The St. Augustine DUI attorneys at Douglas Law Firm represent clients who have been accused of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Our experienced St. Augustine DUI attorney team understands how judges and prosecutors approach these cases and we know how to build the strongest defense for the people we represent.
Being charged with a DUI in Florida is a serious situation that can come with significant consequences including possible jail time and loss of driving privileges. It is crucial that anyone accused of driving under the influence seek the advice of a seasoned lawyer as soon as possible.
At Douglas Law Firm, a St. Augustine DUI attorney will work aggressively to defend you in court and explore every opportunity to get the charges reduced or dropped whenever possible. We have a strong track record of optimal results for the people that we represent in DUI and related cases.
Call our firm for a free consultation with a St. Augustine DUI attorney: 1-800-705-5457.
About Florida DUIs
- Florida law makes it a criminal offense to operate a car or other motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Like many other states, Florida police officers often use chemical blood, breath, or urine samples to test a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC). Anyone whose BAC is 0.08 percent or higher is considered intoxicated under state law.
- An officer can also charge a driver with a DUI without relying on a BAC test if there is other evidence showing that the person was driving while intoxicated. That may include circumstantial evidence such as:
- unsteady driving
- roadside sobriety test
- the smell of alcohol on a driver
- visual signs of impairment
Penalties for DUI in Florida
Florida law enforcement officers and prosecutors take DUI cases seriously. You should also take it seriously by having an experienced St. Augustine DUI attorney by your side.
The penalties for a DUI conviction vary based on the person’s prior record and other circumstances.
A driver convicted of DUI for the first time faces:
- Up to six months in jail
- $1,000 in fines
- 50 hours of required community service.
The driver will also have his or her driving privileges suspended for at least six months. Although some people convicted of DUI can seek a hardship driver’s license allowing limited driving privileges - such as for commuting to work or school - he or she must first complete an alcohol awareness class. The window for applying for a hardship license is small (as little as 10 days), so it is vital to consult a seasoned lawyer immediately.
The punishment increases for repeat DUI offenders. A driver convicted of driving under the influence twice within a five-year period is looking at
- Mandatory 10 days behind bars
- The loss of driving privileges for five years
- Up to $2,000 in fines
A third DUI conviction within five years is a felony offense, which comes with a mandatory 90 days in jail and 10-year license revocation. Third-time offenders can also get as much as five years in prison and another five years of probation, along with up to $5,000 in fines.
The penalties are also increased in cases where the driver’s BAC is 0.15 percent or higher or in which an intoxicated driver causes an accident. A drunk driver who causes a crash is likely to be liable for any injuries caused by the collision.
Why the Police Will Pull You Over: Our St. Augustine DUI Attorney Explains
Drivers who are accused of DUI in Florida are often pulled over by police officers for reasons other than suspicion of intoxication. Drivers are commonly stopped for erratic driving and traffic violations, such as:
- Failing to use a turn signal
- Running a red light
- Driving at night without headlights
- Making wide turns
Once a driver is stopped, an officer may ask the person to take a BAC test. An officer must have reasonable suspicion to believe that you are driving under the influence in order to ask you to take a BAC test. If the officer cannot prove reasonable suspicion later in court, any evidence obtained from a traffic stop - including the results of a BAC test - is likely to be thrown out of court. A St. Augustine DUI attorney at our firm will investigate the above scenario and others to determine if you were legally stopped by law enforcement.
Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in Florida?
A driver has the right to decline a breathalyzer or other BAC test. Under Florida’s implied consent law, however, a person who refuses a test may have his or her driver’s license suspended ranging anywhere from one year to eighteen months. The law gives you the right to challenge the suspension in court, but it is best for you to do so while being represented by a St. Augustine DUI lawyer.
What Happens After a DUI Arrest in Florida?
Drivers who are charged with DUI in Florida may be held overnight in jail. There are several steps in the legal process from there:
- Arraignment: A judge informs you of the formal charges and the maximum potential punishment. You must enter a plea and may be required to pay bail so that you can be released from jail while you await trial.
- Discovery: A St. Augustine DUI attorney will obtain and review all evidence against you, including the police reports, camera footage, and witness statements.
- Pre-Trial Conference: Your lawyer will discuss the case with the prosecutor and may explore opportunities for a plea deal.
- Pre-Trial Motion Hearings: Your attorney may file a motion or several motions asking the judge to dismiss the charges or restrict the use of certain evidence against you depending on the circumstances.
- Trial: A DUI trial can go before a judge or a jury.
- Sentencing: In the event that you are convicted or plead guilty, the judge will issue a sentence.
Do Not Face A DUI Alone - Speak with Our St. Augustine DUI Attorney
A St. Augustine DUI attorney at Douglas Law Firm will provide vital assistance throughout the legal process. A seasoned lawyer at our firm will mount an aggressive defense, from challenging the grounds for the traffic stop to exploring potential issues with the accuracy of a BAC test and working to get charges dropped or reduced.
Call today, 1-800-705-5457, or connect with us online to schedule a free consultation with a St. Augustine DUI attorney.