If you have been pulled over for drinking and driving, you know how terrifying it is. You have horrible things going through your mind, and you’re worried about your future. What will your friends and family think? Will you have a conviction on your record? Will you lose your job? The long-term consequences of a drinking and driving conviction can be really detrimental. Still, a conviction is not the only thing you should be concerned about after a drinking and driving offense. Among other things, your license may be revoked, and you may face serious consequences if you have multiple convictions. Understanding your options and legal rights after a driving under the influence arrest is critical to your future.
Florida Drinking and Driving Offenses
Drinking and driving offenses have serious penalties associated with them in Florida that escalate the more times you are convicted of the offense. A first-time offender will be sentenced to a fine between $500-$1,000, and a prison term of no more than six months. These punishments are also increased substantially when bodily injury to another or property damage occurs as the result of an accident. If serious injury or death occurs, felony charges may be brought against the offender. Other charges frequently associated with drunk driving offenses include juvenile crimes such as minors in possession, or drug infractions, reckless driving, or similar charges.
When you are charged with driving under the influence, Florida law gives you a 10-day window in which to request an administrative hearing to prevent your license from being suspended. If you want to maintain your driving privileges, making a timely request for this hearing is critical. Thus, it is always in your best interest to obtain legal counsel as soon as possible after being charged with any criminal offense. Your court appearances are scheduled for you; you likely will not get to choose when they occur and it is your responsibility to be available for these appearances. Failure to appear may result in a warrant for your arrest.
Orlando, Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys
Although Florida law treats driving under the influence as a very serious offense, Florida also provides many opportunities for first time offenders to lessen the severity of the charge. Some people may be eligible for DUI school, alcohol treatment, community service or even the possibility of Pretrial Diversion. Subsequent offenses require ignition interlock devices, assuming you are able to keep your license. In certain cases and after certain conditions and probationary periods are met and completed, you may even be able to have your charges dismissed. Your eligibility and options will vary depending on the unique circumstances of your crime, your past criminal history, and a variety of other contributing factors. Hiring an experienced DUI criminal defense attorney is the best way to ensure that your legal rights are protected and you will receive the best possible outcome. As former prosecutors, we pride ourselves on our vast knowledge of the criminal justice system and procedure, and will make sure you understand your options every step of the way. Call our Orlando office to talk to an attorney at Moses & Rooth today.