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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 48 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.

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To save your license, you must act within 10 days. Contact a partner about your case at (954) 519-2290 or fill out the form here.

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