Florida has very stringent DUI penalties. However, these guidelines are subject to wide discretion by the trial judge, who may decide each sentence based on the defendant’s unique circumstances.
When you are arrested for a DUI you have only 10 days to schedule a hearing with the DHSMV (Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles). If you do not schedule a hearing within 10 days your license is automatically suspended on the 11th day after your arrest. Please contact us immediately and we will schedule a hearing for you and represent you at the hearing at (727) 344-5511 in Pinellas County or (813) 221-4400 in Hillsborough County. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day and our initial consultation is free.
We have extensive experience representing clients facing misdemeanor driving under the influence (DUI) charges and felony DUI charges as well as felony DUI manslaughter and felony BUI manslaughter. I have handled 1000’s of DUI cases.
I am often asked whether a client should submit to a breath test. As I advise hundreds of clients, if you have had only one glass of wine, or a couple of beers, or a minimal amount to drink – you should submit to a breath test and you should submit to all field sobriety tests. It is not illegal to drink and drive, it is only illegal to drink and drive to the extent that you are under the influence of alcohol and your normal faculties are impaired. If, however, you have had too much to drink, do not speak to the police officer, do not submit to any tests, and ask for a lawyer.
The law presumes that you are impaired if your breath alcohol level is .08 or higher; however, this presumption can be fought in court during a trial. You must also understand that DUIs can be based on consumption of alcohol and/or controlled substances. This includes consumption of medications that are lawfully prescribed to you. It is illegal to drive while under the influence of these substances to the extent that your normal faculties are impaired. Please be cognizant of the fact that you can be impaired by legally prescribed medications.
I have looked at thousands of videos from DUI arrests and represented thousands of clients charged with DUI. Police officers frequently videotape DUI arrests. My office has the experience to analyze the video of your arrest and the other discovery materials in your case to advise you of the best way to attack your case. Please understand that DUI cases allow for multiple avenues of attack by your lawyer. My office will look to see whether there is a motion to throw your case out of court, whether there are any mitigating circumstances to present to have the DUI charge reduced to a lower charge like a reckless or careless driving, and also whether you have a good trial case.
I have tried hundreds of DUI cases and have been very successful at obtaining acquittals, even in cases involving breath alcohol levels that are double and triple the legal limit. At any time you may come into my office and look at my record of DUI cases that I have tried. I have personally had “not guilty” verdicts at trial with breath alcohol cases of over a 3.0 or 4.0 (up to 5 times the legal limit).
Because I am a Certified Breath Test Operator and have been practicing criminal law close to 15 years specializing in DUI – I am very familiar with issues with the breath test and intoxilyzer machines. I have lectured at various schools and with organizations about DUI and about the problems with the machines. Less than 1% of criminal attorneys are certified breath test operators in the United States. My unique knowledge of the machines gives me insight to prepare your defense and potentially cross examine a breath test operator.
Please also understand the importance of dealing with the various entities that are involved when someone is charged with a DUI. The DHSMV (Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles) and the court are both involved in DUI cases. My office represents you both with the DHSMV and the court system. The DHSMV controls your driver’s license and the court’s decision can affect both your punishment and your driver’s license. We have an excellent reputation and relationship with the DHSMV.
Although the DHSMV and the court can issue overlapping penalties, they are not affected by each other and they have separate hearings. For purposes of the DHSMV, it is highly beneficial to hire me within ten days of your arrest to preserve your right to a DHSMV hearing. I can also obtain a temporary driver’s license for you to keep you driving despite your recent DUI arrest.
The DHSMV hearing determines whether your license initially can be reinstated, but this hearing has no bearing on your criminal case. However, the criminal case can lead to an additional revocation of your license. Please understand that we have handled thousands of DHSMV hearings and have been successful at many of these hearings, resulting in the client having their license reinstated as if they were never arrested for DUI. As of July 1, 2013, the law has changed for first time arrestees. If you follow my advice you will be eligible to receive a hardship license without losing your right to drive.
We also have been successful in winning appeals all the way up to the Second District Court of Appeal. As a result of the Falcone v. DHSMV opinion, for about a year and a half, until that opinion was reversed, all my clients that submitted to breath testing with results above a .08 were able to have their regular driver’s license reinstated.
The law has changed and the Legislature is making it harder and harder for clients to win their driver’s license back and keep their driving privileges permanently reinstated. However, because of our experience and diligence in this matter, we can do everything possible to win your driver’s license back.
Please note that we also represent clients on felony DUIs and felony DUI manslaughter and BUI manslaughter. If you look at my newspaper clippings and case outcomes you will see that I have been successful at obtaining “not guilty” verdicts in both felony DUIs and DUI manslaughters and BUI manslaughter cases.
When it comes to DUIs, no case is too small or too big for our office to handle. We have handled one-witness DUI cases where the client has refused to provide a breath sample, up to the most complicated DUI manslaughter trials involving forced blood draws, multiple witnesses and experts, and a week of trial time.
In the state of Florida, a third DUI can potentially be classified a felony if it occurred within ten years of your second DUI. Clients need to understand that the filing of a felony is at the discretion of the State Attorney’s Office. It is very important to hire a lawyer quickly so that the charge can potentially be filed as a misdemeanor. Please call me for a free consultation if you have been charged for a DUI.
We also appear on the behalf of our clients to fight traffic violations, from speeding to running a red light. These violations, typically considered infractions and not criminal offenses, are largely within the judge’s discretion when it comes to the penalty applied. In many situations, we can reduce the amount of points you receive on your driving record and the dollar amount of your fine.
Please call us now at (727) 344-5511 in Pinellas County or (813) 221-4400 in Hillsborough County for a free consultation. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day.