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Orlando DUI Attorney | Fight DUI Charges in Florida

It is estimated that there were 32,124 DUI arrests in Florida during 2018. Since they can lead to human or material losses, DUI laws are harsh. Therefore, if you or a relative were arrested for drunk driving or driving under the influence, it may be in your best interest to seek the advice of a DUI attorney in Orlando. 

Driving while impaired is risky behavior for you and others. Even if no one was harmed, you might still face severe punishment and long-lasting consequences. DUI laws in Florida can be complicated, especially if this is your first encounter with the criminal justice system. In the following sections, you will find key information about DUI offenses:

A DUI offense in Florida should be taken seriously. An Orlando DUI attorney from the law firm of Z. Hernandez Law can help you pilot through this process and build a strong DUI defense strategy for your case. Call (407) 900-8490 to schedule an appointment.

What Is Considered a DUI In Florida?

In Florida, a DUI offense occurs when a person who is under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or certain chemical substances is driving or is in actual physical control of a vehicle. According to Florida DUI laws, 0.08 or more is unlawful blood alcohol or breath level. 

Drunk driving is risky. As detailed in Florida Statute 316.193, if your normal faculties are impaired as a consequence of consuming alcohol or a controlled substance, you can be charged with DUI. A blood alcohol content (BAC) higher than the legal limit can be enough to assume that your faculties are compromised. 

Under Florida DUI laws, normal faculties are understood as your ability to: 

  • Drive 
  • See 
  • Talk
  • Judge distances
  • Walk
  • Act in emergencies 
  • Make judgments
  • Perform everyday physical or mental activities  

0.08 BAC or higher is unlawful in Florida. This blood alcohol level indicates that the previous faculties are highly likely to be impaired. 

When it comes to DUI offenses in Florida, not only could you be arrested if you are caught intoxicated while driving, but also if you are in actual physical control of the vehicle. This means that if you are not driving but have the power and capability to operate the car, you may still be charged with DUI. 

For instance, in Griffin v. State, Mr. Griffin was found sleeping in the driver’s seat. The car was off, but Mr. Griffin’s foot was on the brake, and the key was in the ignition. The police officer who found him realized Mr. Griffin was under the influence and arrested him for DUI. 

Understanding DUI terms can be complicated. An Orlando DUI lawyer can help you understand your charges and prepare a strong defense. 

Types of Vehicles – What can you get a DUI on in Florida?

DUI offenses in Florida are not exclusive to cars. Other vehicles that can lead to DUI charges include, but are not limited to:

  • Boats (BUI)
  • Motorcycles 
  • Mopeds
  • Golf carts 
  • Bikes

In Florida, a vehicle is defined as any means of transportation you can use on the street. Since this is a broad definition, many vehicles could lead to a DUI charge. 

DUI Penalties in Florida

Florida DUI offenses start as a second-degree misdemeanor, but can escalate to a first-degree felony in certain circumstances. It is also important to note that subsequent DUI convictions can increase the severity of your DUI penalties. 

DUI lawyer Zarina Hernandez can help build a strong DUI defense strategy and represents clients facing charges for:

  • First DUI offenses
  • DUI with property damage 
  • Second DUI and subsequent offenses

In addition to fines and incarceration, the penalties for a DUI conviction may also include:

  • Community work
  • Ignition interlock device
  • Probation 
  • Driver’s license suspension
  • Complete a substance abuse course
  • Vehicle impoundment 
  • Driver’s license revocation

Below are some tables with penalties associated with DUI offenses in Florida. Keep in mind that these penalties can increase depending on prior DUI convictions and your BAC level, among other factors. 

First DUI offense

Fine$500 – $1,000
IncarcerationUp to 6 months
Vehicle impoundmentUp to 10 days
Driver license suspension6 months to 1 year
Ignition interlock deviceNot mandatory

If, at the moment of the offense, your BAC level was 0.15 or higher, or there was a minor in the vehicle, penalties will increase as follows:

  • A fine between $1,000 to $2,000
  • Up to 9 months of jail time
  • Minimum 6 months of using an ignition interlock device

Note: if your DUI resulted in property damage, your charges can increase from second-degree misdemeanor to misdemeanor of the first degree. 

Second DUI 

The penalties associated with a second DUI offense are:

Fine$1,000 – $2,000
IncarcerationUp to 1 year
Vehicle impoundment Up to 30 days
Driver license suspension5 years*
Ignition interlock device 1 year

*This penalty is only applicable if the second DUI occurred within 5 years of the first conviction. 

If your blood alcohol level was 0.15 or there was a minor in the car, you may face the following punishments:

  • A fine between $2,000 to $4,000
  • Up to 1 year of jail time
  • At least 10 days of imprisonment
  • 2 continuous years of using an ignition interlock device

Third DUI conviction

The sentencing for a third DUI offense in Florida depends on whether this crime occurred before or after ten years from your second offense. 

Penalties for third conviction after 10 years

Fine$2000 – $5,000
IncarcerationUp to 1 year
Ignition interlock device Minimum 2 years

You can be required to pay at least $4,000 in fines if a minor was in the vehicle or your blood level was 0.15 or higher. 

On the other hand, a third conviction within 10 years of the second conviction is considered a third-degree felony. In this case, you could face up to 5 years of imprisonment, up to $5,000 in fines, mandatory prison of 30 days, driving license revocation for a minimum of 10 years, and 90 days of vehicle impoundment. 

Fourth DUI and subsequent offenses

In Florida, a fourth DUI offense is classified as a third-degree felony. This can result in:

  • Up to $5,000 in fines. 
  • Up to 5 years of imprisonment. 
  • 5 years minimum of using an ignition interlock device. 
  • Permanent revocation of driver license. 

If you want to explore the potential penalties associated with your DUI charges, you should seek the legal assistance of a DUI lawyer near you. 

Statute of limitations for DUI

The State of Florida has limited time to pursue a DUI offense. This time frame depends on the severity of your charges. In Florida, the statute of limitations for DUI is: 

  • One year for the first DUI offense
  • Two years for the second DUI offense, and DUI with property damage. 
  • Three years for DUI felonies, such as third and fourth offenses. 

What to Do After Being Charged with DUI in Florida? – How an Orlando DUI Lawyer Can Help

When you have been charged with DUI in Florida, your next steps can be crucial to improve your chances of a positive outcome. If you do not have legal representation, it may be in your best interest to hire a DUI attorney in Orlando. 

A lawyer familiar with DUI cases should be able to find an appropriate defense for your situation while ensuring that your rights are respected along the process. Additionally, a good DUI lawyer can make sure that you appeal your license suspension on time. 

In some circumstances, a defense lawyer may be able to challenge the breathalyzer’s process or results. To explore more suitable defenses for your case, get in touch with our Orlando DUI attorney. 

On top of getting legal representation, you should also avoid driving without a license. Additionally, if your case results in probation, you must comply with the conditions set by the judge. Violating any of these conditions can bring new charges to your record. 

Get a Strong DUI Defense: Speak to an Experienced DUI Attorney in Orlando, FL

DUI defense lawyer Zarina Hernandez believes that her clients deserve first-class legal representation. She is devoted to providing clients with a strong defense. Facing an Orlando DUI charge can be stressful. If you were arrested for drunk driving in or near Orlando, you owe it to yourself to find quality legal representation.

Z. Hernandez Law is a criminal defense law firm serving clients in Orange, Osceola, Lake, and Seminole Counties. If you are facing DUI charges in any of these locations, Orlando DUI attorney, Zarina Hernandez, may be able to help. Contact us to schedule an appointment. 

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