Sarasota DUI Lawyer

DUI offenses are very common as oftentimes people feel that they are able to drive safely. However, if your blood or breath alcohol level surpasses certain limits, Florida law will not see your situation the same way and you might be charged for driving under the influence. Given that these offenses can carry severe sentences, you should have a Sarasota DUI lawyer on your side.

Being arrested for DUI can be an embarrassing and inconvenient experience. In addition to this, a conviction has different ramifications that can negatively affect your daily life. If you were arrested for driving while impaired in Manatee or Sarasota County, taking legal action early on in the process might help you lessen your charges and the penalties associated with them.

Since 2009, the criminal attorneys from Goldman Wetzel have successfully represented clients facing criminal charges in Sarasota and Bradenton. With our experience of how the prosecution system and criminal law work, we can help you negotiate your charges and build a strong defense. If you are facing a DUI charge, get in touch with our skilled criminal defense attorneys today.

What is DUI in Florida?

According to Florida DUI laws, it is illegal for people to have physical control or operate a motor vehicle while being under the influence of alcoholic beverages or controlled substances. Impairment of normal faculties or having a blood or breath alcohol level of 0.08 or higher indicates that a person is under the influence.

If any factors indicating impairment of faculties are present, you can be charged with a DUI or DWI in Sarasota and should connect with an attorney. The DUI (driving under the influence) can be misleading: based on the law, you can also be accused of this offense even if you were not driving but had physical control of the car.

Oftentimes, DUI defendants assume that if they stopped driving because they had a few drinks, they will not face a DUI accusation. Nevertheless, if law enforcement caught you with a BAC of 0.08 (or higher) and you were in possession of the keys, they can argue that you had physical control of the car and they can arrest you.

DUI offenses are slightly more complex than they seem, as a result, if you were arrested, you should execute your right to counsel and contact a DUI lawyer in Bradenton. Having an expert on DUI/DWI law on your side can help you mitigate your case and take the best decisions at each stage of the legal process.

When it comes to driving while intoxicated, if you operate a vessel under the circumstances listed above (impairment of faculties or high BAC level), you could face BUI charges. Although DUI and BUI offenses have some similarities, there are some differences that distinguish them.

No matter what type of charge you are facing, they can both result in severe consequences. Hence, you need to have a strong defense.

Convictions for DUI Offenses

In Florida, depending on the severity and the number of prior convictions, DUI/DWI offenses can be classified as misdemeanors or felonies. First and second DUI offenses are considered misdemeanors (including a DUI with property damage). Third and Fourth offenses, however, are considered felonies.

A DUI conviction  means lesser or more severe penalties depending on each case. But overall, there some mandatory punishments that all DUI offenses share:

  • Attending DUI school
  • Vehicle impoundment
  • Suspension of driver’s license
  • Probation
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device (not mandatory for first-time offenders)
  • Imprisonment
  • Fines and fees

One of the things that varies the most with these convictions are the fines and the amount of jail time associated with each punishment. In other words, the fines, the imprisonment and the suspension of your license are not the same for a first and third offense.

Usually, DUI first-time offenders face up to six months in jail and a fine between $500 – $1,000. A second offense means up to nine months in jail and a maximum fine of $2,000. Note that even though these crimes are considered misdemeanors, fines are slightly different.

For a third offense, the penalties depend upon when your last conviction was. If the 3rd DUI offense occurred within 10 years from the previous conviction you will face a third-degree felony. But if it took place more than 10 years ago, you can face up to 1 year in jail and a fine between $2,000 – $5,000.

Fourth DUI offenses are considered a third-degree felony and carry a minimum fine of $2,000 and up to 5 years of prison. Determining the penalties for DUI depend on numerous factors. If you have questions about your charges, call a lawyer in Sarasota.

How long is your car impounded for a DUI in Florida?

As established before, the impoundment of a vehicle is part of a DUI conviction. The amount of time that the state takes your car into custody depends on your past DUI convictions:

  • First offense: 10 days
  • Second offense: 30 days
  • Third conviction: 90 days

Losing your car, even for a few days, can have a negative effect on your and your family’s life. The lawyers at Goldman Wetzel might be able to avoid the immobilization of your vehicle in a DUI case by proving that your family needs it as a means of transportation in Sarasota.

How Can a DUI Lawyer from Goldman Wetzel Help

Every person has the constitutional right to represent themselves in court. Nevertheless, this means that you need to be familiar with the law, the court rules, the defenses that you can use, and the possible consequences if you fail to fight your charges.

A first time DUI offender might think that it is not necessary to get a lawyer since he or she does not have other offenses. Out of inexperience you could agree to a deal that seems advantageous for you just to find out that you have to deal with more severe consequences than you initially thought.

With a  former prosecutor and a career-focused criminal defense attorney, the Bradenton DUI attorneys at Goldman Wetzel know how the prosecution handles DUI/DWI offenses. With this knowledge we can help our clients find weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case.

Whether law enforcement stopped you without reasonable suspicion or your BAC test was inaccurate, Goldman Wetzel will try to find evidence to support your case and convince the prosecutor to either drop or reduce your charges.

We can also help you prepare a strong defense and file motions so your family can have access to the vehicle involved in the offense or we can challenge your license suspension. If you were arrested for DUI in Sarasota, our attorneys can help you.

Contact our Bradenton DUI Attorney

Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance can lead to DUI charges and severe consequences. Despite Florida law harshly pursuing these offenses, a Bradenton DUI lawyer can help you obtain a successful outcome for your case.

Goldman Wetzel is a criminal law firm that represents clients facing criminal charges, including DUIs in Bradenton, Sarasota, Palmetto, Venice, Manatee County, Sarasota County and surrounding areas.

If you or a loved one have been arrested for this type of offense, speak to a Sarasota DUI lawyer to take legal action. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.