Getting arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Florida is a serious matter that can have significant legal and personal consequences. In Florida, DUI laws are strict, and the penalties for a conviction can be severe. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to know what steps to take to protect your rights and minimize the impact on your life. In this article, we’ll explore the key things you need to do when you’re arrested for DUI in Florida.
Understanding DUI Laws in Florida
Before we dive into what to do when you’re arrested for DUI in Florida, it’s essential to understand the state’s DUI laws. In Florida, you can be charged with DUI if you’re operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. Additionally, you can be charged with DUI if you’re driving under the influence of drugs, including prescription medications.
Florida has strict penalties for DUI convictions. The severity of the penalties depends on several factors, including your BAC at the time of your arrest, any prior DUI convictions, and whether anyone was injured or killed as a result of your actions. Penalties for DUI convictions can include fines, license suspension, mandatory alcohol education classes, community service, and even jail time.
What to Do When You Are Pulled Over for DUI
If you’re pulled over by law enforcement, and they suspect you may be driving under the influence, it’s important to remain calm and follow their instructions. Be respectful and cooperative, but remember that you have rights. You do not have to answer any questions beyond providing your name, address, and proof of insurance. You also have the right to refuse to take a field sobriety test or a breathalyzer test, although there may be consequences for refusing.
If you do choose to take a breathalyzer, you must be placed under lawful arrest prior to any breathalyzer test being admissible in court. At this point, it’s important to remain calm and follow the officer’s instructions. Do not resist arrest or argue with the officer. Once you’re in custody, you’ll have the opportunity to contact an attorney.
Arrested for DUI – the Arrest Process in Florida
Once you’re arrested for DUI in Florida, you’ll be taken to a local police station or county jail for booking. This process can take several hours, during which time you’ll be fingerprinted, photographed, and questioned by law enforcement. You’ll also have the opportunity to contact an attorney or a family member.
After booking, you’ll be held in jail until you can post bail or be released on your own recognizance. Bail amounts for DUI charges can be high, so it’s important to work with an experienced attorney who can help you negotiate a lower bail amount or secure your release on your own recognizance.
Chemical Testing and Its Role in DUI Cases
Chemical testing, including breathalyzer tests and blood tests, plays a crucial role in DUI cases in Florida. If you refuse to take a chemical test, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended for one year. If you do take a test and your BAC is over the legal limit, the results can be used as evidence against you in court.
It’s important to note that chemical tests are not always accurate. Breathalyzer tests can be affected by a variety of factors, including:
- the calibration of the device
- the temperature and humidity of the testing environment
- what you had to eat and drink and how long that was before the test
- Blood tests can also be inaccurate if the sample is mishandled or contaminated.
An experienced DUI attorney can challenge the results of a chemical test and work to have the evidence suppressed or excluded from your case.
Penalties for DUI Convictions in Florida
If you’re convicted of DUI in Florida, you can face a variety of penalties, depending on the circumstances of your case. You can find an overview of the potential penalties here!
In addition to these criminal penalties, a DUI conviction can also have personal and professional consequences. You may lose your job or have difficulty finding employment in the future. You may also have difficulty obtaining car insurance or renting an apartment. It’s important to work with an experienced DUI attorney to minimize the impact of a DUI conviction on your life.
Hiring a DUI Attorney in Tampa Bay, Florida
If you’re arrested for DUI in Florida, it’s essential to hire an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible. A DUI attorney can help protect your rights and minimize the impact of a DUI conviction on your life. They can also help you understand the legal process and what to expect at every stage of your case.
When choosing a DUI attorney, look for someone with experience handling DUI cases in Florida. They should be familiar with the local courts and have a track record of success in defending clients against DUI charges. They should also be responsive to your needs and willing to answer any questions you have about your case. In other words: Contact us for your first and free consultation about your case!