Florida DUI: Frequently Asked Questions
Common Questions About DUI Charges in Florida
Have you been arrested for driving under the influence? Being dragged into
the judicial system can be a frightening and unpredictable experience
and you probably have a lot of unanswered questions. Whether this is your
first encounter with the law or your subsequent
DUI offense, we are here to help. With over 40 years of cumulative legal experience,
we will vigorously fight to have your charges reduced or discharged completely.
Our DUI lawyers are former Broward County prosecutors with extensive knowledge
of both sides of the law.
Contact Parks & Braxton, PA today and we will be more than happy to address any of your questions
and concerns about your DUI charges.
What is BAC and how is it calculated?
BAC is short for your Blood Alcohol Concentration, which is a way to measure
how much alcohol is in your bloodstream. In the state of Florida, if you
are found driving with a BAC level of .08 or higher you could be charged
with driving under the influence. Your BAC level is calculated with a
breathalyzer machine which measures the grams of alcohol per 210 liters
of breath. Law enforcement officials can also determine the BAC by taking
a blood or urine sample.
My driver's license is suspended for DUI, can I apply for a hardship license?
A hardship license allows you to drive to and from work or school and
make errands for the essential household needs. These licenses are not
granted to just anyone however, it will depend on the particular DUI charges
that you are facing. Under Florida law, if you have a second or subsequent
license suspension due to test refusal or DUI conviction then you will
be prohibited from receiving a hardship license. If you have been disqualified
from operating a commercial motor vehicle then you will not be allowed
to obtain a hardship license to drive a commercial vehicle.
Is it mandatory to schedule the hearing with the DHSMV?
Yes. In the state of Florida, you are only allotted a 10 day period from
the time you are arrested to schedule a
DHSMV hearing. If you fail to do so, then your license will automatically be suspended.
That is why you must act quickly and fight so that you can have your driving
privileges reinstated. Our attorneys can schedule the hearing for you
if necessary, prepare the legal paperwork and represent you during the
hearing. We will help ensure that you do not miss your 10 day deadline
so you can appeal your license suspension and hopefully get back out on the road.
What are the penalties for a first DUI conviction in Florida?
In the state of Florida, a DUI conviction can lead to serious penalties
and count as a permanent mark on your driving record. With a first DUI
conviction you could be facing up to six months of incarceration, a one
year probation period, a fine ranging from $500-$2,000 (depending on you
BAC level), 50 hours of mandatory community service and your car may be
impounded for 10 days. With every subsequent offense the penalties will
grow substantially. Contact our attorneys to learn about the specific
penalties for your DUI charges.
Will a DUI conviction affect my auto insurance?
Most likely, yes. With a DUI on your driving record will make you appear
as more of a risk in the eyes of the insurance company and they may increase
your rates. If anything happens to make them believe you are more likely
to get into an accident, then there is a big chance your coverage charges
will go up.
Can I refuse a breath or urine test?
Under Florida law, there is something called the Implied Consent Law with
requires you to submit to a breath, urine or blood test if you are arrested
for a DUI. By having a driver's license in the state of Florida you
have already given consent to abide by protocol in the event of a DUI
arrest. If law enforcement officials have probable cause to believe that
you are driving under the influence then by law you should cooperate and
perform a chemical test so they can determine your BAC level. Police officials
should give you proper warning however, that if you refuse to take a chemical
test that your license will be suspended for a year. If this is your second
or subsequent DUI then your license can be suspended for 18 months.
Are DUI penalties different for underage drivers?
In the state of Florida, they have enacted a "zero tolerance"
policy which means that anyone under the age of 21 that is found with
a BAC level of .02 or higher can be charged for two separate counts, underage
drinking and DUI. The penalties for underage DUI vary from state to state
but the basic sentencing guidelines include a fine ranging from $100-$2,500,
impounding the car, drug education classes, 30-60 days of mandatory community
service, license revocation anywhere from 90 days-3 years, a jail sentence
ranging from 2 days up to a year, a probationary period of 3-5 years and
any other additional fees associated with the crime.
Can we challenge my breath test results?
After doing a thorough investigation, if we believe that there was marginal
room for error or the law enforcement officials did not follow the proper
protocol, then we may be able to file a motion and have the test results
excluded from evidence. There is a long list of requirements on how the
breath tests must be administered and how the machinery must be properly
maintained and repaired. Contact Parks & Braxton, PA today if you
believe that your breath test results are inaccurate and we can help you
challenge the results in court.