DUI Defense Attorney and BUI Defense Attorney
If you have been arrested for DUI in Pinellas County, Pasco County or Hillsborough County call us. Former DUI prosecutor and State Attorney supervisor with over 35 years DUI legal experience.
You have 10 days to make an important decision that affects your ability to drive
Within 10 days of being arrested or receiving a ticket for a DUI you must either request a formal review hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles, or, if you are eligible and it is a first time DUI , waive the hearing. As your attorney we can apply for the hearing for you and obtain for you a temporary hardship license for a period of time or for the entire period of suspension. If you do not request the formal review hearing, and you do not waive it, at the end of the 10 days after your arrest you will lose your ability to drive for a period of time. Ordinarily, if someone takes a breath test and blows over .08, after the 10 days have expired there is a 30 day period that the person can not get a permit and can not drive. If a person has refused to take a breath test, at the end of the 10 days, the person will be unable to drive for the next 90 days and will be unable to obtain a hardship permit during that time. The total suspension time for blowing over the .08 is six months and the suspension time for refusal is one year on first time DUI’s and longer on second or more DUI’s. The laws and rules are much different for more than one DUI no matter how long ago the last one may have been.
Call us to learn what alternatives and options you may have and what is best for you.
But remember -you must make a choice within 10 days or it will be made for you.
A DUI can have serious consequences
Driving under the influence is defined as driving, or being in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of either alcoholic beverages, any chemical substance set forth in Florida statute 877.111, or any controlled substance under Florida’s drug laws, chapter 893, when a person is affected to the extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired. DUI is often referred to as a crime of opinion. However, available to law enforcement, and used quite often, are items such as video recording of a person’s driving and field sobriety exercises, a breath test, a blood test, or urine test.
Is the stop valid–Was the breath or blood test proper?
In discussing your case with an attorney you should be aware that there are laws set forth in the Florida statutes and the Constitution of the United States as to when a person may be stopped and for what reasons, as well as how and when each of these tests may be requested and/or administered. If an officer does not follow these laws or the statutory rules then your breath or blood test may be subject to suppression. Suppression means that it can not be used against you. We have successfully handled many suppression motions on DUI cases keeping out such things as the breath test, the blood test, urine tests, and even the field sobriety exercises. Call us and go over your options and your possibilities. There is no obligation and no fee to meet and discuss your case.
A DUI can be a Felony or Misdemeanor
Previous DUI convictions may count against you.
A first or a second DUI is normally a misdemeanor offense. However, penalties increase with each successive conviction. A third DUI, where there is a previous DUI within the past 10 years, can be a felony offense. A fourth DUI, no matter what the time period of the previous DUI convictions, is classified as a felony.
On some occasions a quick plea may be to your advantage.
Sometimes, the prosecution does not become aware of all prior offenses, or, some prior offenses may not legally be able to be considered either in the suspension process or in the conviction process under certain circumstances. You need to talk only with your attorney and you should talk immediately with an attorney if you have prior DUI arrests that are out of state or that may not show up initially for some reason. It may be advantageous to handle your case very quickly. We need to explore the prior arrests and see what may or may not be able to be used against you, whether it is likely that state will find out about them and whether they could be legally used against you. It may make the difference between a felony charge and a misdemeanor.
Call us or email us for an appointment. Larry Sandefer is a highly experienced and respected DUI defense lawyer.
What Should I Do Now
It is extremely important that you discuss with a qualified DUI attorney the facts of your present arrest, any previous alcohol-related stops or arrests, and any DUI or similar type convictions whether in the state of Florida or anywhere else. Your discussions with your attorney are confidential. It is important for your attorney to know these matters in order to properly represent you and take the proper actions regarding your case to come up with the best result and best course of action in your case.
It may be advisable for you to enroll quickly in an approved DUI school. This may help in the ultimate resolution of your case and with sentencing should you enter a plea or be convicted. There are exceptions to this general advice so consult with your attorney about your individual circumstances.
Am I eligible for a hardship license?
Eligibility for a license and Suspension of My License
If a person has no previous DUI convictions, after the “no drive” periods referred to above, he or she may obtain a hardship license. If a person has prior DUI convictions the eligibility to obtain a hardship permit varies. You should discuss this with an attorney to determine whether or not you may be eligible for a temporary hardship license or a longer hardship license.
The suspension which takes place as of the date of the arrest is referred to as an administrative suspension. It is done on behalf of the Department of Motor Vehicles and is unrelated to any court suspensions or court action that may take place on the DUI charge. When you go to court on a DUI, there are certain court imposed minimum and maximum suspension periods which would not take effect until you are found guilty of a DUI. The suspension periods differ greatly the depending on
whether is a first DUI, second, or subsequent, or when the DUIs occurred in relation to each other. Florida statute 316 sets forth the potential penalties and suspensions for DUI.
Questions we can help you with include:
- Can I get my license back
- Can my charge be reduced or even dismissed?
- Is the breath test accurate? Can we challenge the results?
- Can I be convicted of a DUI on a prescription drug? What proof do they need for a non-alcohol DUI?
- Are there things I can do to prepare for court or to help my case?
- How do I choose the right attorney for my case?