Florida takes the issue of drunk driving seriously. If you face DUI charges in Tampa, a conviction means a substantial fine, the suspension of your driver’s license, and potential jail time. Worse, the conviction will remain on your record for a lifetime.

The best way to protect your future is to find an advocate who can protect your legal rights and fight diligently for the best possible outcome in your case. The DUI lawyers in Tampa at Goldman Wetzel want you to know there is hope. Our innovative, team-based approach and unique insight into the inner workings of the legal system can make all the difference in your case.

Contact us today to speak to one of us directly: 727-828-3900.

What Are the Penalties for DUI in Tampa?

Florida Statute § 316.193 outlines the potential penalty structure for a DUI conviction in Tampa, if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was between 0.08 and 0.149:

First Offense DUI

  • Fine of $500 to $1,000
  • Up to six months in jail
  • Up to one year of probation
  • A combination of jail and probation of up to one year
  • 50 hours of community service
  • Vehicle impoundment
  • License revocation 180 days to one year
  • DUI school

Second Offense DUI

  • Fine of $1,000 to $2,000
  • Up to nine months in jail
  • Ignition interlock device for one year
  • Vehicle impoundment
  • License revocation up to five years
  • DUI school

Third Offense DUI (10+ years since previous conviction)

  • Fine of $2,000 to $5,000
  • Up to 12 months in jail
  • Ignition interlock device for two years
  • Vehicle impoundment
  • License revocation
  • DUI school

Third Offense DUI (within 10-year lookback period)

  • Fine of $5,000
  • Up to five years in prison
  • Ignition interlock device for two years
  • Vehicle impoundment
  • License revocation minimum of 10 years
  • DUI school

If you had a minor in the vehicle while driving drunk, or if your BAC was 0.15 or above, your penalties will be as follows:

Enhanced First Offense DUI

  • Fine of $1,000 to $2,000
  • Up to nine months in jail
  • Up to one year of probation
  • A combination of jail and probation of up to one year
  • At least 50 hours of community service
  • Ignition interlock device for at least six months
  • Vehicle impoundment
  • License revocation 180 days to one year
  • DUI school

Enhanced Second Offense DUI

  • Fine of $2,000 to $4,000
  • Up to 12 months in jail
  • Ignition interlock device for at least two years
  • Vehicle impoundment
  • License revocation up to five years
  • DUI school

Enhanced Third Offense DUI (within 10-year lookback period)

  • A fine of at least $4,000
  • Up to five years in prison
  • Ignition interlock device for at least two years
  • Vehicle impoundment
  • License revocation minimum of 10 years
  • DUI school

If you get us involved early enough, we may be able to convince the prosecution forgo filing charges or reduce any enhanced charges you might face.

Will a Conviction for DUI in Tampa Remain on My Record?

If you plead guilty, or if the court convicts you on drunk driving charges, that conviction will remain on your record permanently, with no possibility of having your record expunged or sealed.

Upon conviction for felony DUI, you will lose your civil liberties including the right to own or carry a firearm, to vote, or to sit on a jury. But, even if your conviction was a simple misdemeanor, it will show up whenever someone runs a background check on you.

Because many potential employers run background checks on potential employees — and many landlords check the backgrounds of potential tenants — this could affect your ability to get a job or rent an apartment.

And, if you hold a professional license for real estate, nursing, teaching, etc., you have a good chance of permanently losing your license. If you hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL), you may lose your ability to earn a living.

How Can the Goldman Wetzel DUI Team Help Me?

Even for a first offense, a Tampa DUI conviction will significantly affect your life.

The Goldman Wetzel DUI law team understands how serious these charges are. This means we will always endeavor to convince the prosecution to forgo filing charges in the first place. To do this, we ensure the prosecutor gets to know you. When the prosecutor knows who you are, you become more than “just another criminal.” The prosecutor knows you are human; you, like other humans, make mistakes.

If dropping the charges is not possible, we work diligently to identify potential weaknesses in your case.

Some of the most common strategies we might use to defend you for a Tampa DUI include issues with your traffic stop or sobriety checkpoint, a lack of probable cause for your arrest, and problems with chemical testing for BAC.

Reasonable Suspicion: The police must have reasonable suspicion that you violated the law before pulling you over. Otherwise we may demonstrate that yours was an unlawful stop. If your arrest involved a sobriety checkpoint, we can challenge the legality of that checkpoint. If that challenge succeeds, the court may throw out any subsequent evidence.

Probable Cause: The police must establish probable cause before arresting you and asking you to submit to BAC testing. We will analyze any available video footage of field sobriety tests and interview any potential witnesses (e.g., other officers, passengers in your vehicle) to determine whether the officer acted properly when administering these tests.

Breathalyzer Testing: Breath testing equipment can fail or return inaccurate results. If the police failed to maintain or test the equipment properly, or if the technician who administered the test lacked the proper qualifications, the court could disallow the results.

Why Choose the Goldman Wetzel DUI Lawyers in Tampa?

Because the potential penalties for a Tampa DUI conviction are so harsh, you must carefully consider how to proceed.

Choosing the right legal team can help to ensure the best possible outcome for your future. The DUI lawyers of Goldman Wetzel offer our clients an innovative and aggressive approach to criminal defense. We work as a team on your behalf, scrutinizing evidence and identifying the best strategies for your defense.

Our team also has experience within the Pinellas County criminal court system as well as the State Attorney’s office. This means we know how the prosecutor will build a case against you, giving us unique insight for building an effective defense strategy.

Because we want to ensure that you understand the seriousness of your charges and what a conviction could mean for your future, we invite you to call us for a free case evaluation.

Call us today at 727-828-3900 to schedule your consultation with a DUI lawyer in Tampa.