| Read Time: 5 minutes | Criminal Defense

A Legal Guide for Florida Spring Breakers: Know Before You Go

CC image by Ekaterina Vladinakova at Flickr If you’re heading to Florida for spring break in 2019, the sunshine and warm water may not be all that you encounter. In fact, spring breakers are notorious for getting into legal trouble – typically for things like underage drinking. Before you go, here are a few laws and safety tips that you should review to reduce the risk of an accident and keep you out of legal trouble– Staying Safe – Avoiding the Four Ds As a mnemonic device to help you remember safety and the law when you’re on spring break, consider the four Ds that you should always avoid: Drunk driving Drugged driving Distracted driving Drowsy driving All four of the above are, first and foremost, extremely unsafe. When you drive drunk, drugged, drowsy, or distracted, you significantly increase your risk of causing a motor vehicle accident. You may also have legal consequences if you are apprehended for drunk or drugged driving, and even texting while driving is against the law in the Sunshine State. Alcohol For those who are traveling for spring break, alcohol typically presents the biggest temptation, and of the biggest health, safety, and legal risks, too. While our law firm does not condone underage drinking, we do want to remind you that if you do drink–whether of the legal drinking age or not–to never get behind the wheel after you’ve consumed an alcoholic beverage. CC image by Image Catalog at Flickr In addition to staying clear of drunk driving, remember that it is also illegal to have an open container of alcohol within the car, as found in Florida Statutes Section 316.1936. Remind your passengers that if they want to drink, they can’t do it while your vehicle is in operation. Find a Designated Driver Avoiding the four Ds means finding a designated driver if people in your group have been drinking or using drugs. You should also find another driver if those in your group are overly-fatigued; studies show that fatigued driving has the potential to be just as dangerous as drunk driving. When you’re assigning a designated driver in your group, do so smartly. Characteristics of a designated driver that are important include that the driver has/is: A valid driver’s license and auto insurance; Responsible; and Able to resist the temptation not to drink, even when hanging out with friends. It’s always a good idea to select a designated driver before you hit the bars or are exposed to alcohol. If there is no one in your group who makes for a safe designated driver, take a cab, use a rideshare, or find another way home. Know Your Limits If you will be drinking on this spring break, make sure you do so safely – which means more than just avoiding the driver’s seat. It’s also important that you set and know your limits – how much can you personally consume safely? Don’t drink more than you can handle, and try to stick to the general rule of no more than one drink per hour, coupled with a glass of water in between alcoholic beverages. (Note that depending on who you are, the one-drink-per-hour rule may be very inaccurate.) When drinking, be sure to always pair your alcohol consumption with plenty of food and water, too. It’s also important that you familiarize yourself with the symptoms of alcohol poisoning, and keep an eye out for anyone in your group who may be suffering from alcohol poisoning. The American Addictions Centers lists a few of the symptoms of alcohol poisoning as vomiting, hypothermia, seizure, loss of bowel or bladder control, irregular pulse, and blue-tinged skin. If you suspect that anyone is suffering from alcohol poisoning, you should seek emergency medical care/dial 911 immediately. Alcohol Ban on Beaches The car is not the only place that you can’t have an open container of alcohol in Florida; alcohol is also prohibited on many of the beaches, too. Refer to the Orlando Weekly for a list of beaches in Florida where you can legally drink alcohol, and note that Panama City Beach has banned alcohol on the beach as an “emergency measure” for this year’s spring break. Other Important Laws It’s also important that, in addition to alcohol-specific laws, you also review the rules regarding using a fake ID and public intoxication. As an added safety tip, we also recommend getting vaccinated before coming to Florida, which may offer protection from bacteria and viruses that are often rampant in large gatherings, like those that are found during spring break. Be Smart About Sexual Assault, Rape, and Other Violent Crimes CC image by freestocks.org at Flickr Spring break is no longer just an opportunity for young people to celebrate a reprieve from the grind of university life and get in a little sunshine; it is also a time where many people, spring breakers and otherwise, commit serious crimes, including rape, sexual assault, theft, and assault. During spring break, adhere to the following safety tips: Don’t leave a drink unattended – date rape drugs, including GHB and Rohypnol, could be placed in your drink while you’re distracted; Travel with a buddy – don’t go to unfamiliar places alone, especially in areas where drugs and alcohol are present; Have a plan, including knowing where you’re going and when, and how to get there; Don’t give out your information, including where you’re staying while on spring break, to strangers; Tell someone where you’re going before you leave and when you plan to be back; Keep your belongings close to avoid pickpocketing and theft; and If things get heated between you and another spring breaker, walk away – an assault can be dangerous, and could result in criminal charges if you’re involved. Dos and Don’ts of Interacting with the Police CC image by Alex Smith at Flickr If you are pulled over or otherwise stopped by police while on spring break this year, it’s important that you know how to respond to protect...

