Driving Under the Influence
A conviction for Driving Under the Influence can drastically change the way you live your life on a day to day basis. Even before the Court addresses your case the Department of Motor Vehicles will seek to have your license suspended. The Florida Legislature has set forth mandatory penalties associated with the charge of DUI which can include, jail time, suspension of your drivers license, mandatory attendance at the DUI Counter Attack School and Victims Awareness Class, vehicle impound or immobilization, the instillation of an ignition interlock device upon your vehicle, community service, fines and court costs.
Your Driver's License
There are two components to every DUI, a civil component and a criminal component. The civil component is conducted by the Department of Motor Vehicles and affects your privilege to drive. One of the criminal punishments of a DUI is also a suspension of your driver's license. The criminal and civil components of a DUI charge are independent of each other. While you may successfully challenge the suspension at a Formal Review Hearing, your license may still be suspended as a result of the criminal case against you. In addition, a suspension issued as a criminal penalty may result in an additional suspension of your drivers license even if you have completed the time allotted for the suspension issued pursuant to the civil component of your case.
Formal Review Hearing
It is imperative that you contact an attorney as soon as possible upon being arrested for DUI. When you are arrested for Driving Under the Influence your ticket will serve as your driver's license for 10 days. If you do not take action before this 10 day period expires your license will be suspended. You do have the right to challenge this suspension by requesting a Formal Review Hearing. When you hire the Bigney Law Firm we will ensure that the proper paperwork is filed in order to challenge the validity of your suspension.
Hardship/Business Purposes License
If you fail to timely request a Formal Review Hearing or are not successful in challenging the suspension, your drivers license will be suspended. However, you may be eligible for a hardship/business purposes license. Before applying for such a license, it is imperative that you show proof of enrollment in the DUI Counter Attack School. There is a delay ("hard time") that applies before you can request a hardship license.
- First Suspension for a Blood Alcohol Level (BAL) above .08 = 30 days
- First Suspension for a Refusal to Submit to testing = 90 days
- Second or Subsequent Suspension with BAL above .08 = 30 days
- Second or Subsequent Suspension for Refusal = NO Hardship
DUI minimum sanctions
The crime of DUI is taken very seriously in the state of Florida, and as such the legislature has set forth mandatory sentences as follows...
|BAL under .15||BAL above .15/with a Minor/Crash|
|1st Offense||0-180 days||0-270 days|
|2nd outside of 5 years||10-270||0-365|
|2nd w/in 5 years||10-270||10-365|
|3rd outside 10 years||0-365||0-365|
|3rd w/in 10 years||30-365||30-365|
|4th (FELONY)||UP TO 5 YEARS PRISON|
|1st Offense||N/A||180 days minimum|
|2nd Offense||1 year minimum||2 years minimum|
|3rd Offense||2 years minimum||2 years minimum|
|1st Offense||10 days|
|2nd outside of 5 years||10 days|
|2nd w/in 5 years||30 days|
|3rd outside of 10 years||10 days|
|3rd w/in 10 years||90 days|
|DRIVER'S LICENSE SUSPENSION|
|1st Offense||180 days||1 year|
|2nd outside of 5 years||180 days||1 year|
|2nd w/in 5 years||5 years|
|3rd outside of 10 years||N/A|
|3rd w/in 10 years||10 years|
DUI Counter Attack School: Level I for first offense; Level II for subsequent offense
Victim Awareness Class
Habitual Traffic Offender
As illustrated above, Driving Under the Influence is an enhanceable offense. This means that each time you are convicted the penalties increase. In addition, any combination of 3 DUI's or other driving related charges such as driving on a suspended license within a 5 year period will result in your being labeled a Habitual Traffic Offender and your license will be revoked for 5 years.
Defending Your DUI
Due to the almost immediate impact upon your license that comes with the mere allegation of a DUI, time is of the essence in seeking legal counsel. The attorneys at The Bigney Law Firm will explore all avenues of defense in protecting your rights against a DUI conviction. The first inquiry is whether or not the traffic stop was legal. If the traffic stop is illegal you may be successful in getting a motion to suppress granted and thus having all of the evidence dismissed. Secondly, when being arrested for DUI law enforcement typically will have you perform field sobriety exercises. The Bigney Law Firm will use its years of experience to attack the administration of the exercises. If you were not properly instructed on these exercises or your performance upon them was adequate you may have a defense. Finally, the attorneys at the Bigney Law Firm will examine the administration of any testing of your blood alcohol level. If the proper procedures were not followed, our firm will fight to have the results of such testing dismissed against you.
The swift and harsh nature of the punishments associated with a DUI can not be emphasized enough. With only 10 days from the date of arrest to challenge the suspension of your driving privilege, time is of the essence. Call or Email the Bigney Law Firm to set up an appointment to discuss your case and any possible defenses.