Tampa DUI Lawyer
Anyone can be arrested for DUI, whether or not they intended to break the law. There are certain mandatory penalties for a DUI conviction in Florida, some of which can have life-long consequences. For instance, there is a mandatory adjudication of guilt (misdemeanor conviction), probation, fines and driver’s license suspension, just to name a few. If you have one or more prior DUI convictions, a jail sentence may be required. A DUI conviction can be costly in many ways, including increased insurance premiums.
You can defend against DUI charges. In fact, DUI cases can be some of the most complex cases litigated in Florida courts. There are many potential legal and factual issues in most DUI cases. This is true even if your breath test result was over the legal limit. Donald C. Barrett is an experienced Tampa DUI lawyer, and he can review your case and better explain your particular options. Whether it’s entry into a diversion program, filing pretrial motions or taking your case to trial, Donald C. Barrett has successfully defended numerous DUI clients. Call Donald C. Barrett, P.A. at 813-280-1201 for a free consultation.
Florida DUI Laws & Facts
In Florida, you can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) if you were driving, or in actual physical control, of a motor vehicle with a breath or blood alcohol level of .08 or higher. You can also be charged with DUI, in the absence of any breath or blood alcohol level, if it can be proven that you were under the influence to the extent that your normal faculties were impaired. Normal faculties include such things as your ability to see, hear, walk, talk, operate a motor vehicle, act in emergencies, etc. If your breath or blood alcohol level was .08 or higher, there is a rebuttable presumption that you were impaired.
Under Florida law, by accepting a driver’s license, you have given your “implied consent” to submit to a test of your blood alcohol level when requested by the police. This is most commonly accomplished through a chemical breath test, such as the Breathalyzer. You have the option to refuse to provide a breath sample; however, a refusal has certain consequences. For instance, your refusal can be used against you in court (to argue “consciousness of guilt”), and your administrative license suspension will be longer. Additionally, if you refuse to submit to a breath test, and your driving privilege has been previously suspended for refusing to submit to a breath test, you can be charged with a separate misdemeanor.
Penalties for DUI increase if there is an enhanced blood alcohol level, a minor in the vehicle, personal injury or property damage, prior DUI convictions, etc. The penalties increase substantially if a DUI causes serious bodily injury or death – these are felony charges that often subject the offender to a prison sentence.
Administrative Driver’s License Suspension for DUI Arrests
Following an arrest for DUI, your driving privilege will be suspended by the Department of Motor Vehicles. This administrative suspension is separate and apart from any suspension that may result from your criminal (DUI) charge. The length of the administrative suspension will vary based upon several factors, such as whether you provided a breath sample or refused, and whether your driving privilege has been suspended previously.
An administrative driver’s license suspension can be challenged at a formal review hearing. Such a challenge can also be waived. The election – whether to challenge the suspension or waive the challenge – needs to be made within ten (10) days of the DUI charge/arrest. Under either scenario, the driver may be eligible to receive a temporary driving permit that allows driving for “business purposes only.”
How Tampa DUI Defense Lawyer Donald C. Barrett can Help
There may be numerous defenses to your DUI charge. For instance, the police may not have had a lawful basis to stop your vehicle. They may not have had sufficient cause to detain you for a DUI investigation, or they may not have had probable cause to arrest you. There may be issues with the manner in which field sobriety exercises were conducted. The police may have questioned you without advising you of your Miranda rights. There may be issues with the equipment used to test your breath (or blood) – whether it was maintained and inspected properly, or whether it was used properly in your case. There may be other evidence in your favor that tends to show you were not operating a vehicle while under the influence to the extent you were impaired.
Donald C. Barrett can review your case to determine the strengths and weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. He may seek a dismissal or reduction of the charges, negotiate a favorable resolution or defend you at trial. Donald C. Barrett has successfully defended many clients charged with DUI, including Not Guilty verdicts, having inadmissible evidence suppressed and getting charges reduced or dismissed.
Competent, Professional Legal Help is Available after a Tampa DUI Arrest
If you have been arrested for DUI in Hillsborough County or the Tampa Bay area, contact Donald C. Barrett, P.A. for a free, confidential consultation with an experienced Tampa DUI defense lawyer.