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Drunk Driving

To Blow or Not to Blow? That is the Question

When an officer pulls you over for DUI, they should have probable cause that you are operating the vehicle while legally intoxicated. For example, the officer might have seen you swerving on the road or drifting into a lane—behavior that is consistent with someone who is drunk. However, the state would also like some scientific proof that you are legally impaired, and the officer who pulls you over will probably ask you to blow into a breathalyzer. This machine will test your blood alcohol concentration, or “BAC.” In Florida, a BAC of 0.08 or higher creates a presumption you are intoxicated. Of course, you have the right to refuse to take a breathalyzer or consent to a blood or urine test. But should you blow nonetheless? Below, we analyze the pros and cons. Reasons Not to Give a Breathalyzer The primary reason not to take the test is strategic—you are gambling on the state not having enough evidence to convict you of driving under the influence (DUI). The easiest way to prove you are guilty would be to introduce a breathalyzer test with a BAC of 0.08 or higher. However, if you refuse to blow, the state can’t identify your BAC. Of course, you need to realize that the state can still convict you of DUI without knowing your BAC. The officer and other people can testify that they saw you driving erratically, and witnesses can also testify that they saw you drinking before getting into your vehicle. An officer can also testify that your breath stank of alcohol, your speech was slurred, and that you could not walk on your own. Depending on the circumstances, this evidence might be enough to convict you. Also, the state can introduce evidence that you refused to take a breathalyzer test as some proof that you were probably intoxicated. In fact, many jurors will probably come to that conclusion themselves. However, if the state does not have strong evidence that you are impaired, it might make sense not to blow. If you are someone who drinks a lot, your BAC might be over the limit, but you could still be in full control of your physical and mental faculties. It’s a gamble not to blow, but not an entirely unreasonable one. Reasons to Give a Breathalyzer There are many reasons to give a breathalyzer. First, if you really aren’t intoxicated, then a result below 0.08 could help you. Second, you can lose your license simply for refusing to take a breathalyzer. Driving is a privilege, not a right, in Florida; and all motorists give implied consent to take a chemical test if pulled over for DUI. If you refuse to take a breathalyzer, you will lose your license for at least a year. Each subsequent refusal to take a test results in longer suspension—18 months. Third, refusing to take a breathalyzer is also a misdemeanor if you have previously refused to blow. So you can be convicted of DUI and also have a misdemeanor conviction—doubling the trouble you are in. Speak to an Orlando DUI Attorney Today Whether to take a breathalyzer or not is an individual decision. At Moses & Rooth, we have helped countless motorists picked up for DUI. Remember, an arrest is not a conviction, and there are ways you can fight the charges. For example, the police might have stopped you without probable cause, or the breathalyzer machine might be defective. To better understand your options, please reach out to us today. We offer a free consultation, which you can schedule by calling 407-377-0150.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Drunk Driving

