MIAMI, FLORIDA DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE ATTORNEY
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a serious criminal offense that not only carries a strong social stigma but is also aggressively prosecuted by the State Attorney’s Office. In addition, DUI is the one crime most likely to affect our family, friends, professionals and those who have never been in any trouble and will likely never encounter the criminal justice system again.
When arrested and charged with DUI, time is of the essence and finding a lawyer to help you navigate the murky water is crucial to ensuring your rights are protected in both forums (Administrative & Criminal).
Administrative Review Hearings are conducted by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to validate the suspension of your driver’s license and the standard of proof is much lower than that of a criminal trial. In an Administrative hearing all that has to be shown is that it is more likely than not that the driver had an unlawful breath alcohol level (.08%) or that they refused the test.
In Criminal court the State Attorney’s Office has the burden to prove your guilt beyond, and to the exclusion of, every reasonable doubt. DUI is proved by impairment of normal faculties or by an unlawful blood alcohol or breath alcohol level of .08 or above.
Given the nature of DUI and those it affects, Izquierdo Law Firm, P.A. helps clients aggressively attempt to invalidate Administrative license suspensions as well as exploring all available defenses in Criminal court in order to avoid or mitigate the serious consequences that accompany a DUI charge.
CHARGED WITH DUI IN MIAMI, FLORIDA?
As a result of a first-time DUI, you can face the following penalties if convicted:
- Not less than $500, or more than $1,000 fine; With a Blood/Breath Alcohol Level of .15 or higher, or with a minor in the vehicle the fine can no less than $1,000 or more than $2,000.
- Mandatory 50 hours of community service or additional fine of $10 for each hour of community service required.
- Total period of probation and incarceration may not exceed 1 year.
- Not more than 6 months in jail; With a Blood/Breath Alcohol Level of .15 or higher or with a minor in the vehicle, not more than 9 months.
- 10-day vehicle impoundment/immobilization.
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT DUI CHECK OUT THESE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
- What is DUI?
DUI is an abbreviation commonly used for Driving Under the Influence. A person is guilty of DUI if he or she is driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle and is under the influence of alcohol or any chemical or controlled substance to the point that their normal faculties are impaired, or that person has a blood alcohol level of .08% or above.
- Am I presumed guilty if I have a blood alcohol level of .08%?
DUI is a criminal charge, and in any criminal case it is unconstitutional to have a presumption that the defendant is guilty. You are innocent until proven guilty beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt. A defendant that has a blood alcohol level of .08% or above faces evidence, that on its face, shows that the person is under the influence and that their normal faculties are impaired.
- If I am found to have a blood alcohol level of .08% or above, why should I fight my case?
A DUI conviction will always appear on your record. Florida has mandatory adjudication laws for even a first-time DUI. Formal adjudication means that your DUI will become part of your permanent record and you will not be able to expunge it in the future. This can result in serious consequences for the rest of your life as you attempt to maintain a job, apply for a job, continue your education or receive professional licenses. By hiring a DUI attorney you can ensure that your case is defended with zeal and that any and all possible defenses and challenges are raised to protect your rights. A DUI attorney can challenge many parts of your DUI arrest, such as the stop itself, the investigation, the tests given by law enforcement and the equipment used to administer tests.
- May I refuse to take a breath, blood or urine test if required by law enforcement?
In Florida, you do not have a right to refuse such tests, you only have the option to do so. By accepting driving privileges in the State of Florida, you are deemed to have consented to to submit to such tests. You may refuse such tests as long as you were not involved in an accident involving serious bodily injury or death. While you may refuse such tests, there are consequences for doing so as driving is a privilege and not a right. Consequences for refusing to submit to such tests allows the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to immediately suspend your driver’s license for a period one (1) year for your first refusal, or eighteen (18) months if you have previously refused. Evidence of your refusal may be used against you in a criminal proceeding.
- Will I automatically lose my driver’s license if arrested for DUI?
Florida law allows a law enforcement officer to seize your driver’s license if you are arrested for DUI because of having a blood alcohol level of .08% or higher or because you refused to submit to a breath, blood or urine test. Upon getting arrested for DUI, the officer will issue the driver a traffic ticket that serves as a temporary driver’s permit for ten (10) days. This citation also provides notice of the administrative suspension.
- How can I fight the administrative suspension of my driver’s license?
When your life is turned upside down as a result of a DUI arrest, you must act quickly as time is of the essence. You have ten (10) days to file a notice to appeal your administrative suspension. Your DUI attorney will be able to file the notice for you and request a driving permit to extend your driving privileges for another month. At the formal review hearing your attorney will be able to fight the administrative suspension of your driver’s license by subpoenaing the officers and challenging all aspects of the DUI arrest, from the stop itself to the procedures and equipment used by law enforcement.
- How long will my license be suspended?
If you are unable to invalidate the suspension of your driver’s license at the administrative hearing your driving privileges may be suspended for an extended period of time. If you have refused to submit to a lawful breath, blood or urine test, your license will be administratively suspended for one (1) year for a first refusal, or for eighteen (18) months if you have previously refused such tests. If you take a test and had an unlawful blood alcohol level (.08% or higher), your license will be suspended for six (6) months for a first offense, or for one (1) year if your driving privilege has been suspended previously.
- Will I be eligible for a hardship?
Given the nature of living in South Florida and the fact that DUI affects people from all walks of life, you may be eligible for a hardship permit to continue driving for business or educational purposes. If your license is administratively suspended because of an unlawful breath, blood or urine test of .08% or above, you must serve thirty (30) days of your suspension before becoming eligible for a hardship permit. You will be eligible unless you have been convicted of DUI two (2) or more times.
If your driving privilege was suspended for refusal to submit to a breath, blood or urine test, you must serve ninety (90) days of your suspension before you are eligible for a hardship. No hardship is provided if you have refused to submit two or more times.
In order to be eligible for consideration for a hardship you must show proof of enrollment in a DUI school. If you are granted early reinstatement through a hardship, you must complete DUI school within 90 days of the reinstatement or your license will be suspended again until the course is completed.
- If I win my administrative review hearing, will this mean that my criminal case will be dropped?
No. There are two (2) separate parts of a DUI case. The first part is conducted and overseen by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and relates only to the suspension of your driving privileges. The second part is prosecuted by the State Attorney’s Office in either County or Circuit court. The outcome in one arena has no bearing on the other.