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Driving Under the Influence

Getting arrested for Driving Under the Influence can completely change and disrupt your life. One day you’re driving yourself to work, and the next day you have to ask friends and family members for rides. Many people who get arrested for DUI find themselves in handcuffs for the very first time. If you have been arrested for DUI, there are many issues you will face as you navigate the justice system. Immediately after your arrest, you have some very important decisions to make. Making those decisions on your own can feel overwhelming considering that you have just spent the night in jail, faced a judge for the first time, and have had to tell your friends and family. Let Attorney Matt Thompson help you with making these decisions, you do not need to do this on your own. Contact Thompson Law and set up a free consultation with attorney Matt Thompson to discuss your case, and allow our attorney to guide you.

Driver’s License

First and foremost, your driver’s license will be taken from you at the time of your arrest. In the State of Florida, driving is considered a “privilege” and not a “right.” You accept the privilege to drive so long as you do not consume alcohol to the extent that your normal faculties are impaired.

In recent years, the law changed to make it easier for people after their first arrest for DUI to obtain some privilege to drive as their case matriculates through the legal process. If you have never been previously arrested anywhere for DUI, you may be eligible to immediately obtain a valid driver’s license with a work-purposes-only restriction. Regardless of your eligibility, the traffic citation you receive will only allow you ten (10) days to get this accomplished. Please visit the Florida Department Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle website to answer your questions. https://www.flhsmv.gov

Punishment(s) for DUI

Many of you have had experience with a friend or a family member who have been arrested and prosecuted for DUI in the past. Everyone hears stories about how DUI’s are resolved in the State of Florida. DUI cases are each different and the slightest difference in a police report can drastically change the punishment. The State must prove in every case you were the driver of the vehicle, or were in “actual physical control” of the vehicle, and at the time, you were under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol to the extent that your normal faculties are impaired. The law allows for the jury to make an inference of your intoxication if you take a lawful breathalyzer and the limit is above .08. The basic punishments and enhancements for DUI are as follows:

First Time Offenses
  • Adjudication of Guilt.
  • Up to six (6) months in jail.
  • Up to one (1) year of probation.
  • A fine no less than $500.00, and no more than $1,000.00.
  • Mandatory license suspension of a minimum of six (6) months, up to one (1) year.
  • No less than fifty (50) hours of community service.
  • Ten (10) day impound of your vehicle.
  • Must attend and complete the Level 1 DUI School, or the Alcohol Safety Education Course.
  • Must attend and complete the Victim’s Awareness Panel.
  • Must refrain from using drugs and/or alcohol while on probation with random urinalysis.
  • Pay court costs, cost of prosecution, cost of investigation.
Second Time DUI Offenses
  • Adjudication of Guilt.
  • Up to six (9) months in jail.
  • Up to one (1) year of probation.
  • A fine no less than $1,000.00, and no more than $2,000.00.
  • Mandatory license suspension of a minimum of six (6) months, up to one (1) year.
  • No less than fifty (50) hours of community service.
  • Ten (10) day impound of your vehicle.
  • Must attend and complete the Advanced Alcohol Safety Education Course.
  • Must attend and complete the Victim’s Awareness Panel.
  • Must refrain from using drugs and/or alcohol while on probation with random urinalysis.
  • Pay court costs, cost of prosecution, cost of investigation.
  • One (1) year interlock device to be installed in your vehicle at your own expense.
Second Time DUI Offense that Occurs Within Five (5) Years of the First Offense - Enhancement
  • In addition to the above-listed statutory sanctions:
  • There will be an additional sanction of a mandatory minimum of ten (10) days in jail.
  • License suspension of up to five (5) years.
Third Time DUI Offense Outside of Ten (10) Years
  • In addition to the above-listed statutory sanctions:
  • Punishable by up to twelve (12) months in jail.
  • A fine no less than $2,000.00 and not more than $5,000.00.
  • License suspension of up to ten (10) years.
  • Two (2) year interlock device to be installed in your vehicle at your own expense.
Third Time DUI Offense Within Ten (10) Years
  • A third arrest for DUI where the arrest is within ten (10) years of your second conviction for DUI can be charged as a third degree felony.
  • This is punishable by up to five (5) years in prison and up to a $5,000.00 fine.
Fourth Time DUI Offense
  • A fourth arrest for DUI, regardless of the dates of the prior convictions, will be charged as a third degree felony.
  • This is punishable by up to five (5) years in prison and up to a $5,000.00 fine.
  • A permanent driver’s license revocation.
.15 Blood Alcohol Level Enhancements
  • For any arrest for DUI, if you offer a breathalyzer and your results are a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .15 or higher, you will face additional sanctions as listed below:
  • 1stTime DUI Offense Enhancement:
    • A fine no less than a $1,000.00 and not more than $2,000.00.
    • Up to nine (9) months in jail.
  • 2ndTime DUI Offense Enhancement:
    • A fine no less than a $2,000.00 and not more than $4,000.00.
    • Up to twelve (12) months in jail.
  • 3rdTime DUI Offense Enhancement:
    • A fine of $4,000.00 or more.
DUI Offenses for Defendant’s Under Twenty-One (21) Years Old
  • The blood alcohol level for someone who is arrested and suspected of drinking and driving is reduced from .08 to .02 when the driver is under the age of twenty-one.

