DUI Lawyer in Orlando
A DUI is defined as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the extent that an individual’s normal faculties are impaired. According to Florida Statutes, a blood alcohol level of .08 or greater is considered legally impaired in the state of Florida. If convicted, penalties for DUI can include license restrictions, fines, placement of an ignition interlock device, probation, enrollment in a substance abuse programs, or imprisonment.
Under Arrest for DUI in Orlando
If you are pulled over by an officer, it is likely because the officer had probable cause, or reasonable grounds, to do so. For example, if you are speeding or swerving across lanes. Once stopped, if the officer reasonably suspects that you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, he or she will likely ask that you to perform a series of field sobriety tests. The standard tests include:
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus
- One-Leg Stand
If the officer determines at any time there is probable cause, you will be placed under arrest for DUI. Once under arrest, you will be asked to submit to a chemical test to determine blood alcohol (or drug) content.
Refusing the Field Sobriety Tests or the Chemical Test
Field sobriety tests are conducted to produce evidence to support a DUI arrest. Refusing to perform these tests will not automatically result in suspension of your license.
Under Florida law, however, you are required to submit to chemical tests if you are placed under arrest for DUI. These tests include blood, breath, and urine tests. This is known as Florida’s implied consent law.
You can refuse to submit to chemical testing. Know that if you refuse, however, your license will be suspended for one year for a first refusal. Subsequent refusals will result in license suspension for 18 months plus additional penalties.
If you are pulled over on suspicion of DUI, request to speak with your attorney. It is important to note that the law in Florida does not require an officer to allow you to consult with an attorney prior to requesting you to submit to sobriety testing, however, the sooner you are able to speak with an attorney, the better.
Know the Ten Day Rule
Know that you may have options if you refuse the chemical tests or submit to the test and have a blood alcohol level of .08 or greater. Normally, your license would be automatically suspended. Under Florida law, however, you have ten days from the date of your DUI arrest to request a DMV hearing to dispute your license suspension. Call a DUI attorney right away before this time period ends. An attorney can help request the hearing and provide legal representation during this important step in the DUI process.
DUI Penalties and Defenses
Penalties for first conviction of DUI include:
- Up to six months imprisonment
- Up to one year probation
- $250-$500 fine
- 50 hours community service
- License revocation for a minimum of 180 days
- DUI school
If the first offense includes a blood alcohol content of greater than .15 or a minor is present in the vehicle, the penalties are greater.
There are several defenses to DUI including, illegal traffic stop, illegal arrest, or that the evidence is insufficient to prove DUI, in addition to others. Your attorney will determine if any defenses apply to the unique facts of your case.
Speak with an Orlando Area DUI Attorney as Soon as Possible
Contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible can help ensure your rights are protected. Attorney Mark Bakay with the Law Office of Mark Bakay has valuable experience defending DUI cases and can provide the professional representation you need during this stressful time.
Authoritative Sources: Florida Statutes, Section 316.1932