Get Started With Answers to Common DUI Questions

Many of those charged with a DUI have never had a run-in with the law before. They may have many questions about the charges, the process, the consequences and life after the charge. To help get started and ease some of the worry, we’ve compiled answers to many of most frequently asked questions here.

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  • What happens if I Get Caught Driving for a Purpose Not Allowed or Covered by my "Business Purpose Only" Restriction?

    If you are driving with a Business Purposes Only license, you likely already have some problems on your hands.  The last thing you want to do is complicate that by being caught driving for a purpose that is not allowed by your restriction.  If you are stopped and the officer believes you are driving for a purpose that is not covered by your restriction, they can issue a Uniform Traffic Citation for a violation of section 322.16(5) of the Florida Statutes.  They can also physically arrest you and take you to jail as this violation is a second-degree misdemeanor. 

    Any time you are charged with a second-degree misdemeanor you are facing up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.  You can also be sentenced to six months’ probation.  If this happens to you, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles can take your hardship license away or add time to the revocation or suspension period in addition to adding restrictions. 

    If your driving privileges were suspended because of a DUI arrest, you are jeopardizing your future and risking a lot of further and possibly unnecessary consequences.  If you have been admitted to the Back on Track Program a new-law violation can result in being bounced out from the program.  If your DUI case is still open in criminal court (whether you are in Back on Track or still fighting your charge), it can further complicate things as the State Attorney’s Office is extremely strict when it comes to driving on a suspended license or a hardship license as a result of a DUI revocation.  The standard offer to resolve your case will likely be 10 days in jail and a plea to DUI.  Remember, a DUI conviction can never be erased from your record.  It will follow you for life.   Lastly, if you are currently on probation or serving your DUI sentence, this will be considered a new-law violation as well as a violation of probation. 

    If you’ve been arrested for DUI and your license has been suspended, give us a call at (305) 707-7345, so that we can discuss how you can drive again. 

  • What Does "Business Purpose Only" Mean for my Driver's License?

    When you are issued a “Business Purposes Only” permit, you are allowed to drive for any purpose necessary to “maintain livelihood.” This type of license operates under Restriction C.  The restriction is limited to driving:

    • To and from work
    • School or educational purposes
    • Necessary on-the-job driving
    • To go to church, or
    • To see a doctor or medical reasons.

    When you are driving with a Business Purposes Only license, it is important to keep driving to a minimum and ONLY for the purposes outlined above and in section 322.271 of the Florida Statutes.  If there was ever a time to err on the side of caution, this is it.  Drive only when absolutely necessary.  Meaning if you can have someone take you to church or to the doctor, do it.  If you can car pool when driving to school, take advantage of it.  If you can use public transportation or it’s feasible to take Uber or Lyft to work, I would definitely consider it.  I always advise my clients to do this and if you happen to work at a job that requires you are present at off-hours such as a server, bartender, nurse, security guard, I always recommend that you have your work schedule and paystubs handy so that you can dispel any suspicions should you be stopped.

    Just because you are driving for a valid purpose under your restricted license does not mean that the police officer that stopped you will agree.  It’s definitely better to be safe than sorry when driving with a hardship license.   The consequences are if you are caught driving with a suspended license are severe.

    If you’ve been arrested for DUI and your license has been suspended, give us a call at (305) 707-7345, so that we can discuss how you can drive again. 

  • What is a Hardship License for "Business Purpose Only"?

    Living in Miami it can seem like all is lost after your license is suspended, revoked or cancelled.  However, you may still qualify for a restricted license that allows driving for certain purposes.  You need to be aware that no hardship restriction can be added to a Commercial Driver License (CDL). 

    Therefore, anyone who seeks a hardship reinstatement of their driver’s license, must obtain a Class E license.  The Class E license can include one of two restrictions: C Restriction or D Restriction.

    Restriction C is known as a “Business Purposes Only” license which allows you to drive for the limited purpose that is “necessary to maintain livelihood, including driving to and from work, necessary on-the-job driving, driving for educational purposes, and driving for church and medical purposes.”  See Florida Statutes, § 322.271(1)(c).

    Restriction D is known as “Employment Purposes Only” and that a driving privilege that is limited to driving to and from work or any necessary on-the-job driving.

    Violating any of the above restrictions results in a Misdemeanor of the Second Degree and you will lose your driving privilege for the rest of the suspension/revocation period. 

    If you’ve been arrested for DUI and your license has been suspended, give us a call at (305) 707-7345, so that we can discuss how you can drive again. 

  • What must be proven to convict me of DUI?

    To convict you of driving under the influence in Florida under section 316.193(1), Florida Statutes, the prosecutor must prove every element of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt.

    The prosecutor MUST be able to prove:

    1. You drove or were in actual physical control of a vehicle.
    2. While driving or in actual physical control of the vehicle, you
    • were under the influence of [alcoholic beverages] [a chemical substance] [a controlled substance] to the extent that your normal faculties were impaired.
    • had a [blood] [breath]-alcohol level of .08 or more grams of alcohol per [100 milliliters of blood] [210 liters of breath].

    Actual physical control of a vehicle means you are physically in or on the vehicle and have the capability to operate the vehicle, regardless of whether you are actually operating the vehicle at the time.

    According to Florida’s standard jury instructions, normal faculties “include but are not limited to the ability to see, hear, walk, talk, judge distances, drive an automobile, make judgments, act in emergencies and, in general, to normally perform the many mental and physical acts of our daily lives.”