Florida’s Zero Tolerance for Underage DUI

Drunk drivers cause considerable damage on Florida’s roads. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, over 5,000 crashes were caused by drunk drivers in 2016. These wrecks caused 461 deaths and over 3,000 injuries—staggering numbers that cost the state millions of dollars a year. Because those under 21 cannot legally consume alcohol, Florida unsurprisingly has a zero tolerance policy for underage DUI. If you or a loved one has been picked up for driving while intoxicated, you need to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Legal Limit Under Florida law, drivers must have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) under 0.08. If your BAC is higher, then you have committed a DUI. Drivers under 21 have an even lower maximum BAC: any score of 0.02 or higher qualifies. This means that a single drink can render a young driver legally intoxicated. Punishments are serious for those who are under 21: You will lose your license for six months in an administrative suspension if this is your first offense. If it is a second offense, then you will lose your license for a year. If you refused to take a roadside test, your license will be suspended for a year. If this is your second or subsequent refusal, your license will be suspended for 18 months. If your BAC was 0.08% or higher, then you will receive the same punishments as an adult would. You can pay a fine of $500-1,000, have your license suspended for 180 days to 1 year, perform 50 hours of community service, and spend up to 6 months in county jail. The state can also impound your vehicle. If you were picked up for DUI and are under the age of 18, then you will lose your license for six months and must undergo a mandatory evaluation or complete an alcohol education program. Collateral Consequences of a DUI Conviction Losing your license for 6 months and doing some community service might not sound like stiff punishments. You might even get your parents to pay your fine for you. However, criminal convictions have repercussions that can last a long time and can make it hard for young adults to establish themselves. With a criminal record, you might experience the following: It can be harder to get an apartment It might be harder to obtain a job Your preferred college or university might reject you You might not qualify for scholarships You might not gain acceptance into the military For these reasons, you must take any arrest for under-21 DUI very seriously. At Moses & Rooth, we can review the circumstances surrounding your arrest and identify your strongest defense. Charged with an Under-21 DUI in Orlando? DUI is no laughing matter. The costs can be considerable and long-lasting. By contacting one of our Orlando DUI attorneys, you can give yourself the best chance of a favorable outcome, whether that involves a generous plea deal or fighting your charges in court. To learn more about how we can help you, please call 407-377-0150 to schedule your free consultation.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Criminal Defense

“Smiling Mugshot” Woman Charged with DUI Manslaughter

There’s a school of thought that believes smiling in your mugshot following a criminal arrest is a good idea. Public officials charged with crimes sometimes do this as a way of showing defiance or that they consider the charges politically motivated. But even private citizens are known to smile when the police take a mugshot, perhaps because they do not want to “look guilty” or they simply do not think they’ve done anything wrong. The danger of smiling in a mugshot, however, is that it invites negative press coverage–especially if the person is accused of a crime that seriously injured someone else. It’s one thing to smile in the face of a white-collar corruption charge. It’s quite another to look happy when you’re accused of manslaughter. Woman Faces 15 Years for Fatal Ocala Accident One Florida woman is learning this lesson the hard way. She is currently facing a DUI manslaughter charge in a case that drew national attention after she smiled in her initial booking mugshot. The charge arises from a fatal May 18 auto accident in Ocala. According to news reports, the defendant was driving her vehicle through the intersection of U.S. 27 and Northwest 60th Avenue when it rear-ended a Hyundai. The impact was hard enough to force the Hyundai into the back of a third vehicle, a horse trailer. A passenger in the Hyundai, a 60-year-old Ocala woman, died as a result injuries sustained in the accident. According to the arresting officer, the defendant claimed “she dropped her phone” and that caused her to divert her attention from the road, leading to the fatal accident. But the officer said he observed the defendant’s eyes were “glossy” and speech “slurred,” and decided to conduct field sobriety tests. Later, law enforcement reportedly determined the defendant’s blood-alcohol content was 0.172 percent. This is more than twice the legal BAC limit of 0.08 percent. Florida troopers initially charged the defendant with drunk driving that caused “serious bodily injury to another.” This is a third-degree felony under Florida law. But following the victim’s death–and the subsequent public outcry over the defendant’s “smiling mugshot”–prosecutors refiled the charged as DUI manslaughter, a second-degree felony that carries a maximum prison term of 15 years. Do Not Smile–But Do Contact an Orlando Criminal Defense Lawyer The defendant’s attorney attempted to perform damage control with the press regarding the “smiling mugshot.” She insisted her client was “a good-hearted person, a wife, mother and friend who is devastated by what happened.” Not surprisingly, the victim’s family was not feeling charitable. The victim’s daughter, who was also injured in the accident, told the media the defendant “needs to rot in hell.” Such sentiments are perfectly understandable. But they also have no legal bearing on the defendant’s guilt or innocence. While smiling mugshots may inflame victims and the media, they are not a substitute for evidence. That said, if you are arrested and charged with DUI or another serious crime, it is in your own best interest to treat the matter seriously and somberly. Do not worry about looking good in your mugshot. Instead, contact a qualified Orlando DUI manslaughter defense attorney who can help keep you out of jail. Contact the offices of Moses & Rooth, Attorneys at Law, at (407) 377-0150, if you have been arrested and need immediate legal assistance.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Drunk Driving

