Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

Under Florida law, DUI is one offense, proved by impairment of normal faculties or unlawful blood alcohol or breathe alcohol level of .08 or above. The penalties upon conviction are the same, regardless of the manner in which the offense is proven. Florida provides harsh penalties for anyone who is convicted of drinking and driving, and whether this is your first arrest or if you have previously been convicted of DUI, you must take action now to avoid the serious consequences you face.

If you are facing a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) offense and need legal representation, the Law Office of Karla Y. Campos-Andersen ESQ. P.A. can advice you on all matters related to DUI.

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Understanding Your Rights

While nearly everyone knows that it is against the law to drink and drive while impaired by alcohol, fewer know that it is illegal to drive after taking certain drugs. The use of drugs or medications may cause impairment of a driver’s normal faculties, and this exposes the driver to the risk of an arrest and conviction for DUI. After a conviction on DUI, the license of the driver is suspended or revoked. In cases of suspension, privileges on driving can be restored but with a few limitations.

Field sobriety exercise (FSE)

The US Department of Transportation explains the Field Sobriety Exercise as, “a battery of three exercises administered and evaluated in a standardized manner to obtain validated indicators of impairment and establish probable cause for arrest.”

If a police officer believes that you may be impaired, he may administer the (FSE’s), such as a walking as standing on one leg for 30 seconds. The officer must correctly perform the FSE that are approved by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). Field Sobriety Exercises are absolutely voluntary, though Police Officers will rarely inform drivers of this fact.

What to Do After a DUI Arrest?

First, it is important that you hire an experienced Fort Myers DUI lawyer who regularly practices DUI law and is knowledgeable of the numerous technical issues involved in a DUI arrest. The first ten days after a DUI arrest are the most important. You or your attorney must contact the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles within ten days of your arrest for DUI, to request an administrative review hearing, at which we can help you contest the automatic suspension of your driver’s license. Otherwise, you can lose your license for between 180 days and a full year for a first arrest. You may also be eligible to obtain a temporary hardship license.

If I simply intend to plead guilty, why do I need a lawyer?

Experienced legal counsel may help you minimize your legal problems. A criminal defense attorney helps to balance the power between the defendant and the prosecution.

What is the punishment for drunk driving?

DUI penalties may include license suspension or time in jail. the discretion to choose less-restrictive options or a combination of options, including probation, community service, alcohol awareness education, abuse counseling, ignition interlock systems, home monitoring, suspension of vehicle registration, vehicle impoundment or in-house alcohol treatment. For subsequent offenses, the likelihood of imprisonment and the steepness of fines usually increase and in all cases the loss of driving privileges — at least temporarily — is almost guaranteed.

Fine Schedule s. 316.193(2)(a)-(b), F.S.

  • First Conviction: Not less than $500, or more than $1,000. With Blood/Breath Alcohol Level (BAL) of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle: Not less than $1,000, or more than $2,000.
  • Second Conviction: Not less than $1,000, or more than $2,000. With BAL of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle: Not less than $2,000, or more than $4,000.
  • Third Conviction: More than 10 years from second: Not less than $2,000, or more than $5,000. With BAL of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle: Not less than $4,000.
  • Fourth or Subsequent Conviction: Not less than $2,000.

Community Service – s. 316.193 (6)(a), F.S.

  • First Conviction: Mandatory 50 hours of community service or additional fine of $10 for each hour of community service required.

Probation – s. 316.193 (5)(6), F.S.

  • First conviction, total period of probation and incarceration may not exceed 1 year.

Imprisonment– s. 316.193 (2)(a) 2, 4(b), (6)(j), F.S.

At court’s discretion, sentencing terms may be served in a residential alcoholism or drug abuse treatment program, credited toward term of imprisonment.

  • First Conviction: Not more than 6 months. With BAL of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle: Not more than 9 months.
  • Second Conviction: Not more than 9 months. With BAL of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle: Not more than 12 months. If second conviction within 5 years, mandatory imprisonment of at least 10 days. At least 48 hours of confinement must be consecutive.
  • Third Conviction: If third conviction within 10 years, mandatory imprisonment of at least 30 days. At least 48 hours of confinement must be consecutive. If third conviction more than 10 years, imprisonment for not more than 12 months.
  • Fourth or Subsequent Conviction: Not more than 5 years or as provided in s.775.084, Florida Statutes, as habitual/violent offender.

For more information about Florida DUI and Administrative Suspension Laws visit the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles web site

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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