    What happens if there is a blood/breath reading in my case?

    When the jury hears evidence of a blood/breath reading, Florida law has various presumptions (these presumptions may be overcome with other evidence that you either were, or were not, under the influence:

    • Reading below a .05 - If you were driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle and had a blood or breath-alcohol level of .05 and below the jury is to presume that you were not under the influence.
    • Reading more than .05 but below .08 - When a jury finds that you were driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle and had a blood or breath-alcohol reading above a .05 but below a .08 there is no presumption either way that you were, or were not under the influence. In this case the jury will consider other evidence to determine whether you were under the influence to the point that your normal faculties were impaired.
    • Reading of .08 or more - This evidence alone is enough to find that you were under the influence at the time of driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle. Note: this evidence may be contradicted or rebutted by other evidence that you were NOT under the influence to the extent that your normal faculties were impaired.

    What if I failed the roadside sobriety tests or blew over the legal limit?

    There may still be defenses available in your case. DUI law is very complex and has many layers. Don’t assume that because you were stopped, arrested, did not perform to standards on the roadside sobriety exercises and blew over the legal limit of .08 that all is lost. Before you go to court and plead guilty to the charge of DUI, you should seek the experience and counsel of a DUI lawyer in Miami to discuss your case, potential defenses and options.

    Call my office, (305)707-7345, I’m here to help you learn how you can fight these charges.

  • Is DUI a felony?

    DUI is usually a misdemeanor with extremely serious consequences, fines, penalties and even the possibility of jail time. However, those consequences are ratcheted up when your DUI carries with it certain factors or aggravators that will make it a felony.

    There are two ways your DUI can become a felony:

    1. This is not your first DUI and you have multiple convictions:

    • Third DUI within 10 years of the second conviction
      • Mandatory 30 days in jail
      • Third-degree felony, maximum sentence of 5 years in prison
      • $2,000 — $5,000 fine
      • 10-year driver’s license revocation
    • Fourth or subsequent conviction
      • Maximum prison sentence of 5 years
      • Permanent driver’s license revocation with no possibility of hardship reinstatement
      • Minimum $2,000 fine

    2. Aggravating factors such as serious bodily injury or death:

    • Cause serious bodily injury
      • Third-degree felony
      • Maximum 5 years in prison
      • $5,000 fine (max)
      • Minimum 3-year revocation
    • DUI Manslaughter
      • Second-degree felony
      • Maximum 15 years in prison
      • $10,000 fine (max)
      • Mandatory permanent revocation, may be eligible for hardship reinstatement in 5 years if no prior related DUI convictions
    • DUI Manslaughter and Leaving the Scene
      • First-degree felony
      • $10,000 fine (max)
      • 30 years in prison

    If you or someone you love is being charged with a felony, do not wait. Enlist the services of a Miami DUI attorney that will fight for your rights and leave no stone unturned in his defense. Call (305) 707-7345 to schedule a consultation, I am here to help.

  • What is the difference between DUI and DWI?

    People often ask the difference between DUI and DWI. In Florida, drunk driving laws are classified under DUI, or driving under the influence. While it is quite common to confuse the two acronyms, the answer depends on the laws in the state in which you are in. States define and identify drunk and/or driving under the influence of drugs (or controlled substances) differently. DUI is driving under the influence, the way Florida classifies it. DWI, driving while intoxicated or driving while impaired is commonly used in other states, such as Texas.

    DUI is a very serious crime in Florida. The state has some of the toughest DUI laws of anywhere in the country and anyone suspected driving or being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is charged under Florida DUI Statute, §316.193. In Florida, the term DWI is not used in the statutes. If you are looking for more information, read my FREE consumer guide: “ It’s Not Just A Traffic Ticket: A Six-Pack of Questions That Can Cause a Hangover after a DUI Arrest”. This FREE book provides information on how to hire a DUI lawyer in Florida and answers the six questions making your head hurt.

    Each state identifies the offense differently by using either DUI or DWI. Some states may apply both DUI and DWI to their laws, while some others have statutes that apply operating under the influence (OUI).

    No matter, the terminology used, most states have serious consequences for driving while under the influence. Florida has some of the harshest DUI laws in the nation. Consequences in Florida, even for a first offense can include jail, probation, mandatory license suspension, vehicle immobilization or impoundment, ignition interlock. In addition, a DUI conviction can never be erased from your criminal history meaning that will not only impact and increase your insurance premiums but can also jeopardize your job, professional license, ability to obtain scholarships, get a loan or obtain security clearances.

    If you have been arrested for DUI in Florida, you need to act quickly because you actually two problems, not just one. Florida immediately suspends your driver’s license if you were over the legal limit of .08 or if you refused to submit to a breath, blood or urine test. You only have 10 days from the date of arrest to request a formal review hearing to challenge the suspension of your driver’s license. If eligible, you may also request to waive formal or informal review and attempt to obtain a restricted permit that allows you to drive for “Business Purpose Only.”

    Either way, you need to enlist the services of a DUI lawyer that focuses their practice on the defense of drunk driving cases and can help navigate both sides of a DUI. I welcome the opportunity to see you for a confidential consultation to discuss your case, goals and potential defenses. You can schedule a consultation by calling, (305) 707-7345, or by filling out our DUI Intake Form. 

    I invite you to contact me to see how I may be of service.

  • 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.