Many drivers wonder whether they should refuse a breath, blood or urine test, but this is not advisable.
Driving under the influence is considered a criminal misdemeanor in the Sunshine State and any DUI conviction will remain on your criminal record forever and your drivers license record for 75 years. This type of conviction cannot be sealed or expunged. To put it simply, one stupid mistake, one extra beer you had one night can affect you for the rest of your life. If it’s your first offense, you might avoid jail time, but even if you pay the fine that conviction will be on your record permanently, and this could impact your future job prospects, not to mention what might happen if you’re arrested for DUI again. Driving under the influence charges are not to be taken lightly and it is recommended that you talk to an experienced DUI defense lawyer in Marathon, FL, as soon as possible. A good attorney can help you negotiate a plea bargain and have the DUI charge reduced to wet reckless driving, which fortunately can be expunged so you can clean your record and forget about it.
DUI penalties in Florida
According to the law, in Florida you can be charged with DUI if your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is .08% or over. Keep in mind that the same applies if you are found in physical control of a car, for instance, if you are found drunk and sleeping in your car.
Drivers under the age of 21 will be charged with DUI if they have a BAC of .02%.
If it’s your first offense, you will pay a fine between $500 and $1,000, your license will be revoked for 6-12 months and you risk up to 6 month in jail. If your BAC is over 0.15% or you have a minor in your car, you might go to jail for 9 months.
For the second offense, the fine is $1-2,000 and you’re looking at nine months behind bars. If you were way over the limit, with a BAC of .15% or had a child in the car, the fine might go up to $4,000 and you risk a 12 months prison sentence.
If the third offense occurs within 10 years of a prior conviction, things get really serious. It’s no longer a misdemeanor, but a felony and you’ll be facing a 30-day mandatory jail sentence and your license will be revoked for 10 years. If you’re unlucky, you might go to jail for one year.
What is the best defense for a DUI charge?
Many drivers wonder whether they should refuse a breath, blood or urine test, but this is not advisable. You risk having your license revoked for 1 year no matter what and the fact that you refused the test can be used in a court of law to prove that you were guilty.
In most cases, your best option is to get a good lawyer and try to undermine the prosecution’s case by filing a motion to suppress evidence if they can prove that it was illegally obtained.
Florida has very clear rules on how tests should be conducted and if the conditions were not met the evidence can be declared inadmissible.
If that’s not an option, your Florida DUI defense attorney will help you negotiate a plea bargain. If the DUI charge is reduced to reckless driving, that carries a fine of only $500 and up to 90 days jail time. Also, you can have the conviction expunged following the completion of a substance abuse education course.