ARENA LAW FIRM

Tampa Florida DUI Lawyer

A DUI arrest is a humbling and frightening experience.  Most of our DUI clients have never been arrested or charged with a crime.  Anthony S. Arena at Arena Law Firm, P.A. can help set your mind at ease. We can explain everything you need to know about facing a DUI charge and dealing with the suspension of your license if you either blew over the legal limit of .08 or if you refused to take the Breathalyzer test or the urine test.

10 Day Time Limit.  It is important that you contact and hire a lawyer promptly after a DUI arrest, particularly if your license was taken from you for blowing over the legal limit or refusing to take a breath or urine test.  You have a right to challenge the administrative suspension of your license, but you must file an application for a hearing within Ten (10) days after the suspension.  If you don not file the application within Ten (10) days, you lose your right to challenge the suspension.  You should almost always challenge the suspension, because challenging that suspension can also help you defend the DUI criminal charge.

Your Citation is Your Drivers License for 10 Days

Even if the Law Enforcement Officer takes your license in connection with a DUI arrest, you are eligible to drive with no restrictions for a period of ten (10) days following the date of the DUI arrest.  Your DUI citation is your driver’s license.  For example, if you were arrested on January 1, you can use your citation as a driver’s license through and including January 11.  At midnight, however, your ability to drive for any reason is taken away, unless you obtain a temporary driving permit prior to the expiration of the ten day period.

Language of the Florida DUI Statute

Florida Statute Section 316.193 makes it a crime to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle if either (a) the person is under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substance set forth in Section 877.111 of the Florida Statutes, or any substance controlled under chapter 893, when affected to the extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired; or (b) the person has a blood-alcohol or breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or per 210 liters of breath.

Two Ways the State Can Prove DUI

Under Florida Law, the State can prove a person is guilty of DUI by using either of two different methods. Under both methods, the State has to prove the Defendant  was either driving or in Actual Physical Control of a vehicle.

Under method one, the State also has to prove that the Defendant’s blood alcohol level of was .08 percent or higher.

Under method two, it does not matter what level of alcohol the Defendant has in his or her body.  Instead of proving an illegal alcohol level, the State can alternately prove the Defendant was impaired by alcohol or a chemical substance to the extent that his or her normal faculties were impaired.  Chemical substances include medications, legal drugs and illegal drugs.  The State can prove the Defendant’s normal faculties were impaired by showing that the Defendant’s ability to perform normal activities like walking, talking, speaking and the like were impaired.

How a DUI can Affect Your Life

A DUI charge can be life altering.   DUI charges and convictions can mean lead to a loss of your job, loss of your freedom, extensive fines and monetary expenses, an increase in insurance expenses, loss of driving privileges, and a social stigma that can affect your personal life and professional career.

Just because you were arrested for DUI does not mean that you will be convicted of DUI.  By hiring a competent attorney, you maximize your chance of having a favorable outcome in your case.  A successful outcome may include a reduction of your charge from DUI to a Reckless Driving charge, a dismissal of the DUI, or victory at trial.  At this time, more than ever, an experienced attorney can make all the difference.

Administrative Suspension of Your License

After a DUI arrest in Florida, there are usually two different types of cases pending against you.  In addition to the criminal charge of DUI, your license will be administratively suspended if your blood alcohol level was greater than .08 or if you refused to take any breath test or to provide a urine sample.  You will need to hire an attorney to challenge the Administrative suspension of your license.

Temporary Driving Permit.  If you challenge the Administrative Suspension of your license and if your driving privilege is not suspended for any reason other than blowing over the legal limit or refusing to taka a breath or urine test, you will be eligible to obtain a temporary driving permit for approximately 42 days

Your attorney can also assist you in obtaining an additional 42 day driving permit, so you can continue driving while we fight this suspension that will otherwise occur if you do nothing. The formal review hearing usually takes place within 45 days after your DUI arrest. The administrative hearing will be one of the most important parts of fighting your DUI case. No down side exists to requesting a formal review hearing.

 DUI Criminal Penalties

Florida Statutes require Courts in Florida to impose a certain minimum penalties if you are convicted of a DUI offense.  The minimum penalties become progressively stronger with each additional offense.  The minimum penalties are also enhanced for a second DUI if the offense occurred within five (5) years of the first DUI and for a third DUI if the offense occurred within ten (10) years of the second DUI.  The criminal penalties and enhancements are discussed below.

First DUI

If you are convicted of a first-time DUI, the minimum punishments listed below are mandatory:

  • Fines:  Not less than $500, or more than $1,000. With Blood/Breath Alcohol Level (BAL) of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle: Not less than $1,000, or more than $2,000.
  • Incarceration:  Not more than 6 months. With BAL of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle: Not more than 9 months.
  • Probation:  Up to 12 months of probation may be given, but most judges allow the probation to end upon completion of all of the conditions of the sentence or after the six month point if all conditions of the sentence have been satisfied.
  • Vehicle impoundment: 10 day impoundment or immobilization of the vehicle any one vehicle registered in the defendant’s name. This 10 day period cannot be served while you are serving any jail sentence. If you are eligible to drive at the time of the immobilization, you may drive a different car.  This condition is usually satisfied by hiring a company to install a “Club” in your vehicle for the ten day period.  You would show the receipt for the service to your probation officer to show proof that you completed this condition of your sentence.  The court may dismiss the order of impoundment if (1) the impoundment of your vehicle creates a hardship for someone in your family, or (2) the vehicle is operated solely by one of your employees or by a business owned by the defendant.
  • Driver’s license revocation:  Your Florida driver’s license shall be revoked a minimum of 180 days or a maximum of one year.  Judges almost always impose the minimum revocation period.
  • Community service:  You will serve a minimum of 50 hours of community service. The Judge may allow you to “buy out” some or all of your community service hours at a rate of $10 per hour.
  • Ignition Interlock device:  If your blood-alcohol level was .15 or higher, or if there was a minor in the car at the time of your driving, the judge is required by law to impose the installation of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for not less than 6 months.  This means that you will not be allowed to reinstate your driving privilege without showing proof that you have available to you a vehicle with an ignition interlock device installed.  Additionally, the 6 month period does not begin to run until you actually do have a properly equipped vehicle and your driving privilege has been restored.

