Driving under the influence can be a misdemeanor or a felony criminal offense in the State of Florida, depending on the circumstances. The law defines it as a blood alcohol or breath alcohol level of .08 or above. Driving under the influence, if convicted, has severe ramifications for an offender. Representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney is advisable, as an unrepresented defendant is at a severe disadvantage in court. Attorney Isadore Hyde can provide you with proactive representation to reduce or dismiss the charges. As a former prosecutor and a public defender, he has an in-depth understanding of DUI laws and defenses. Our office will work tirelessly to protect your rights and maximize your chances of a favorable outcome.
Driving Under the Influence Penalties:
- First time DUI arrests are generally misdemeanors. Penalties are up to six months in jail or nine months if there are minors in the car, or a blood alcohol level is .15 or higher. There is one-year probation, mandatory community service, and a six-month license revocation.
- Multiple DUI convictions are felony crimes. Depending on your prior DUI convictions, the penalties range up to 5 years in prison, mandatory license revocation, and a minimum of $2000 fine.
- If the DUI involves the injury of another, it becomes a third-degree felony. The penalty is a prison sentence of up to 5 years and a fine of up to five thousand dollars.
- A DUI with Manslaughter conviction is a second-degree felony. The penalty is a prison sentence of up to 15 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
- DUI with Manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident is a first-degree felony. There is a prison sentence of up to 30 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
Social Implications of a DUI Conviction
In addition to the State of Florida's penalties for DUI convictions, there are emotional consequences associated with an arrest and conviction. It is a traumatic experience and can elicit feelings of denial, remorse, anger, depression, and others. Your social life, reputation, and relationships with family, friends, and professionals can suffer due to increased stress and their perception of the incident. A conviction on your background check can interfere with employment, educational opportunities, and housing options. You can incur vehicle insurance rate hikes or cancellations. Loss of transportation due to a suspended or revoked license, the expense of court fines, and the necessity for an ignition interlock device are other sanctions that are distressing to an offender.
The Law Office of Isadore Hyde Can Effectively Challenge the Validity of Evidence
We believe in second chances. Attorney Isadore Hyde knows that the prosecution must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in a criminal court of law. Effective strategies and defenses can result in a case dismissal or can mitigate the charges. Some counties in Florida will dismiss charges against first-time offenders by mandating attendance in diversion programs and community restitution. These sanctions can include the completion of DUI classes, attending an alcohol treatment program, or community service.
Strategies for a DUI Defense
For a conviction, the prosecution must have evidence that the defendant was driving the vehicle and was under the influence. A law enforcement officer must have probable cause for a stop and administration of a blood or breath alcohol test within the law's standards. A gaze nystagmus test is mandatory in conjunction with this test. The timing of the tests is crucial; a time-lapse can result in the blood alcohol or breath alcohol test results being inaccurate and inadmissible. Miranda rights are required by law, and the defendant's right to remain silent and not self-incriminate must be upheld. These are examples of strategies that can be investigated and implemented in defense of a DUI arrest.
Contact Us to Discuss Your Florida DUI Charge
If you have been detained or arrested for a DUI, it is crucial to contact The Law Office of Isadore Hyde immediately. We provide a free, initial consultation that can change the course of your life. We serve clients in Orange, Seminole, and Volusia counties.