In every state, it is considered a crime for driving while under the influence of alcohol. Most states have a limit as to what they consider acceptable. In Florida, like the majority of states, that number is .08 BAC (blood alcohol content).
Also in Florida, there are two cases that arise due to an arrest on suspicion of drunk driving both of which warrant contact with a defense attorney in Clearwater. There is the standard court case where fines and jail time can be assigned; however, there is also the case that the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FDHSMV) brings against you. The FDHSMV will try to take away an individuals license.
Legal BAC Limits
When stopped for suspicion of drunk driving, if an individual has a higher BAC than .08 or refuses to take a blood, breath, or urine test, they then have 10 days to schedule a hearing with the FDHSMV to save their driver’s license. Failure to request this hearing will result in a license suspension that is, at a minimum, six months long. The maximum allowed by law is 18 months.
Elements of DUI
DUI can be proven in Florida in two ways. The first is by judging the impairment of normal faculties of the driver. These normal faculties include walking and talking. Also, an unlawful BAC can be used. The penalties for a conviction are the same regardless of which manner of proof is used.
These penalties include escalating jail sentences and fines based on the number of convictions as well as administrative license suspensions that come from the court. The FDHSMV can suspend an individual’s license in addition to the time given by the court.
Legal Right to Refuse
Although you may feel intimidated by the law enforcement official who pulls your vehicle over, it is important for you to realize that it is your right to refuse to take a breath test. It is also important to understand, however, that doing so has consequences. When you signed documents to receive your driver’s license, you agreed to show your license and proof of insurance when asked by a police officer, as well as perform field sobriety tests and complete blood, urine, and breath tests if requested.
This “implied consent” means that if you refuse to take the breath test, your license will automatically be suspended, whether or not you are convicted of DUI charges. Also, refusing to take a breath test does not guarantee that you will not be arrested by the law enforcement official. In fact, a law enforcement official has the power to arrest you for probable cause.
Contact a Clearwater DUI Attorney Today
If you have been accused of driving under the influence, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced Clearwater DUI criminal defense lawyer at the law offices of Tragos & Sartes. Our attorneys understand the negative impact that a conviction could have on your life and will work aggressively to protect your rights and provide the strongest defense possible.