Summer fun is in the air in sunny Sarasota. Residents are enjoying the warm weather and the longer days with boating and beach parties. But if you mix drinking and driving, you may find your summer fun coming to a quick end. If you have been arrested for a drunk driving offense in the Sarasota/Bradenton area, you need to take quick action to ensure that your driving privileges are protected.
Drunk driving is a serious offense in the state of Florida and the penalties for it can have a devastating impact on both your life and the lives of your family members. Additionally, the laws related to DUI offenses are complicated and constantly changing. You need a qualified legal professional to guide you through this complex process. It is important that you look for an attorney who specializes in DUI to ensure that they are the most knowledgeable regarding the current legislation related to DUI.
There are actually two separate legal cases related to a DUI in Florida. The first is the administrative license suspension. This is a separate case that relates only to your driver’s license. At the time of your arrest, your driver’s license was automatically suspended for between 6 month and 1 year. The duration of this suspension will depend on your driving record and the unique circumstances of your case. The second case that is pending against you if you have been arrested for DUI is a criminal case. This case is based on the results of the chemical test taken to determine your blood alcohol content at the time of your arrest. The chemical test measures the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream based on a sample of your breath or blood. The legal limit for intoxication in the state of Florida is .08% or greater. You have the right to refuse the chemical test, but your license may still be suspended and there will still be a DUI case filed against you.
Penalties for a DUI conviction include fines, required alcohol treatment, community service, vehicle impoundment, and potentially jail time. These penalties will increase in severity with each subsequent DUI conviction. The fine associated with a first time DUI conviction with no extenuating circumstances is $500, but if the DUI conviction is a second or greater DUI offense the fine will increase up to $5000. More severe penalties will also be assessed if there was a child under 18 in the car at the time of the arrest or if the driver had a BAC of .15 or greater.
As you can see, a DUI conviction can have a life-changing effect. These cases should not be taken lightly. To ensure that every effort is made in your DUI case, you should seek the professional counsel of an experience DUI lawyer without delay.