Stuart DUI Defense Lawyer
Arrested for Driving Under the Influence? We Can Help!
A DUI conviction may carry serious consequences for many years. However, you have the right to defend yourself against any and all charges facing you. Police must follow strict rules and procedures during a traffic stop. They must have proper cause for the stop, follow the law when collecting evidence, and inform you of your rights. If the police didn’t follow the law closely, you may be able to challenge part or all of the evidence brought against you, including breath tests.
Contact Stuart DUI defense lawyer Lance P. Richard, P.A. to determine if your rights were violated.
Actual Physical Control & Impairment
To prove a defendant is guilty of DUI, the prosecution must prove that you were in actual physical control of the vehicle and that you were impaired. The “actual physical control” element of the charge can be proven when you merely have the “ability” to operate a motor vehicle. It does not require that you were driving the vehicle with the motor running. The second element of impairment does not require proof that you were drinking alcohol. Impairment can be proved by evidence that you did not have the physical abilities to operate a motor vehicle. You may be impaired and arrested for DUI from taking the prescription medicine ordered by your doctor.
DUI Offenses & Implied Consent
If you are impaired by alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription medication while you are driving, you dramatically increase your chances of being in a crash. If you are suspected of being impaired, and a law enforcement officer asks you to take a urine or breath test, you are required to comply under Florida’s “Implied Consent Law.” When signing your driver’s license, you have agreed to take these tests upon request. Refusal to take any of these required tests may result in an immediate suspension of your driver’s license for one year. A second refusal may result in an 18-month suspension of your license.
Zero Tolerance for Drivers Under 21 & Elevated Blood Alcohol Levels
Florida has a Zero Tolerance law for drivers under 21. This means that any driver under 21 that is stopped by law enforcement and has a blood alcohol level of .02% or higher will automatically have their driver’s license suspended for six months. The .02% limit means that anyone under the age of 21 cannot have a single drink and drive.
For drivers over the age of 21, the legal limit in Florida is less than .08%. If you provide a breath, urine, or blood sample with a blood alcohol content of greater than .08%, you are presumed to be impaired under Florida law. Drivers with a blood alcohol content of greater than .15% receive enhanced penalties, as do drivers with multiple DUI convictions.
Regardless of your age, be aware that drinking and driving is considered a serious offense. Below, we have summarized the penalties in the state of Florida for a first offense DUI.
Florida Mandatory Minimum Penalties for First DUI Conviction
- Mandatory adjudication
- Fine ($250 to $500)
- Court costs and costs of prosecution
- Community service (50 hours)
- Probation (not more than one year)
- Imprisonment (not more than six months)
- Imprisonment with BAL of .08% or higher with a minor in the vehicle (not more than nine months)
- License revocation (minimum of 180 days)
- DUI school (12 hours)
- Completion of the Victim Impact Panel Program
There are several defenses that can be raised in DUI cases. You may be able to raise challenges to the traffic stop; the field sobriety tests; and the collection of blood, breath, or urine. Additionally, the prosecution may be unable to prove actual physical control of the vehicle or may be unable to prove the impairment element of the charge.
Call Lance P. Richard, P.A. at 772-494-2599 for a free consultation.