Second DUI

If you are convicted of a second DUI, the first question any attorney should ask you is whether the date of the second DUI was within 5 years of the date of the first DUI.  If so, the minimum punishments are enhanced to include a requirement that you serve at least ten (10) days in jail and that your driving privilege be revoked for five (5) years.

  • Fines:  Not less than $1,000, or more than $2,000. With BAL of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle: Not less than $2,000, or more than $4,000.
  • Incarceration:  Not more than 9 months. With BAL of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle: Not more than 12 months. If second conviction within 5 years, mandatory jail time of at least 10 days. At least 48 hours of confinement must be consecutive.
  • Probation:  Up to 12 months of probation may be given.
  • Vehicle impoundment:  If the second DUI was within five (5) years of the first DUI, the vehicle must be impounded for 30 days.  If the second DUI occurred more than five (5) years after the first, the DUI, the impoundment or immobilization of the vehicle is the same as for a First DUI.  See above.  The immobilization or impoundment condition is satisfied in the same manner as for first time offenders and may be dismissed for the same reasons as stated for first time offenders.
  • Driver’s license revocation:   Your driving privilege shall be revoked for a minimum of 5 years if the second DUI occurred within five (5) years of the first DUI.  If the second DUI occurred more than five (5) years after the first, the DUI, your driving privilege shall be revoked for a minimum of 180 days or a maximum of one year, the same as for first time offenders.
  • Community service:   There is no mandatory amount of community service hours for a second conviction for DUI, however most prosecutors and judges require at least 50 hours to be performed.
  • Ignition Interlock device – The judge is required by law to impose the installation of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for not less than one year.  This means that you will not be allowed to reinstate your driving privilege without showing proof that you have available to you a vehicle with an ignition interlock device installed.  Additionally, the one year period does not begin to run until you actually do have a properly equipped vehicle and your driving privilege has been restored.  If your BAC was .15 or higher, then not less than 2 continuous years placement of an ignition interlock device.

Third DUI

If the third DUI occurred more than 10 years after the second DUI, penalties are as follows.

  • Fines:  Not less than $2,000 nor more than $5,000, with a minimum $4,000 fine if your BAC was .15 or higher or if there was a minor present in the vehicle at the time of the offense.
  • Incarceration:  No mandatory jail term, up to 12 months maximum.
  • Probation:   Up to 12 months of probation may be ordered.
  • Vehicle impoundment:  90 days immobilization or impoundment of vehicle.
  • Driver’s license revocation:  Your driving privilege shall be revoked for a minimum of 180 days or a maximum of one year, the same as for first time offenders.
  • Ignition Interlock device:  An ignition interlock device is required to be installed on your vehicle for a minimum period of 2 years

If the third DUI occurred within ten (10) years of the second DUI, the minimum sanctions are greater.  You can also be charged with a Felony offense on a third or subsequent DUI.

  • Fines:  Not less than $2,000 nor more than $5,000, with a minimum $4,000 fine if your BAC was .15 or higher or if there was a minor present in the vehicle at the time of the offense.
  • Incarceration:  The Judge is required to order a minimum of 30 days in jail, where at least 48 hours must be served consecutively. If you are charged with a felony, you can receive up to 5 years in prison.
  • Vehicle impoundment:  90 day immobilization or impoundment of vehicle.
  • Driver’s license revocation:   Your driving privilege shall be revoked for a minimum of ten (10) years.  You are eligible to apply for a hardship license after 2 years, if you have not been caught consuming alcohol or controlled substances, and have not been caught driving a vehicle for the 12 months leading up to the reinstatement request.
  • Interlock device:  An ignition interlock device is required to be installed on your vehicle for a minimum period of 2 years.

Fourth or Subsequent DUI

A fourth or subsequent DUI can have significant and permanent effects.  The State can and usually will charge this as a Felony offense, which is punishable by up to five (5) years in the Florida State Prison.  Additionally, your driving privilege will be revoked permanently upon conviction of a fourth DUI.

  • Fines:  Not less than $2,000 and not more than $5,000.
  • Incarceration:   Not more than five (5) years.
  • Probation:  Up to 5 years probation may be ordered if charged as a felony.
  • Vehicle Impoundment:  Same as 3rd DUI conviction.
  • Driver’s License Revocation:  Permanent revocation of your license.
  • Hardship– Fla.Stat. 322.271(5): Effective until October 1, 2011, upon expiration of 5 years after the date of the last conviction or the expiration of 5 years after the termination of any incarceration, whichever is later, you may petition the department for reinstatement of your driving privileges where the first year of reinstatement must be restricted for employment purposes.

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Call us or email us now or fill out our Case Evaluation/Question Form.  We are happy to review your Personal Injury or Criminal case.  Anthony Arena will let you know if you need an attorney and how Arena Law Firm can help you.  Let our experience work for you.!

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  • 1005 N. Marion St
  • Tampa, Florida 33602
  • Phone: (813) 223-4541
  • Email: anthonyarena@msn.com
  • Fax: (813) 314-9626
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