First Time DUI Florida
When a driver has a BAC of at least 0.05 percent, they increase their likelihood of crashing by nearly 100 percent in comparison to someone who has no alcohol in their system. Keep in mind, the aforementioned BAC is actually legal. When a person’s blood alcohol concentration reaches 0.08 percent, the odds of them getting into an accident triple. These statistics offer the public a sobering reality of the consequences of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence. Unfortunately, credible studies suggest that nearly 70 percent of people that drink admit to getting behind the wheel of their vehicle after a few brews (or other alcoholic beverages). In the state of Florida, this leads to more than 5,000 alcohol-related crashed each year and between 300 – 400 fatalities annually.
At this point, we all understand the inherent risk involved with drunk and/or slightly inebriated driving. However, the data suggests that the majority of drivers (who drink) will make the bad choice of driving while they have alcohol in their system at some point. Since the stakes are so high, it is easy to understand why the legal consequences for those convicted of a DUI are severe. This is true even if you are being charged with a first time DUI in Florida. If you have found yourself in this seemingly untenable predicament, it is imperative that you immediately connect with an Orlando DUI attorney to mount a strong case in your defense. Don’t put your freedom and finances in further jeopardy by choosing to represent yourself when charged with a DUI.
Penalties For First Time DUI in Florida
If you are stopped by the police and it is found that your BAC is at or above 0.08 percent, you will be charged with a DUI. In most cases, first-time offenders are charged with a misdemeanor offense. It is important to note that charges and penalties can be significantly increased if there are injuries, property damage, passengers under the age of 18, and/or your BAC is at or above 0.15 percent. In general, potential criminal penalties for those who are convicted of a first time DUI in Florida are as follows:
- One-year license suspension
- 12 months of probation
- Minimum of eight hours in jail, but up to six months (if convicted)
- Between $500 – $2,000 in fines
- Installation of ignition interlock device (at the driver’s own cost)
- Probation (up to 1 year)
- Minimum of 50 hours of community service, but often 100 hours
- 10 days of impoundment of any vehicle owned or operated by the defendant
What to do if You Are Charged With a DUI
As you can see, severe consequences can be levied against you if you are convicted of a first time DUI in Florida. If charged, it is recommended that you say as little as possible to the police. Remember your Miranda Rights, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney…” If a police officer request that you take a field sobriety test, politely decline. This is within your rights and in your best interest as you do not want more evidence against you. As soon as you have the opportunity, contact a DUI lawyer in Orlando. As you will learn in the subsequent sections, an adept attorney can increase the odds of your case being dismissed, charges lessened, and/or penalties decreased.
Can You Still Drive if You Are Charged With a DUI?
By the letter of the law, if you are convicted of a first time DUI in Florida, your license will be suspended. Florida, much like most other states, wants to ensure that those apprehended for driving under the influence are incentivized to never let it happen again. However, some drivers may qualify for a restricted license (sometimes referred to as a “hardship license” or a “business purpose only license”). This license allows those convicted of a first time DUI in Florida to drive to and from work, attend medical appointments, travel to court, and make it to school. If you are approved for a restricted license, you will likely have to install an ignition interlock device (at convicted of a DUI in Florida, you will need to pay for SR-22 insurance. This is high-risk insurance, which substantially increases your insurance costs. Furthermore, those who drive for a living (i.e. truck drivers, delivery drivers, rideshare operators, etc.) will not be able to continue doing so with a restricted license.
Why You Need a DUI Lawyer in Orlando
To be clear, no DUI lawyer in Orlando can guarantee that you will not be convicted and/or punished for a DUI charge. However, hiring a proven and experienced DUI attorney can improve your odds of a more favorable outcome. Emphasis should be placed on them being both experienced and successful. A DUI lawyer who has a good relationship with the state attorney’s office is more likely to gain a plea-bargain on your behalf than one who does not. Furthermore, an attorney with an eye for the details will thoroughly investigate your arrest to learn whether or not your rights were violated and if the evidence against you is ironclad. Attorney Rahul Parikh is a former DUI prosecutor in Orange and Osceola counties. He has law enforcement training regarding DUI investigations and is certified by the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration to perform Field Sobriety Exercises (FSEs).
Contact Parikh Law Today
At Parikh Law, we understand the seriousness of a first time DUI in Florida. We know that you have rights and look deeply into every case presented to us to ensure that they have not been violated. Our staff fights hard for our clients. A DUI conviction in Florida can be absolutely devastating in so many areas of your life. While we cannot guarantee that you will avoid negative consequences, we can promise that our team will work hard to avoid it and/or seek lesser charges as well as punishments. Rahul Parikh is battle-tested, trial-ready, and prepared to go to bat for you.