What is most important to understand about a DUI charge is that the more convictions you have for DUI, the more serious the sanctions become. Only certain crimes in Florida have this effect, and DUI is one of them. Hiring an attorney is very important when facing a DUI. Attorney Matt Thompson is an experienced trial attorney who has handled hundreds of DUI cases. Attorney Thompson stays up to date with changes in the law, and has filed a variety of motions addressing a litany of issues in his client’s cases.

Attorney Thompson works each case aggressively and meticulously and has the ability to file and argue motions on your behalf, and to argue your case before a jury. An alternative way to resolve your DUI case is to convince the prosecutor to amend his or her offer to allow you to enter a plea to a reckless driving, or what some may refer to as a “wet reckless.” The benefit of entering a plea to a wet reckless protects you in the future should you ever get arrested for DUI again. This will prevent the State from enforcing the enhanced sanctions discussed above. Florida’s Reckless Driving Statute with substance abuse related sanctions is found in chapter 316.192(5).

“Wet Reckless”
  • The statute states that if the Court has reasonable cause to believe that alcohol or chemical substances were used during the commission of a reckless driving, the Court shall order the person convicted of reckless driving to participate in the following:
    • Direct the person to participate in a DUI substance abuse evaluation course and attend and pay for any recommended treatment that will follow.
    • The negotiated sentence with the State may include: additional DUI classes, jail time, license suspension, community service hours, enhanced fines, and/or interlock device installation.
How Will a DUI Affect My Car Insurance?

Having a DUI on your driving record will inevitably cause you to pay more for your insurance and you will be required to carry higher insurance limits. Any DUI conviction after October 1, 2007, you must provide proof of bodily injury liability insurance in the amount of 100,000 per person, 300,000 per occurrence and 50,000 property damage liability. Certification of liability insurance must be in the form of an FR-44 and continuously maintained for a period of 3 years from the reinstatement of the DUI Revocation. A reinstatement fee of $150 up to $500, for subsequent violations may be required.

The Best Way to Avoid a DUI is to Not Get One in the First Place

In smaller towns, such as DeLand, Florida, it used to difficult to find a reputable cab company to take you home after a night of drinking. Now, with the advent of companies such as Uber and Lift, the ability to avoid an arrest for a DUI is literally at the touch of your fingertips. Attorney Matt Thompson wrote a blog on ways to avoid getting a DUI and offers a price comparison between hiring a cab versus hiring an attorney and paying court costs, fines, costs of investigation, prosecution, and probation.

The Thompson Law Approach

When you hire Matt Thompson as your attorney, you can be certain that you are hiring an experienced attorney who will fight tirelessly on your behalf. With every DUI case, Attorney Thompson’s first step is to discuss the case with you and get your account of the incident. This allows our attorney to make a determination about your case and decide what course of action is going to result in the best possible outcome for you. Attorney Thompson has experience in filing motions, successfully arguing motions, and going to trial. Attorney Thompson will take every measure to protect you.

Matt Thompson has experience prosecuting and defending charges of criminal mischief. Call us today for your free case evaluation at (386) 463-4LAW (4529), or toll free at (877) 934-4LAW (4529).

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