Charges involving driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol can significantly impact a person’s life for years down the road, and if you are currently facing them, you need a Pensacola DUI defense lawyer you can trust. Contact The Law Office of James M. Burns today to learn more about the penalties for DUI charges in Florida and how our firm can help you fight them.
Pensacola DUI Defense Lawyer | Fighting for Your Rights
Under strict Florida laws, if you even have one or two drinks and then get behind the wheel, you could face prosecution for driving under the influence (DUI). The days when DUI — sometimes called DWI for “driving while intoxicated” — was essentially treated like a traffic ticket are long gone. If you are found to have a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher, you will receive a DUI.
You should also note that in today’s day and age, at checkpoints designed to catch impaired drivers, prescription drugs are accounting for almost as many arrests as alcohol, as drugs used to treat anxiety, such as Xanax or Lorazepam, can also impair the ability to safely operate a vehicle and lead to a charge.
Make no mistake–regardless of whether you are accused of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the outcome in your case is not the same without an experienced Escambia County criminal defense lawyer at your side. A conviction, even on a first offense, carries significant penalties and repercussions. Lawyer James M. Burns will leverage his nearly 20 years of criminal law experience to help you minimize the consequences.
Consequences of a First-Offense DUI in Florida
The consequences of a first-offense DUI in Florida are as follows:
- Up to 6 months in jail
- A potential $1,000 fine
- You will lose your license for between 180 days and 1 year
- You may have to install and use the ignition interlock device in your vehicle
- 1 year of probation
- 50 hours of community service, or $10 in lieu of each hour of community service
Consequences of a Second-Offense DUI in Florida
For a second DUI within 5 years of the first, you can expect to face the following penalties:
- At least 10 days in jail, but up to 9 months in jail
- A potential $2,000 fine
- License revocation for at least 5 years
- You will have to install the ignition interlock device in your vehicle for at least 2 years
- A 30-day vehicle impoundment
Consequences of Third-Offense DUI in Florida
For a third DUI within 10 years of the first, you will face the following penalties:
- A minimum of 30 days in jail, but up to 5 years in jail
- A potential $5,000 fine
- License revocation for at least 10 years
- You will have to install and use the ignition interlock device in your vehicle for at least 2 years
- A 90-day vehicle impoundment
Aggravated DUIs in Florida
You should note that if there were any aggravating factors present at the time of your arrest, such as having a minor in the car or driving with a BAC of .15% or higher, you can expect to face even harsher penalties, regardless of whether this is your first or third offense. With so much on the line, it is imperative that you retain an experienced Pensacola DUI defense lawyer as soon as you can.
Consequences for Refusing to Take a Breath Test in Florida
If you are suspected of driving while under the influence of alcohol, law enforcement will most likely ask you to take a breathalyzer test. While you may be tempted to simply refuse, you should understand that test refusal is a crime on its own, and will most likely result in an additional charge. The penalties for refusing to submit to chemical testing in Florida are as follows:
- First Offense: A one-year license suspension
- Second Offense: An 18-month license suspension, up to one year in jail, and a $1,000 fine
We Can Fight Your DUI Charges
Because you don’t deal with criminal charges every day, there are certain questions you may not know to ask and issues you would never identify on your own. Here is what you can expect when working with our firm:
- Personal attention that includes candid advice designed to meet your goals of avoiding a criminal record or getting a business-purpose driver’s license so you can keep your job
- Rigorous analysis of evidence and methods the police used that may uncover potential defenses — for instance determining if there was there probable cause to support stopping you or if there were any mistakes made while collecting a blood or breath sample
- Knowledge of local courts and prosecutors so you know when to take a plea and when to fight the charge at trial
Pensacola DUI defense lawyer James M. Burns knows what questions to ask and what to do with the answers. He will focus on what matters to you: getting the best possible results.
Obtaining a Hardship Driver’s License in Florida
In some cases, those convicted of DUIs may be eligible to receive a hardship license, which can enable them to continue traveling to work or school, despite having a suspended driver’s license. The requirements to obtain a hardship license generally include attending DUI school, applying for a reinstatement hearing, and mandatory ignition interlock. For subsequent convictions, it becomes much more difficult to qualify for hardship reinstatements. In these cases, it is vital to fight the DUI charges themselves to avoid a subsequent conviction. You can depend on our Pensacola DUI defense lawyer to fight for you.
Contact a Pensacola DUI Defense Lawyer
The clock starts ticking immediately on the suspension of your driver’s license. Remember that after any DUI/DWI arrest, the knowledge and determination of the defense lawyer you select can make a significant difference to your future. Contact us online or call 850-930-3018 to talk with attorney James M. Burns as soon as it is practicable and schedule your free initial consultation.