According to a report from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, there were 33,873 total DUI arrests in Florida in 2019. Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a serious offense that is often punished severely. With lots of false assumptions, inaccurate information, and myths surrounding DUI charges, a defendant could easily end up in a worst-case scenario without proper guidance or experienced representation.
Our team at The Law Offices of Hoskins and Penton, P.A. has the experience and resources to guide and represent clients in their DUI cases. As skilled Florida DUI defense attorneys, we can evaluate and investigate all of the facts of your case and determine your best defenses for a favorable outcome. Our team will fight vigorously to protect your legal rights, driving privileges, and ensure that you receive fair treatment in every phase of the legal proceedings. We proudly represent clients across Clearwater, New Port Richey, Tampa, and St. Petersburg, Florida.
DUI Charges in Florida
Under Florida law, a motorist may face DUI charges for driving or being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle:
While considered "under the influence"
With a blood alcohol concentration level of 0.08% or greater
A person is considered to be "under the influence" if they are deprived of their full possession of normal faculties. If you're convicted of a drunk driving charge in Florida, you may face possible imprisonment, massive fines, probation, suspension of your license, and other social ramifications.
Common Myths & Facts About DUI Charges
There are several common notions surrounding DUI cases. Unfortunately, a lot of individuals are wrongly informed about these facts, and this often results in severe consequences. Knowing what to expect and being able to differentiate fact from fiction can make your drunk driving case more manageable. Here are some common myths about DUIs in Florida and what makes them false:
Misconception #1: A DUI Charge Isn't Worth Fighting
Fighting your Florida DUI charge is always worth it. A first drunk driving conviction in Florida may result in jail time of up to six months, between $500 and $1,000 in fines, and other social consequences. The severe nature of these penalties makes it worthwhile to fight your drunk driving allegations.
Misconception #2: The Charge is So Common It Isn't Serious
A DUI charge is severe and may result in harsh punishment if you are convicted. In addition to imprisonment, substantial fines, and license suspensions, there are other significant, life-long consequences of a DUI conviction. These include driver's license revocation, high auto insurance premiums, as well as difficulties in securing housing, education, employment, and public benefits.
Misconception #3: You Have to Be
Actually Driving to Be Arrested for a DUI
In Florida, a person can be arrested and charged with a DUI even though they weren't driving the car when the police stopped them. This means that you don't have to be inside the car in order to be found guilty of drunk driving.
Misconception #4: You Must Submit to a Field Sobriety Test
On suspicion of drunk driving, a police officer may pull you over and request that you submit to a field sobriety test. There is no Florida law that states that a person must submit to a field sobriety test. Likewise, there is NO legal punishment for refusal. While you may want to cooperate with the police after being pulled over, you should politely refuse to take a field sobriety test.
Misconception #5: When Arrested for a DUI,
You Don't Have to Submit to Urine/Blood Tests
Unlike field sobriety tests, drivers are required to submit to chemical tests. Due to the implied consent under Florida law, motorists must submit to a chemical test (urine or blood tests) if the police or law enforcement officer has a reasonable cause to suspect that the driver is under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or another controlled substance.
Misconception #6: A DUI Will Fall
Off of Your Record in 7 Years
This is another common misconception. A Florida DUI conviction will stay on your criminal history forever and cannot be expunged. A drunk driving conviction in Florida will also stay on your Florida driver's license for 75 years.
Get Help From an Experienced
DUI Defense Attorney
Fighting your DUI charges can help you avoid severe punishment and other devastating, life-altering consequences. Defending yourself against drunk driving allegations without experienced representation could easily increase your risks of receiving the maximum penalties. When facing DUI charges, hiring an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney is imperative to protect your driving privileges and help you build your defense.
At The Law Offices of Hoskins and Penton, P.A., our team is committed to handling DUI cases and helping clients fight their drunk driving charges. As your legal counsel, we can investigate all of the surrounding details of your case, strategize an effective defense, and dispute the accusations against you. We will fight to protect your legal rights, your driving privileges, and help you navigate the Florida criminal justice system.
Facing DUI charges can be a scary experience. Contact us at The Law Offices of Hoskins and Penton, P.A. today to schedule a case assessment with an experienced DUI defense attorney. Our team can offer you the comprehensive legal guidance and aggressive representation you need in your case. We're proud to serve clients across Clearwater, New Port Richey, Tampa, and St. Petersburg, Florida.