Florida DUI / Drunk Driving

Florida law prosecutes driving under the influence crimes harshly. It is one of few crimes that you cannot have sealed or expunged, even if you were not adjudicated guilty or pled no contest.

Many would argue that Florida requires hard laws on DUI offenses. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), in 2015, there were 797 deaths due to drunk driving and drunk driving represented 27% of all traffic accidents that year. The Florida DHSMV reported 33,625 DUI convictions in Florida just one year prior, in 2011.

Fort Lauderdale DUI Attorneys

Having a DUI conviction in Florida can drastically change the course of your life. Especially because Florida law does not allow seals or expunctions for charges unless they were dropped. As a first-time offender, this could affect your ability to enroll in college or obtain professional licenses. As a subsequent offender, it greatly increased the amount of time spent in jail.

Contact an experienced Ft. Lauderdale criminal defense attorney for help and for more information about how having an attorney can affect the results of a case.

If you or someone you know has been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Broward County or the surrounding areas of Palm Beach, Collier, Miami-Dade, or Hendry County, FL, then call an experienced criminal defense attorney at Bacchus Law Firm.

Having a criminal defense lawyer explain your charges and present a committed, and dedicated defense is crucial to having your charges dropped. Our office is centrally located at 401 E. Las Olas Blvd. in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, just minutes from the Broward County Central Courthouse.

Call (954) 500-5555 for more information about what our Fort Lauderdale DUI attorneys can do for your case.

Overview of DUI / Drunk Driving in Broward County

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Stages of the DUI Case in Ft. Lauderdale, FL

The earlier that you hire an experienced DUI attorney, the better off you will be. Indeed, hiring an attorney when you have been charged with a DUI is crucial to successfully avoid conviction. At our lawyers represent clients at every stage of the DUI case. 

Some of our DUI services include the following:

  • Formal Review Hearing -- we will demand a formal review hearing to fight to protect your Florida driver's licenses and work in the initial stages to decrease your chances of being convicted:
  • The Arraignment -- otherwise known as the first court date;
  • Pre-Trial Motions -- any requests to the court, such as a motion to suppress or admit evidence, or a motion to dismiss the charges completely;
  • Negotiations -- pre-trial negotiations with the State (the prosecutor) to attempt to resolve the case by obtaining a lesser offense such as "wet reckless;"
  • Trial -- we represent clients whose cases end up either in front of a jury or in front of a judge (in both jury or bench trials) to fight to get the charges dropped.

Our office represents both men and women arrested for driving under the influence, wet reckless, reckless driving, and other driving offenses in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

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Felony Versus Misdemeanor DUI Charges

A basic Florida DUI is charged as a misdemeanor. Charges for driving under the influence become more serious when additional factors come into play. For example, the charges are more serious if an individual is caught driving under the influence and he or she damages property, causes physical injury to another person, has a minor child in the car, or had a BAC of .15 or higher.

The only instances where DUI offenses are charged as felonies include:

  • DUI resulted in death or serious bodily injury;
  • a third DUI within ten (10) years of any prior DUI conviction; or
  • a fourth DUI.

Drunk driving offenses are typically difficult cases to prosecute. For this reason, many of these cases are reduced to less serious charges such as reckless driving. Fighting for a reduction in the charge is important because even a first-time DUI charged as a second-degree misdemeanor comes with serious penalties, including up to sixty days (60) in jail. In Florida, second-degree misdemeanors are punishable by a maximum penalty of sixty (60) days in jail and up to $500 fines.

First-time DUI offenses are even more serious for college students or professionals who can face collateral consequences to their education or career opportunities. Having an experienced attorney who understands how to fight the nuisances of DUI cases and also how to counsel first-time offenders effectively is invaluable.

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What is Administrative License Suspension?

After being arrested for driving under the influence, if you blew over the legal BAC limit of 0.08, then the State will suspend your Florida license or if you refused to take a breathalyzer or blood test.

Important information about the DUI Licenses Suspension Citation includes:

  • The DUI citation acts as a notice of suspension;
  • The citation can operate as a ten (10) day permit which allows you time to hire an attorney to contest the administrative suspension.
  • The attorney can help you obtain a forty-two (42) day permit so that you can continue driving while you await the formal review hearing to contest the administrative suspension; and
  • The citation and notice of suspension is reported with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle (DMV).

The first few days after a DUI citation are crucial. In that time, it is important to hire an attorney to demand a formal review hearing and to obtain a forty-two (42) day permit to drive.

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Types of Court Imposed Penalties for a First-DUI in FL

An attorney can help you learn more about how to avoid the typical penalties for a DUI conviction. Unless you avoid the DUI conviction, then for a first-time DUI, a Florida court will impose the following mandatory penalties:

  • Florida Driver's Licenses Revoked –first-time offenders can have their licenses suspended for up to twelve (12) months.
    • Hardship Driving Permit –after an offender has completed DUI School, he or she may apply for hardship for reinstatement of their license for business or employment purposes.
  • Fine – Florida courts will impose a fine of up to $1,000. If an offender's BAC was 0.15 or higher, then the fine may be up to $2,000.
  • Ignition Interlock Device (IID) –an IID will only be required if the offender has a BAC of 0.15 or higher or a minor was in the vehicle at the time of the offense;
  • Vehicle Impound –ten (10) day vehicle immobilization.
  • Jail Time – up to six (6) months in a Broward County Jail.
  • Enhanced Jail Penalties – the DUI is subject to enhanced penalties if
    • a crash occurred that reuslted in property damage;
    • if the offender's BAC was 0.15 or higher; or
    • if there was a minor passenger in the vehicle at the time of the offense;
  • DUI School – may be required to complete DUI school at either level I or level II;
  • Community Service – up to fifty (50) hours minimum of community service.

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Additional Resources

Broward County DUI Unit – Visit the Broward County Sherrif's Office to find out more information about the Broward County DUI Unit, which works to enforce DUI laws, process DUI offenders and increase awareness of the hazards of driving or boating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

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Find a Lawyer for DUI in Broward County, FL

If you or someone you know has been charged with a DUI in Florida, and would like to learn more about having adjudication withheld, getting the charges reduced to wet reckless, or getting the charges completely dropped, then call us and speak with one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys at Bacchus Law Firm.

Our lawyers are dedicated and zealous professionals who have been practicing Florida law for years. With experience in fighting DUI crimes in Miami, West Palm Beach, East Naples, LaBelle, and Fort Lauderdale, FL, our attorneys have seen courtrooms across South Florida.

Our office is centrally located at 401 E. Las Olas Blvd. in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, just minutes from the Broward County Central Courthouse.

Call (954) 500-5555 for more information about what our attorneys can do for your case.

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