2 Legal Proceedings In Florida DUI Cases
Florida drunk driving laws are among the toughest in the nation, imposing serious penalties and associated consequences if you are convicted. Even the statute seems to favor law enforcement, giving officers two options for making an arrest. Under the Florida law on Driving Under the Influence (DUI), you could be charged if you have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or more as measured by a chemical test. Police can also arrest you on grounds that your normal faculties are impaired, even without a breathalyzer or other test for BAC.
Even without a legal background, you may be aware that the penalties may include jail time, fines, and a driver’s license suspension. However, you might not realize that there are two different proceedings that could lead to punishment. To ensure protection of your rights, your Florida criminal defense attorney will handle all tasks and legal requirements related to both cases. A summary of the proceedings should also clear things up.
- Administrative Proceedings: One aspect of a DUI arrest affects your driver’s license. The state grants you the privilege of operating a vehicle within the State of Florida, and officials can take it away for violations like drunk driving. Your driver’s license could be suspended for 180 days to a year, depending on whether you have prior offenses. Note that the lookback period for purposes of second and subsequent DUIs is 5 years.
If you refuse to take a chemical test as required by Florida’s implied consent law, your driver’s license will be suspended for 12 months. It may be possible for qualifying individuals to get a hardship license after 30 days; however, if the suspension is due to a refusal to blow, the person is not eligible for 90 days.
- Criminal DUI Cases: Besides being a violation of the administrative regulations affecting your driving privileges, drunk driving is a crime. The penalties vary according to the circumstances under which you were arrested, your prior history, and other factors. Jail time is a possibility for any DUI conviction, such as:
- A first-time drunk driving conviction could mean up to 6 months’ incarceration.
- You could be sentenced to 9 months in jail for having a BAC in excess of .15 percent or having a minor in the vehicle.
- If you are involved in a drunk driving accident that caused property damage and/or minor injuries to a victim, you could be sentenced to a year imprisonment.
- You face up to 5 years in prison for causing a DUI crash that leads to serious bodily injury to a victim, since this is a felony offense.
Speak to a Florida DUI Defense Lawyer About Strategies
You might know that there are multiple penalties if you are convicted of drunk driving, but you can see how DUI cases can be challenging when they involve two proceedings. Linkhorst & Hockin, P.A. is prepared to defend your interests at every stage, so please call 561-626-8880 or go online to schedule a consultation at our offices in Palm Beach County.