When Did the First DUI Charge Occur in the United States?

Drunk driving has been around as long as there have been cars. In the early morning hours of September 10, 1897, a 25-year-old London taxi cab driver named George Smith was charged by local police with “being drunk when in charge of a motor car.” A constable observed Smith operating a “four-wheeled electric cab,” when he suddenly “swerved from one side of the road to the other, and ran across the footway into 165, New Bond-street, breaking the water-pipe and the beading of the window,” according to a contemporary report in the London Morning Post. A Brief History of DUI Laws As far as anyone knows, Smith was the first person ever charged with a DUI in any country. But it would take another 13 years before the first DUI laws were adopted in the United States. In 1910, the New York legislature became the first to prohibit “driving while intoxicated.” It is not clear who the first person charged under that law was. Keep in mind, in 1910 it was not possible for police officers to chemically test the alcohol content of a driver’s blood. And even if such a test existed, the original DUI laws did not establish a specific threshold for intoxication. It was therefore left to the discretion of individual officers to determine when a DUI charge was warranted. It was not until 1936 that the forerunner of the modern Breathalyzer–known as the “Drunkometer”–was patented by Dr. Rolla N. Harger, a professor of biochemistry at Indiana University. Two years later, in 1938, Harger was part of a National Safety Council committee that, together with the American Medical Association, recommended states adopt a 0.15 percent blood-alcohol content (BAC) as the standard for DUI. Most states quickly followed this advice. But by the 1980s, there was increased public and media attention paid to DUI accidents. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), which formed in 1980, pushed for the adoption of a stricter DWI standard of 0.08 percent. Today all states have a 0.08 standard for drunk drivers over the age of 21. And many states, including Florida, have a “zero-tolerance” standard for drivers under the age of 21, meaning they can be charged with DUI if their BAC is as low as 0.02 percent. Taking Drunk Driving Seriously in Florida Despite more than a century of data regarding the harms of drunk driving, alcohol impairment remains a significant cause of accidents and fatalities in Florida. According to a 2015 fact sheet published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 8,500 people were killed “in crashes involving a drunk driver” in Florida between 2003 and 2012. Indeed, Florida’s drunk-driving death rate is about 12 percent higher than the national average for that same period. This is why Orlando-area law enforcement and prosecutors take drunk driving cases extremely seriously. If you are charged with a DUI, even for the first time, do not assume the law will go easy on you. It is imperative you work with a qualified Orlando drunk driving defense lawyer. Contact Moses & Rooth, Attorneys at Law, at (407) 377-0150 if you need to speak with a lawyer today.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Drunk Driving

What Makes a DUI Into an Enhanced DUI in Florida?

