Charges for driving under the influence (DUI) can result in not only embarrassment and inconvenience, but also costly long-term consequences, potential jail time, hefty fines, a license suspension, and a stain on your record.
The good news is, when you are facing DUI charges, you are not without hope. You have legal options and legal rights, and our DUI lawyers in Clearwater at Goldman Wetzel can help you protect and exercise them. We can act as your advocates during the process, counsel you on the best way to proceed at each stage, and fight for the best possible outcome.
Potential Penalties for a Clearwater DUI Conviction
The ramifications for DUI are significant and far-reaching. They include not only criminal penalties, but also administrative penalties from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, indirect personal consequences, and financial consequences.
The specific penalties you face for your DUI charges, detailed in Florida Statute § 316.193, depend on several factors, such as the number of prior DUIs on your record, your blood alcohol content (blood alcohol levels higher than 0.15 increase your penalties substantially), and whether there were any aggravating factors (e.g., a minor in the vehicle, an open container, you caused an accident, etc.)
The potential penalties for a first DUI offense are considerable:
- Up to six months in jail
- Up to one year of probation (along with monthly probation fees)
- Up to a $1,000 fine
- Up to a one-year license suspension
- 10-day vehicle impoundment
- Potential interlock ignition device for up to six months (at defendant’s expense)
- Community service
- Completion of a substance abuse course (at defendant’s expense)
- A psychosocial evaluation and completion of any recommended treatment (at defendant’s expense)
The penalties increase exponentially for each subsequent DUI. If your blood alcohol content was over 0.15, the penalties can double. For questions specific to your case or for legal help with your DUI, contact our office for a free consultation. We can explain what to expect during the DUI process, help you navigate the system in the least stressful way possible, and help you try to avoid a conviction or minimize the penalties.
Defending Against DUI Charges in Clearwater
An arrest for DUI does not mean an automatic conviction. Even a failed field sobriety, chemical, or breathalyzer test does not always mean our criminal attorneys cannot help you win the case. Various defenses can work to get a DUI dismissed. Examples of plausible defense tactics include:
- Challenging the breathalyzer tests (the technician may have improperly calibrated the machine, or the officer may have improperly administered the test or inaccurately logged the results);
- Identifying errors or misstatements officers made during the investigation and misstatements;
- Proving the stop was unlawful;
- Challenging the officer’s allegations that the defendant looked impaired; and
- Pointing out mitigating factors, such as the client’s clean prior record or full cooperation with law enforcement.
Even when the state’s case holds, we can explore tactics to try to get the charges reduced to reckless driving.
How the Clearwater DUI Defense Attorneys at Goldman Wetzel Can Help
Facing DUI charges is a scary ordeal. Having our Clearwater DUI defense lawyers by your side, advocating for your best interests can provide peace of mind and practical help as you navigate through this rough patch.
When you enlist the Goldman Wetzel team’s help for your DUI, we can:
- Review your file, investigate the case, and look for key issues to capitalize on (e.g., unlawful stop, failure to calibrate the breathalyzer);
- Explain the DUI process step-by-step including the arraignment, pretrial conferences, evidentiary hearings, and trial;
- Discuss which legal options might suit you best;
- Devise a smart, well-thought-out defense strategy;
- Work to get the court to throw out your case or to get the prosecution to drop your charges (we can also work to get the prosecution to file lesser charges);
- File pertinent motions and negotiate with the state, when appropriate; and
- Prepare the case for trial, if need be, and fight on your behalf.
Our attorneys work together on every case we take on, using each attorney’s unique background to devise the best DUI defense strategy for your situation.
Free Consultation with Our DUI Lawyers in Clearwater
At Goldman Wetzel, we offer free consultations to drivers charged with DUI in Clearwater. With over 30 years of combined experience on both the defense and the prosecution, our lawyers are extremely familiar with the mechanics and nuances of Florida’s DUI laws and have carefully honed powerful DUI defense strategies that prove of great benefit to our clients.
Contact us to find out how we may be able to help your situation. The sooner you contact us before your next court date, the more time our team has to work on building your case.
Call 727-828-3900 today for a free consultation.