might be charged as a second or first-degree felony. If someone dies as a result of your DUI, an individual can be charged with second-degree DUI manslaughter where they can face up to fifteen years in jail. If someone leaves the scene of the accident after a person dies, they can be charged with a first-degree felony where penalties can include up to thirty years in jail.
BUI Defense Lawyers in Melbourne, Florida
In Melbourne 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 provides the elements of and the penalties associated with boating under the influence (BUI) offenses. If an individual is convicted of a first-time BUI offense, they can face up to six months in jail. However, the penalties can be harsher depending on the facts and circumstances of the case.
No DUI Defense Case Review in Melbourne, Florida
Melbourne DUI and BUI defense attorneys at Musca Law want people to know that if they have been charged with a DUI or BUI offense in Melbourne or the surrounding area, they should consider consulting with an experienced Melbourne Drunk Driving Defense Attorney as soon as possible to protect and preserve their legal rights. Call our law office at 800.687.2252 to discuss any criminal matter.
At What Point Could I Be Charged With a DUI?
In the state of Florida, you can be arrested for driving under the influence anytime that your blood alcohol level surpasses that of the legal limit for driving, which is .08%. You could also be arrested for driving under the influence if you display a noticeable handicap in your everyday faculties that appears to law enforcement to be caused by having ingested alcohol or drugs, even if you tested with a blood alcohol level that is under the legal limit. Lastly, those who are under the legal drinking age are able to be charged with driving under the influence according to Florida’s zero-tolerance policy. This policy allows those who are under the age of 21 to be charged with driving under the influence if their blood-alcohol levels are at just 0.02% or higher.
Will I Have a Criminal Record for the Rest of My Life?
Operating a motor vehicle while you are under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol is considered a crime in the state of Florida. You could be charged with a misdemeanor DUI or possibly with felony DUI if the courts discover that you are a repeat offender. Your felony or misdemeanor conviction will indeed be displayed on your criminal record, the same as with any other criminal conviction.
There are some changes, however, in specific cases where it might be possible to have your charges reduced to something less serious or for you to voluntarily enter a first-time DUI offender class, which will enable you to circumvent having a criminal record for the rest of your life, so long as you abide by specific demands that will be placed on you by the courts. The DUI defense attorneys at Musca Law will represent anyone who has been charged with a DUI in Melbourne, Florida and we will help you to decide which of these choices may be the best one for you and will begin to outline a plan in case we go to trial.
What are the different kinds of field sobriety tests?
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) Test
After a person has had too much to drink, their eyes will typically make an involuntary jerking motion when trying to look to the side, a phenomenon that is not present in those who are sober under these same circumstances. During the HGN test the office will check for:
- The fluidity of your eye movement;
- A jerking movement in your eyes when they are as far to the periphery as possible; and
- A jerking movement in your eyes at any other point during the test.
This test requires you to take a given number of consecutive steps, each with the heel of your front foot meeting the toes of your back foot.
One-Leg Stand Test
You are made to stand on one foot, with the other foot off the ground, then count by ones beginning with 1000 (1000…1001…1002, etc.) until the officer tells you that you may stop.
All I Took Was my Legally Prescribed Medication. Can I Still Get a DUI Charge?
In short, yes. If your doctor decides that you take certain medication for your health and writes out a valid prescription for that medication if that medication has the strength to alter your potential for thinking and behaving in a rational way while you are driving then the responsibility falls to you to take it at a suitable time during the day. Just like alcohol, the substance is absolutely legal and the fact that you took it is not what is being doubted by law enforcement. What they are having a problem with is that you were not responsible enough to not operate a motor vehicle while you were under its influence. Ultimately, the call is one that law enforcement is free to make. If a police officer believes that your prescription medication is responsible for your diminished cognitive functioning, then you may very well be given a citation for driving under the influence, even if you are able to prove that it is your legal prescription.
Fighting a DUI in Florida
Prior to your DUI trial getting underway, the charge itself is able to be challenged on legal, administrative, or constitutional grounds. A strong, well-crafted argument could allow for key pieces of the prosecution’s evidence being disallowed by the court, making it unlikely that they will want to proceed with the trial.
Police officers are infamous for pulling over a car based on a suspicion that you may have been drinking. Once they pull you over, their techniques or examination are often sketchy and/or ineffective. A lot of the police officers who are out there arresting people for driving under the influence have very limited training in the area of the physiological responses of the body to the ingestion of too much alcohol.
In addition to the subpar training, the devices that law enforcement officials rely on to test your blood, urine, or breath for the presence of alcohol are highly susceptible to errors, both mechanical and human. Also, despite the fact that these devices have to comply with stringent governmental controls in order to be admissible in court, they are more often than not, poorly maintained.
How does all of this information apply to you? Clearly stated, the prosecution will need every available shred of evidence against you in order to keep the judge from throwing out your DUI case for insufficient evidence or to be able to give a solid case to the jury.
If your DUI defense attorney challenges even a single piece of evidence in the prosecution’s case against you that results in that proof being suppressed (not allowed at your trial), the State might be inhibited when it comes to moving forward or possibly made to negotiate a settlement for a reduced charge. When it comes to defending you against a charge of driving under the influence, one small victory like this can often lead to a much bigger one.