A criminal DUI conviction in Florida carries significant penalties. For a first offense, a judge may sentence you to six months in jail and order you to pay a fine of between $500 and $1,000. In addition, your driver’s license can be suspended up to 1 year. And when you are permitted to drive again, you may be required to install an ignition interlock device–i.e., a blood-alcohol detector connected to your dashboard–to operate a vehicle. But there are also circumstances where, even as a first-time offender with no prior drunk driving or criminal record, you may face enhanced penalties under Florida law. To put it bluntly, not all DUI arrests are the same. And you need to be aware of the type of actions that may lead the state to accuse you of an enhanced DUI offense. Excessive Blood-Alcohol Level You probably already know that a person is legally too drunk to drive if his or her blood-alcohol concentration is at least 0.08 percent–or in technical terms, 0.08 grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood. The 0.08 standard is currently the DUI threshold in all 50 states. While there are other ways to get charged with a DUI, most people are arrested based on a chemical test assessing their blood-alcohol level. Now, you might think your specific blood-alcohol level does not matter once it exceeds 0.08 percent. But under the law, it matters a great deal. If you are convicted of DUI based on evidence that your blood-alcohol level was 0.15 percent or higher, you will face enhanced penalties under the law. Once again, it does not matter if you have any prior DUI convictions. For a first offense, an enhanced DUI carries a maximum jail term of 9 months, as opposed to 6 months for a non-enhanced DUI. The fine level is also doubled. So while a judge can fine you up to $1,000 for a non-enhanced DUI, the enhanced maximum penalty is $2,000. The enhanced DUI penalties also affect a second conviction. For a non-enhanced DUI, a second offense carries a maximum jail term of 9 months. But for an enhanced DUI it is 1 year. And keep in mind, the enhancement applies only based on the current offense. In other words, if you had a 0.08 blood-alcohol level during your first DUI, and a 0.15 at the time of the second, you are subject to the enhanced penalties for the latter. Minors In the Car The enhanced DUI penalties described above also apply in cases where the accused driver “was accompanied in the vehicle by a person under the age of 18,” according to Section 316.193 of the Florida Statutes. This means that you could go to jail for a longer period of time if your minor child was in the car with you at the time of your arrest. Whether or not the child was actually harmed due to your alleged drunk driving is irrelevant. The prosecution only needs to prove there was a person under the age of 18 in the car at the same time as you. If you are looking at a possible enhanced DUI charge, you need to be proactive. These cases do not settle or go away on their own. The first thing you need to do is contact an experienced Orlando criminal defense attorney who understands the Florida legal system and will fight to protect your rights. Call the offices of Moses & Rooth, Attorneys at Law, today at (407) 377-0150 to discuss your situation with us.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Drunk Driving

Can You Be Charged With a DUI in a Self-Driving Car?

Autonomous or “self-driving” cars have the potential to transform Florida’s transportation system. Proponents claim computer-controlled vehicles will eventually reduce fatal accidents and traffic congestion. But as automotive technology evolves, there are new legal questions that will need to be answered. For example, is a person illegally driving under the influence of alcohol if their car is actually doing the “driving”? Florida Legislators Welcome “Autonomous Vehicles” Florida is one of the more progressive states when it comes to embracing a future with self-driving cars. In 2016, Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation making Florida the first state to fully legalize the use of “autonomous vehicles” on its public roads. And unlike other states, such as California, that only allow the use of self-driving cars with a special permit, the Florida legislation authorizes anyone with a valid driver’s license to operate such vehicles. Section 316.003(2) of the Florida Statutes specifically defines an autonomous vehicle as one equipped with technology “that has the capability to drive the vehicle on which the technology is installed without the active control or monitoring by a human operator.” This does not mean that a car is “autonomous” just because it may have computer-based safety or “driver assistance” systems, which would effectively cover all recent vehicles. Rather, the vehicle itself must be under the control of the automated systems. Florida law does have some requirements for autonomous vehicles. Any self-driving car must have an internal mechanism “to visually indicate when the vehicle is operating in autonomous mode,” as well as “a system to safely alert the operator” if the autonomous driving system is not functioning properly. The car must also be designed to either permit the “operator” to take control in the event of a systems failure, or, in the alternative, bring the vehicle “to a complete stop.” Self-driving cars must also meet all applicable federal safety standards and be “capable of being operated in compliance” with Florida traffic laws. Physical Control vs. Driving Florida’s DUI law states that a person is guilty of drunk driving if they are “driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle within this state” with a blood-alcohol level of at least 0.08 percent. The law itself does not make an exception for self-driving cars and, as far as we know, no Florida court has actually confronted the issue. But there is legal precedent to suggest that an intoxicated “operator” of a self-driving car would be subject to the same DUI penalties as any other driver. The key is whether or not a person has “physical control of a vehicle” even if they are not technically driving. For instance, Florida courts have long held that an intoxicated driver who pulls over to the side of the road – and falls asleep with the keys still in the ignition – is still committing DUI. The fact the driver “could have at any time started the automobile and driven away” means they still have “physical control.” Similarly, given that Florida law requires an autonomous vehicle to enable the “operator” to take control or stop the vehicle in the event of a systems failure, a prosecutor could argue an intoxicated, non-driving operator was still legally guilty of drunk driving. But again, this remains speculation until someone brings an actual case. Need Help Fighting a DUI Charge? Self-driving cars may be the future. But here in the present, we still need to deal with the problem of drunk driving. If you or a family member have been arrested for DUI and need help from a qualified Orlando criminal defense lawyer, call Moses & Rooth, Attorneys at Law, today at 407-377-0150.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Drunk Driving

