Get Answers to Common Questions Now

Our clients have many of the same fears and concerns. To get started, we’ve compiled answers to many of the most frequently asked questions about Federal, Florida DUI and criminal law, covering a wide range of topics to help each client understand the potential implications and options of many legal situations.

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  • Do I need a lawyer?

    While you don’t NEED a lawyer do anything, you SHOULD go speak to one and see how they can help you defend yourself against your DUI arrest. Before you speak to ANY lawyer about your DUI educate yourself by reading my FREE consumer guide: “It’s Not Just A Traffic Ticket.” This FREE book provides information on how to hire a DUI lawyer in Florida and answers a six pack of questions that can cause a hangover after a DUI arrest. BEWARE: this valuable information is not popular among so-called “DUI” lawyers looking to take your hard-earned money and simply plea you guilty.

    By seeking the help of a Miami DUI defense attorney, you may be able to build a defense to the charge of DUI and better your current circumstances avoid many of the harsh penalties associated with DUI in Florida.

    What questions should I ask a lawyer before I hire them?

    • Who will be handling my case?
    • How much experience do you have handling DUI cases?
    • Are you a former prosecutor or public defender?
    • Have you been disciplined by the state bar?
    • What are the costs of legal fees, investigators, experts, depositions, transcripts?
    • What can I expect the final outcome of my case to be?

    What does a DUI lawyer in Miami cost?

    There are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to legal fees charged by attorneys to defend your DUI. Criminal defense, and particularly DUI defense, seems to have some of the largest discrepancies or ranges in fees charged by lawyers. The typical range for a DUI lawyer can be anywhere from $800 to $10,000 for a first DUI.

    A general rule of thumb, however, is that the “plea mills” or the “dump truck” lawyers tend to charge unreasonably low fees because they rely on having a volume practice and the amount of work they will put in on your behalf. These lawyers usually go to court a couple of times and convince you to take a plea without really exploring options that are available to you or actually fighting your case. Remember: it’s tough to offer excellent service, high quality of work AND a low price. If you are shopping solely on price you will most likely sacrifice one of the other two qualities—if not both!

    Beware, there are some terrible DUI lawyers charging extremely high legal fees and some good DUI attorneys charging their clients much more reasonable fees. Price alone should not be the only determining factor to consider when making your decision on who to hire to defend your DUI.

    Most good DUI lawyers that focus primarily on DUI defense will charge anywhere between $4,000 and $10,000 (some even more). The better DUI lawyers charge fees that are reasonable for the amount of work they do, because properly fighting a DUI charge requires a lot of work.

    If you are interested in learning more about how I can help you, call, (305) 707-7345 to schedule a consultation, or fill out our DUI Intake Form and I will quickly contact you to discuss your case.

  • What does a DUI cost?

    I was arrested for DUI, what is this going to cost me?

    If you have been charged with a DUI in Miami, the cost of even a first conviction can be much more damaging and harmful than the costs of fighting your arrest/charge. Florida has some of the toughest DUI laws and penalties in the country and after a first conviction for a DUI you may be facing costs including:

    • Fines – $500-$1,000 (if Blood/Breath alcohol level of .15 or higher or minor children in the car, the fine is between $1,000-$2,000);
    • Court costs/surcharges – approximately $600-$650;
    • DUI School – $250-$400;
    • Treatment (if required) – approximately $250-$500
    • Probation – approximately $55 per month ($330-$660) to cover the cost of supervision while on probation (period of probation and incarceration may not exceed one year);
    • Vehicle Impoundment or Immobilization – approximately $150 for 10 days or $300 for 90 days;
    • Ignition Interlock (mandatory for BAL of .15 and above) – $200;
    • Victim Impact Panel – $40
    • Cost of prosecution – $50
    • Cost Recovery – As determined and requested by law enforcement;
    • Donation – $25 Ryder Trauma Center

    In addition, after a Florida DUI conviction, you are likely to see a considerable increase in your auto insurance rates. To make matters worse, a DUI conviction could affect your ability to get to work, prevent you from getting certain jobs in the future, impact your ability to get a loan, make you ineligible for scholarships, obtain a professional license or even get you fired from your current job. On the other hand, you may be able to avoid all of this by fighting your DUI charge in Florida.

    By seeking the help of a Miami DUI defense attorney, you may be able to build a defense to the charge of DUI and better your current circumstances avoid many of the harsh penalties associated with DUI in Florida.


    What does a DUI lawyer in Miami cost?

    There are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to legal fees charged by attorneys to defend your DUI. Criminal defense and particularly DUI defense seems to have some of the largest discrepancies or ranges of fees charged by lawyers. The typical range for a DUI lawyer can be anywhere from $800 to $10,000 for a first offense DUI.

    As a general rule of thumb, the “plea mills” or the “dump truck” lawyers tend to charge unreasonably low fees because of the amount of work they tend to put in on your behalf. They usually go to court a couple of times and convince you to take a plea without really exploring options that are available to you or actually fighting your case. Remember: it’s tough to offer excellent service, high quality of work AND a low price. If you are shopping solely on price you will most likely sacrifice the other two qualities.

