5 Important FAQs about DUIs in Florida
When one drink turns into a few too many, and you decide to get behind the wheel, there’s always a chance you might be stopped, arrested, and charged with a DUI. So, what happens next? Few—if any of us—are prepared for this scenario, so it’s likely you have many questions about the charges you are facing. In this article, we answer common FAQs about DUIs in Florida:
1. Is There a Difference between a DUI and Drunk Driving?
In Florida, a DUI defense is defined as driving or otherwise having physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, controlled substances, or chemicals that result in a blood alcohol level of or exceeding 0.08 percent, or that impair your normal faculties. While the terms “drunk driving” and “DUI” are often used interchangeably, technically speaking, they are not the same thing.
A drunk motorist is considered as being under the influence, but not all drivers under the influence are drunk as there are many different types of controlled substances and other chemicals that can impair someone’s judgment, motor skills, and reaction times.
2. Can I Be Charged If I Wasn’t Driving?
Yes. According to the law, even if you are not driving, but it can be proven that you were in physical control of the vehicle while under the influence, you could still be charged with a DUI. For instance, if you were sitting behind the wheel with the key in the ignition, you could be charged even if your car was stopped.
3. Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer?
If you are pulled over by a police officer, and he or she asks you to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test, you are legally obliged to comply. The moment you operate a vehicle in Florida, you are subject to the state’s implied consent laws which require motorists to agree to testing when requested to do so by a police officer. Refusing any of these tests will likely result in the immediate suspension of your license for a full year. If it’s not the first time you’ve declined a breath, blood or urine test, you may be unable to drive for up to 18 months.
4. Will I Go to Jail If I’m Convicted?
While Florida takes a tough stance against drunk drivers, you won’t necessarily face time behind bars if you’re convicted—especially if it’s your first DUI offense. However, if you are a repeat offender, there is a higher likelihood that you will have to serve prison time.
5. Can I Fight the Charges?
Yes. Just because you were arrested, doesn’t mean your fate is sealed. If, for instance, you can show that the arresting officers made mistakes during the stop, or that they did not have probable cause to pull you over in the first place, you may be able to have your penalties reduced or the charges against you dismissed.
Discuss Your Case with a DUI Defense Attorney in Port St. Lucie, Florida
Being arrested for a DUI can feel like the end of the world, but a conviction is never a foregone conclusion. Todd A. Kawecki is a seasoned DUI defense attorney who knows what it takes to achieve a favorable outcome.
He can help investigate the arrest and gather the necessary evidence to fight the charges you’re facing. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 772-485-4500 or drop us a message via our contact form HERE.