Florida’s DUI Ignition Interlock Bill Advances

Under certain circumstances, Florida residents convicted of DUI may be required to install special “ignition interlock” devices in their cars in order to regain their driving privileges. Interlock devices contain a breath analyzer that determines if the driver’s blood-alcohol content is below the Florida legal limit of .08 percent. If the driver is above the limit, the vehicle will not start. First-Time DUI Charge Could be Dismissed Under New Legislation Under current Florida law, an ignition interlock device is mandatory for 1 year following a driver’s second DUI conviction, and for 6 months after a first DUI conviction if there was a minor in the car or the driver’s blood-alcohol content was at least 0.15 percent. For all other first-time DUI convictions, an interlock device may be ordered at the discretion of the sentencing judge. But some Florida legislators want to encourage first-time DUI offenders to use ignition interlock devices. Similar bills have been introduced in the state House and Senate on this subject: House Bill 949 and Senate Bill 918. HB 949, introduced by Rep. Cord Byrd of Neptune Beach, states that a person convicted of a first DUI, with no prior criminal record, could elect to install an ignition interlock device for six months. A judge could also still order an interlock as a condition of probation. In either case, the court would “withhold adjudication” of the defendant’s guilt during the six-month period. In other words, a person who successfully uses the interlock device for six months will effectively have the DUI erased from their record. According to Byrd, this means the driver “would be able to not report [the DUI charge] on an employment application, however law enforcement would still have access to the information.” The second bill, SB 918, would effectively do the same thing as HB 949. It was introduced in the Senate by Orlando-area Sen. David Simmons. On March 21, the House Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee gave preliminary approval to HB 949. The bill must still be approved by the full House Government Accountability Committee, as well as the House Judiciary Committee, before proceeding to a final floor vote. Similarly, SB 918 is working its way through a number of committee approvals before receiving a final vote in that chamber. If both houses agree to identical forms of the bill, it will be sent to Gov. Rick Scott for his signature. Both bills propose an effective date of October 1, 2017. Have You Been Charged With a DUI in the Orlando Area? HB949 and SB918 could have a significant impact on thousands of Florida residents. According to an analysis of HB949 prepared by the House of Representatives staff, there were 12,627 first-time DUI convictions in Florida in 2016. Currently there are more than 9,000 DUI offenders required to use ignition interlock devices. That number could therefore more than double under the new legislation. If you have been charged with DUI, it is important to work with an experienced Orlando criminal defense attorney who understands the law and keep you informed of potential changes that affect your rights. If you need help, call the offices of Moses & Rooth, Attorneys at Law, today at 407-377-0150.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Criminal Defense

