St. Augustine DUI and Driving Offense Lawyers
Florida’s Strict DUI Laws and Penalties
Florida has some of the strictest DUI laws in the country. With I-95 nearby, numerous college students and tourists come to St. Augustine to vacation, and many good people end up getting drunk, driving, and possibly hurting somebody.
Florida DUI law states that:
- Driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or more is illegal
- A first DUI offense can result in an administrative license suspension for 12 months
- DUI penalties can include interlock devices and vehicle forfeiture
- Neither drivers nor passengers are permitted to have an open container of alcohol
Possible DUI penalties involve paying thousands of dollars in fines and restitution, driver’s license revocation, and months or even years behind bars.
In Florida, anyone caught driving under the influence that caused damage to property or injured another is guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor. The penalties can be up to a $1,000 fine or one year in prison. There are a lot of collateral consequences to a DUI conviction that include DUI school and community service.
Second-Degree DUI Felonies
- DUI manslaughter/leaving the scene of an accident involving death: Both carry up to a $10,000 fine and up to 15 years imprisonment.
Third-Degree DUI Felonies
- Three or more DUI felonies within 10 years: The penalties include a fine of no more than $5,000 and five years of imprisonment.
- DUI with bodily injury: Penalties include no more than a $5,000 fine and up to five years of imprisonment.
Securing Evidence in Your DUI Case
St. Augustine Attorneys Urge You to Check Your Footwear
Your St. Augustine lawyers will want to know what kind of shoes you were wearing at the time of your DUI arrest. Sometimes women will be asked to do a sobriety check while wearing high heels, and certain men may have to perform such checks in cowboy boots. Balance tests can therefore be unfair and inaccurate when the subject is wearing shoes that do not support the feet properly or that do not allow for proper balance.
You will be advised by your St. Augustine attorneys to make sure that you keep your shoes in the same condition they were at the time of your sobriety balance test. This will prevent claims that your shoes have since been worn out or altered.
St. Augustine Lawyers Discuss Witnesses
You will definitely need to find all witnesses. Every witness involved needs to provide your St. Augustine lawyers with the names and information of anyone you contacted during the evening of your arrest. It is vital that your St. Augustine lawyers contact these witnesses as soon as possible so that they remember the important details of the evening you were arrested.
Although you may very well be a little bit reluctant to have some of the witnesses contacted because they will become aware of your DUI, this is a truly important step in your case for you and your St. Augustine lawyers. It can greatly aid in the case ending in your favor if you have proper witnesses to offer their defense for you. However, if you still do not want your St. Augustine lawyers to contact witnesses, your lawyers may have you sign a document stating that this was against their advice as legal experts.
What Field Sobriety Tests Are Valid?
If you have been subjected to a traffic stop on suspicion of driving under the influence, law enforcement may conduct certain tests to determine your sobriety. The suspect may be asked to make written statements, pronounce certain words, or say the alphabet. It has been decided that these so-called tests do not indicate whether or not a driver is sober.
If the suspect has a problem reciting the alphabet, it could be due to reasons other than alcohol intoxication, for example:
- a problem with English
- issues with pronunciation
- a lack of reading skills
Problems with the writing test could simply be due to bad handwriting, nervousness, or a physical illness. Your Putnam DUI attorney will point out the potential flaws of these tests.
What Does Science Say About Non-Standardized Field Sobriety Tests?
A study has also concluded that a handwriting test cannot accurately measure the blood alcohol content of the writer. Handwriting tests are used to show that the handwriting is not legible, messy, or hard to read—thus a reflection of bad motor skills and evidence of the influence of alcohol. If you were stopped on suspicion of DUI, and given a handwriting test, a skilled DUI lawyer can reference this study to show that estimating blood alcohol content based on a handwriting sample is impossible.
A January 1984 report called “Improved Sobriety Testing” concluded that three tests give officers grounds to make an arrest. These are the one-leg stand test, the walk-and-turn test, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. Other frequently used sobriety tests don’t provide enough justification for the officer to decide whether or not to make an arrest.
Knowledgeable Attorneys, Fighting for Your Rights
In reality, sometimes even the best people can make mistakes. When facing a DUI/DWI charge, you have the right to be represented by a qualified lawyer who can use their expert knowledge and experience to fight for your rights.
At Canan Law, our attorneys will fight for you, defend against every procedure, and protect every right you have. We often challenge sobriety test results from Breathalyzers and Intoxilyzers and police procedures. We help you get the best possible outcome for your case.
Want to Keep Your Driver’s License? Time Is Running Out.
It is important to realize that a DUI charge also has an administrative component. You only have 10 days after a DUI arrest to contact the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to request a hearing on your license suspension and get an extension of your temporary license.
We Can Help. Don’t Wait. Call (904) 849-2266 Today.
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Contact our DUI attorneys for a free consultation about your arrest. Call or contact us online. We offer competitive rates and a swift response for clients.