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DUIs in Florida: Everything You Need to Know & More

DUIs in Florida: Everything You Need to Know & More

In an effort to help you obtain as much information needed as possible, our Miami criminal defense lawyers have compiled a list of questions that are most commonly asked about DUI charges in Florida. If you have been arrested for a DUI in Florida, contact us and request a free consultation with Mitchell & West immediately.

Question: When can I get charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

Answer: An individual can be charged with DUI when they are driving or are in actual physical control of a vehicle within the state of Florida and is under the influence of alcoholic beverages or any chemical substance—to the extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired—with a BAC of .08 or more.

Q: What does law enforcement look for before stopping a driver who they think might be under the influence?

A: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), some of the things that police officers typically look for in order to obtain “reasonable suspicion” to make a lawful traffic stop include driving 10 miles above or below the speed limit, weaving within one’s lane of traffic, nearly striking another vehicle on the road, driving at night with the headlights off, erratic braking, or changing lanes without signaling.

Q: What is the Ten-Day Rule?

A: To challenge the administrative suspension of your driver’s license after a DUI arrest, you have 10 days from the arrest to request a formal review hearing. You are allowed to drive using your citation as a driving permit during the first 10 days after your arrest. If this hearing is requested within this 10-day, a temporary license will be issued to you, which is typically valid for up to seven days after the hearing. If the formal review hearing is not requested within this ten-day period, your license will be suspended.

Q: When can I get my driver’s license back after suspension?

A: It all depends on the reason for the suspension. DUI suspensions typically require the completion of DUI school and a reinstatement fee. In regard to multiple DUI convictions, there may be a lengthy waiting period without any driving and then a person can petition for limited driving privileges.

Q: What happens if I refuse to take a chemical test?

A: If an individual refuses to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test after being arrested for DUI, their driving privileges may be suspended for one year for a first refusal and 18 months in the event of a second or subsequent refusal. The suspension may be contested at an administrative hearing, which must be requested within ten days from the day of the arrest. Furthermore, a person whose license was previously suspended for chemical test refusal and is arrested again for a DUI and refuses to submit to a chemical test, they commit a first-degree misdemeanor.

Q: What are the penalties associated with a DUI conviction?

A: In Florida, drunk driving is considered a misdemeanor. A first conviction is punishable by a maximum jail sentence of six months, fines and court costs of up to $500, probation, community service, DUI school, and attend the victim impact panel (VIP). Second and subsequent DUI convictions result in more severe penalties, which include mandatory minimum jail sentences.

Q: Are there enhanced DUI penalties?

A: If specific circumstances are present in your case, you may be facing “enhanced DUI penalties.” Facts that result in increased penalties include having a previous DUI conviction, driving with a minor in the vehicle, causing property damage or personal injury, or having a BAC test result of .15 or higher.

Q: Will a DUI conviction affect my insurance rates

A: Your insurance company may view you as a considerable risk upon learning about your DUI conviction. You will most likely experience an increase in insurance premiums. Getting your DUI charge reduced to a reckless driving charge could avoid a significant insurance increase.

Q: How will a prior DUI conviction in another state after my current case?

A: The Florida State Attorney’s Office will use prior DUI convictions from another state against you, resulting in increased penalties. However, with the help of experienced legal counsel, you may file a motion that seeks to “strike” a prior conviction on a number of legal grounds, such as situations where the out-of-state DUI law was not similar to Florida’s DUI legislation.

For more information, contact us and speak with our Miami criminal defense attorney today.

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