The penalties for DUI in Florida are quite harsh and can result in a wide range of damaging ramifications. If you have recently been arrested or are facing DUI charges in St. Petersburg, you should know that there is hope. There are tried-and-true defenses that can serve to have the penalties reduced, or if there were errors on the state’s part, to have your charges dropped.
Regardless of the circumstances of a DUI charge, it is important to retain a defense attorney as soon as possible. There is a small window of time in which to fight the charges, so you should begin working on your defense. For a qualified, determined DUI defense attorney in St. Petersburg, Tampa or Bradenton, call Goldman Wetzel today at 727-828-3900.
Penalties for DUIs in St. Petersburg
Florida imposes numerous types of penalties on those who are convicted of a DUI. The severity of the punishment increases with each repeat offense. The punishments also increase when the driver causes an accident while intoxicated.
Below is a brief overview of some of the possible penalties that might ensue with a DUI conviction:
- Fines – First convictions mean fines up to a $1,000. If your Blood/Breath Alcohol Level (BAL) was .15 or higher or there was a minor present in the car at the time of arrest, that figure doubles. Subsequent convictions mean up to $2,000 in fines or $4,000 with a BAL of .15 or higher or with a minor in the car.
- Community service – Florida requires those convicted to perform at least 50 hours of community service. In some cases, the judge will allow the defendant to “buy out” the community service hours at a rate of $10 per hour.
- Probation – Up to a year of probation is possible for a first-time DUI conviction.
- Impoundment – When you are convicted of a DUI, the state will impound your vehicle (unless we can show your family needs that vehicle). The period for impoundment is as follows: 10 days for the first conviction; 30 days for the second; and 90 days for the third.
- Incarceration – Those who have been convicted of a DUI face may imprisonment. Jail time varies depending on the defendant’s BAL and previous DUI convictions. It starts at up to six months for a first-time conviction with BAL less than 0.15. Those with three convictions in a 10 year period face felony charges, as do those with a fourth conviction regardless of when the previous three convictions took place. Felony penalties could include up to five years imprisonment.
- Driver’s license suspension – Those convicted also lose driving privileges for a certain period of time.
Not All DUIs Are Legitimate
Our firm has handled all types of DUI cases, and we have found that it is not uncommon for officers and other officials to make errors. Law enforcement officers and breath test operators are not impervious to mistakes, nor are breath test machines foolproof.
Sometimes, drivers are stopped improperly, or breathalyzers are not correctly calibrated. Another common defense is the time lapse that occurs with alcohol absorption; your BAL may have been less than the legal limit (.08) while driving, but your test may have shown a higher level because the alcohol was more fully absorbed into your bloodstream by the time the test was administered.
With each case we take, our attorneys comb through evidence to identify any mistakes and expose the errors in court. We also ensure that our clients’ cases are presented in the best light and that their rights are upheld throughout the proceedings. We understand how important your freedom, future and reputation are, and we will fight to get your DUI charges mitigated or dropped.
Free Consultation with a DUI Defense Attorney in St. Petersburg
For a free legal consultation with a defense attorney who is well versed in the ins and outs of DUI cases, call Goldman Wetzel. We have offices in Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Bradenton. Contact us today at 727-828-3900.