5 Things You Didn’t Expect From a Drunk Driving Charge

by David W. Bate Emotional As a criminal defense lawyer in Bangor, ME, I have been practicing for over 20 years and it still surprises me every time: Ordinary people charged with drunk driving are devastated by the prospect of facing real criminal charges with real criminal consequences.  You are afraid to face family and friends.  Through mere negligent conduct, getting behind the wheel when intoxicated, you are thrown in with other criminal defendants who intentionally committed their crimes: thieves, burglars and murderers.  And you don’t know what to expect. I think it helps speaking to a Bangor, ME criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible to alleviate the misconceptions and get a clear picture of what’s coming.  Even if it seems to you that the State’s case is rock solid and a guilty plea likely, a well-focused analysis and review can alleviate the anxiety of the unknown.  For some cases, a defense lawyer’s scrutiny of the police reports can unearth a complete defense or at least an argument that can reduce the charges and penalties. Inconvenience License suspensions (150 day minimum in Maine) wreak havoc on drivers and their families and friends, especially in rural states without public transportation.  Driving is one of the most important conveniences in life, one that we all take for granted.  The stress of a suspension can cause job loss, friend loss, even loss of family.  A defense attorney may be able to avoid or minimize your suspension to reduce this unexpectedly burdensome penalty. Jail Time Jail undoubtedly is the most daunting prospect of a drunk driving charge.  You may have had a taste of jail during your arrest.  It is a bad place with bad people.  Although most states. Like Maine, have alternative sentencing programs designed to place you in camps in classes instead of behind bars, it often takes a defense attorney to navigate the complex rules behind these programs.   Employment Some employers equate a drunk driving conviction with a loss of trust and reliability.  Even if your job does not involve driving, your employer may see you as less likely to show up for work, question your sobriety, question your judgment, and pass you up for raises and promotion.  A defense lawyer is your best option for avoiding conviction and, at times, will be able to convince your employer that the charge or conviction, if unavoidable, have made you a better employee. Lifetime Criminal Record A criminal record will be public and will stay with you a lifetime.  A conviction will be scrutinized at awkward moments by potential employers and even friends and family.  Some see any criminal conviction as a permanent black mark against your character.  Although some states have procedures for pardoning drunk driving convictions (Maine does not), most have waiting periods and a stingy attitude toward A defense attorney obviously is your best bet against this life long stigma. Thanks to our blog contributor, David W. Bate, of David W. Bate Law Office, PC, for his insight into the consequences of drunk driving charges.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Drunk Driving

Have You Been Charged with a DUI?

We all enjoy those moments that make us happiest. We tend to enjoy not only the moment, but the people we around at the time. Our happiest moments are often times celebrated with alcohol, from grabbing a beer with a friend, to wine, liquor, and champagne. Though celebratory times call for celebratory measures, it is important not to drive while you are under the influence of alcohol, chemical substances, or controlled substances. When you drink and drive you increase the risk of hurting or killing yourself, as well as hurting and killing others. According to Mothers against Drunk Driving , 28.1% of all traffic related deaths were due to drunk driving in the recent year, with 40,677 DUI arrests and 26,291 DUI convictions. Because of these numbers, Florida is becoming stricter on those who are charged and convicted of drunk driving. If you or a loved one have been charged with a DUI, it is beyond beneficial to contact an experienced Florida DUI attorney to help you with your case. What Happens if I am Charged with a DUI? When you are stopped by a police officer and asked to take a blood, urine or breath test it is in your best interest to comply. According to Florida’s implied consent law, any person who accepts the responsibility of operating a motor vehicle is deemed to have given his or her consent to submit a chemical test or physical test if an officer has reasonable cause to believe that he or she is driving while impaired. Though you can refuse, you should not. Refusal results in the suspension of your driving privileges for a year for a first refusal or 18 months if you previously had your license suspended for refusing a previous chemical or physical test. If you are charged with a DUI, seek legal representation immediately. Depending on whether the DUI is your first, second, or subsequent offense will determine what consequences await you. Consequences can consist of imprisonment up to one year, fines up to $5,000, license suspension up to ten years, and the use of an interlock ignition device in your vehicle. Because of these penalties, seek legal advice if you have been charged with a DUI. Need Legal Advice? Being arrested and charged with a DUI is not a good experience and it does not look good on your driving record or criminal record. However, in some cases, you may have possible defenses that may be able to save you from this stigma. When you are figuring out your next steps, it is important to consider an attorney. If you or a loved one have been charged with a DUI, contact Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law at (407) 377-0150 for an initial consultation. We can work together to figure out the best possible strategies for your case.  

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