First DUI in Florida? Here’s What You Should Know
Whether you blew over the limit, failed a chemical test, or were unable to successfully navigate the officers’ field sobriety checks, one thing is for certain: You’ve now found yourself in a terrifying situation. While a first-time DUI offense could be chalked up to a simple mistake, officers won’t see this transgression as anything other than a blatant violation of the law.
As such, you could be facing strict penalties and a permanent mark on your criminal record. With so much uncertainty ahead of you, it pays to brush up on what you should expect in the weeks to come.
The Penalties for a First DUI
If you were hoping to escape with just a slap on the wrist, you should know that lawmakers have taken a hard stance against those caught driving drunk. Even first-time offenders face jailtime and could be barred from driving for a substantial period after their conviction. Additionally, if you caused an accident while under the influence, the punishments could be increased.
Let’s look at some of the penalties you might face:
- License Suspension: After a DUI conviction, your license will usually be suspended for up to a year. You will have an opportunity to apply for a hardship license so that you are able to commute to work, although such licenses usually limiting your travels to this trip alone.
- Fines: You could be strapped with up to $2,000 in fines if your arrest involved any aggravating factors. Thankfully, if you are unable to cover the cost of such fines, the courts may let you chip away at this total by performing community service at a rate of $10 credit per hour.
- DUI School: You may be ordered to complete a course at DUI School, a program designed to educate attendees on the dangers of alcohol consumption.
- Community Service: As a first-time offender, there’s a high likelihood that you will be required to perform a minimum of 50 hours of community service.
- Expensive Auto Insurance: Those convicted for driving under the influence will often have to pay more for insurance over the next few years.
- Ignition Interlock Device: If your arrest involves aggravating circumstances, you may be required to install and use an ignition interlock device for six or more months as part of your sentence.
Can I Have the Penalties Reduced?
Yes. Fortunately, there will always be an opportunity to fight the charges, even if the arresting officers have told you that your fate is sealed. From the moment the officers decide to stop you, they are required to follow protocol to ensure that your rights are protected. If, for example, they conducted field sobriety tests incorrectly or didn’t have probable cause to stop you in the first place, you may be able to have the case against you dismissed.
However, there are some situations where a conviction cannot be avoided. Fortunately, a skilled DUI lawyer may be able to take steps to have the penalties reduced.
Discuss Your Case with a Palm Beach Gardens DUI Attorney Today
Were you arrested for driving under the influence? Turn to attorney Todd A. Kawecki to find out how you might be able to fight the charges. With experience working as a prosecutor, Todd understands what it takes to succeed even in the most complex cases.
He can investigate the arrest, gather the necessary evidence to support your defense, and provide tenacious representation throughout proceedings. Dial 772-485-4500 or head over to our contact page HERE to request a case review with a Florida DUI lawyer.