    Beware, there are some terrible DUI lawyers charging extremely high legal fees and some good DUI attorneys charging their clients’ much more reasonable fees. Therefore, price alone should not be the only determining factor when you are making your decision on what DUI lawyer to hire.

    Most good DUI lawyers that focus primarily on DUI defense will charge anywhere between $4,000 and $10,000 (some even more). The better DUI lawyers charge fees that are reasonable for the amount of work they do, because properly fighting a DUI charge requires a lot of work.

    If you are interested in learning more about how I can help you, call, (305) 707-7345 to schedule a consultation, or fill out our DUI Intake Form and I will quickly contact you to discuss your case.

  • Can I really go to jail for DUI?

    YES. Florida has some of the toughest DUI laws in the country. Jail is a possibility in every DUI case, even a first offense. A first DUI in Florida is punishable by up to 180 days in jail, or 9 months in jail if your blood alcohol level was .15 or above or if there was a minor child in the vehicle at the time. Keep in mind these are maximum penalties that can occur in worst-case scenarios.

    Obviously, the possibility of having to serve jail time as a result of your DUI depends on the particular facts of your case. No lawyer can tell you how much time you are certain to get—because no lawyer knows!

    Some of the factors the prosecutor and the judge will consider when determining whether an individual deserves jail are:

    • Property damage or personal injuries caused
    • Blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of driving
    • Driving pattern leading up to arrest
    • Criminal and traffic record

    In addition to these factors, the possibility of jail time greatly increases once the person has prior DUI arrests or convictions. A second DUI conviction within five years of the first carries a mandatory 10-day jail sentence and the possibility for up to 9 months (12 months if .15 and above or minor child in car). A third DUI conviction within 10 years of the previous conviction becomes a third-degree felony and carries a mandatory 30 days in jail, with a maximum of up to 5 years in prison.

  • Can I get a DUI off my record?

    A DUI conviction may never be erased from your permanent criminal record. Florida DUI penalties provide that anyone convicted of DUI receive a mandatory adjudication of guilt. In Florida, once you have been adjudicated guilty (formal conviction of a crime) you are ineligible to seal or expunge your record.

    However, depending on the outcome of your case, there may be a way for your record to be cleared so that you can go on living as normal a life as possible without this dark cloud hanging over you. In order to be eligible to seal your DUI arrest you have to ensure that you are not convicted of DUI and the only way to do that is to have the DUI charges dropped, dismissed or reduced. In addition, if your DUI charges are reduced to reckless driving, for instance, you would need to receive a withhold of adjudication in order to be eligible to petition the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) to seal your record.

    Depending on your prior criminal history (no prior convictions), you may be eligible to seal or expunge your DUI from your record, eliminate it from public view and oftentimes deny it ever happened.

    However, if you were found guilty after a trial, plead guilty or no contest to DUI you will likely be ineligible to seal or expunge your record as Florida law calls for mandatory adjudication, meaning you MUST be convicted, on a DUI charge.

    Difference between record sealing and expungement in Florida

    If your DUI charges were either dropped by the State or dismissed by the Judge and did not proceed to trial, you may eligible to apply to have your DUI arrest expunged from your criminal record.

    If your case resulted in a “breakdown” or reduction of the DUI charges to reckless driving and you received a withhold of adjudication, you may be eligible to apply to have your record sealed.

    Once you get your record sealed the public will not have access to it. You can legally deny that it ever happened, meaning you can answer “no” if asked whether you have been arrested, charged or convicted. There are still some government agencies that will have access to a record that has been sealed. When your record has been expunged, those same government agencies will only be able to see that your record has been expunged but will not be able to see the full record without a court order.

    Be aware, however, that because we live in the information age where pretty much everything is available with the click of a button, records of your arrest may never completely disappear.
    Numerous third-party websites and services exist on the internet that have access to public information and then proceed to plaster it all over their sites.

    The easiest way to ensure that you will never be able to get a DUI off your record is to go to court without the assistance of an experienced DUI lawyer to help you fight the charges. Walking into court and pleading guilty will guarantee that you will not be able to erase this mistake from your permanent criminal record.

    Let me know how I can help you. Call, (305) 707-7345 to schedule a consultation to discuss your case, options and possible defenses.

  • Will I lose my license?

    Your license will be suspended for six months if you were arrested for DUI and provided a breath test result that is .08 and above. The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV or commonly referred to as the DMV) will suspend your license for one year if you refused to submit to a breath, blood or urine test. Your license can be suspended for 18 months if you previously refused to submit to a breath, blood or urine test and your license was previous suspended (you will also be charged with a misdemeanor in criminal court if this is your second or subsequent refusal).

    The moment you are arrested for DUI (for breath of .08 or above or refusal), your license is suspended. The arresting officer takes your license and issues a Uniform Traffic Citation (traffic ticket). This citation is your temporary, 10-day license (from the date of arrest). With the citation serving as your license, you will allowed to drive on a restricted basis, or for business purposes only, meaning to and from work, shopping for groceries, going to church, court or your lawyer’s office.

    From that point, you have 10 days to request a hearing with the DMV to fight the suspension of your license. Once you request the formal review hearing and, assuming, your license was valid at the time of arrest, you will be issued a permit to continue driving on a restricted basis, pending formal review, for an additional 42 days.

    If you have a DMV hearing and the suspension of your driver’s license is not invalidated, you will have a mandatory period of suspension, ‘hard time,’ before you are eligible for a hardship, or “business purpose permit.” If you registered a reading of .08 and above your license will be suspended for six months and you will have a 30-day period of hard time before you are eligible for a hardship license. If you refused to submit to a breath, blood or urine test, your license will be suspended for one year (for a first offense) and you will have to serve a 90-day period of hard time before you are eligible for a hardship license, according to Florida’s Administrative Suspension Law.

     

    I really need to drive, can I get a hardship license now?

    New Florida Law Allows You To Waive Formal/Informal Review Hearing

    Starting July 1, 2013, the Florida Administrative Suspension Laws changed to allow you to request a review of eligibility to obtain a “Business Purpose Only” permit to drive immediately. However, requesting eligibility review waives your ability to challenge the suspension of your license through a formal or informal review hearing.

    If you have no prior DUI convictions (administrative suspensions or convictions for an alcohol or drug related offense), you have three options following a DUI arrest:

    1. request an informal review hearing;
    2. request a formal review hearing; or
    3. request an eligibility review hearing to obtain a “Business Purpose Only” permit (Note: you are waiving your right to a formal or informal review hearing if you request eligibility review).

    Before waiving your right to a formal or informal review, it is imperative that you speak to a DUI lawyer that will advise you of the pros and cons. Oftentimes formal review hearings are crucial to gaining valuable information needed to defend your criminal case as the arresting officer, breath test operator and other parties can be subpoenaed to testify under oath about your DUI case at the DMV hearing.

    I personally handle both the administrative and criminal aspects of your case, and I am ready to help. Call, (305) 707-7345, for a confidential consultation so I may help you decide whether challenging the suspension of your license or waiving and seeking eligibility review is in your best interest.

  • 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.

  • 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. You only have 10 days to save your licenseby fighting the suspension or waiving through eligibility review.

  • 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.

  • What do I do when stopped for DUI?

    If you are stopped for DUI there are a few things you can do to prevent the officer and government from gathering and twisting evidence to use against you at a later time. First off, be respectful to the officer and do not say too much. Do not make any admissions or statements about how much you have had to drink. They have likely heard them all and anything you say (even if you say you’ve only had one beer) will be used to reaffirm the officer’s suspicion. Anything you tell the officer will likely be twisted and used against you later.

    Once you are approached by an officer, be sure that you are able to easily retrieve all of your identifying documents (i.e. driver’s license, registration and insurance). Make sure you know where these documents are and that you keep them somewhere so you avoid fumbling for them. Previously, I represented a client (language barrier notwithstanding) handed the officer a bank deposit slip and a receipt.

    You are probably thinking, “once I’m stopped, should I take the tests?” The answer is that you do not have to perform roadside sobriety tests. Chances are if the officer has already gone down that path with you during their initial contact with you that they already feel you are under the influence and you are likely to be arrested for DUI. Essentially, you will be giving the officer evidence to use against you. Even the most coordinated, sober person will have a hard time performing to “standards.” The bar is ridiculously high for taking these tests and being set free.

    Lastly, you do not have to take the breath test. Refusing to take the breath test will result in your license being suspended for one year (if it’s your first refusal) but the officer cannot force you to take a breath test.

  • I refused a breath test in Florida, now what?

    If you refuse to submit to a breath test in Florida, your license will be immediately suspended for a period of 1 year (18 months if your license has been previously suspended for refusing). The moment you are arrested for DUI and refuse (or if you blow .08 or above) your driver’s license will be taken by the arresting officer and your DUI ticket will serve as your temporary (restricted) license for 10 days. You only have 10 days to fight the suspension with the Bureau of Administrative Reviews of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Under a recent change to Florida’s administrative suspension law, you can also request eligibility review during the 10-day period in order to obtain a business purpose permit immediately. By requesting eligibility review you are waiving your right to fight the administrative suspension of your driver’s license.

    In addition to the administrative penalties for refusing to submit to a test, the prosecutor will attempt to use your refusal against you in criminal court in order to prove your guilt. Even though you have already consented to sobriety tests required by law by driving in the state of Florida, in order to have a valid refusal, you have to have been informed of the Florida implied consent law and given the proper warnings. Also, oftentimes officers charge people with refusal to submit to a breath test when they actually attempting to provide a sample and simply cannot do so or are asking questions and going back and forth with whether they want to provide a breath sample when the officer becomes annoyed and documents a refusal.