Florida DUI Facts and Information:
DUI Facts and Information:
The discussion presented on this page is informational only, and does not constitute legal advice. Only a qualified attorney can advise you on the law, and this page is not intended to replace the advice of an attorney. Laws vary from state to state, this general information may not apply in every state.
I. Criminally Charged: DUI is a criminal offense and not simply a traffic ticket. Criminal charges will stay on your record for life, unlike traffic tickets which may drop off your record after several years. Therefore you should seek immediate representation by a qualified DUI defense lawyer.
II. Definition of DUI, DWI, or Drunk Driving In most states DUI, DWI, or Drunk Driving is defined as follows:
- Operating or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle, and
- Having consumed alcohol or controlled substances, and
- Your normal faculties are impaired, or
- Your blood alcohol level is above .08
Note ? laws will vary from state to state and the above definition may not apply in every state. Operating or in actual physical control normally means either driving the vehicle or being behind the wheel with the keys to an operable vehicle, whether of not the motor is running. Normal faculties are your ability to walk, talk, and perform daily activities of life.
III. Implied Consent Many states have implied consent laws which require drivers to submit to sobriety tests. Implied consent laws normally dictate that by driving on the roads within that state, you are consenting to a blood, breath, or urine test to determine alcohol content or the presence of controlled substances. Refusal of such tests usually results in a suspension of your license for up to eighteen months or longer, and in some states a refusal is itself a separate criminal offense.
IV. Administrative Suspension If you refuse a blood, breath, or urine test upon request by law enforcement, your license may be suspended under the implied consent law. In many states you may request a formal or informal hearing before the DMV (division of motor vehicles) to contest the suspension. Failure to act in a timely manner may result in loss of your right to this hearing, and loss of your license. Many states require that you request an administrative review hearing within ten days, therefore it is essential that you contact a DUI Defense Lawyer quickly.
V. Court Proceedings You will have to appear in court to answer to the charges of DUI, DWI, or Drunk Driving. Normally your first appearance is at the time of your arrest, and is called an advisory hearing. You may have bonded out prior to your advisory hearing. The second court appearance is normally called an arraignment, where you must enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. Following the arraignment there may be several pretrial hearings, or dispositional hearings, and finally a trial date. You should have a competent DUI Defense Lawyer with you for each of these court dates.
VI. Evidence in a DUI, DWI, or Drunk Driving Case The evidence in a DUI, DWI, or Drunk Driving Case consists of more than the DUI traffic citation you may have been given. There is normally a lengthy narrative written by law enforcement, a video tape of field sobriety tests, breath test results, certification of the breath testing equipment, supplemental reports by other officers at the scene, accident reports, and other documentation. This evidence should be obtained and reviewed by a competent DUI, DWI, or Drunk Driving defense lawyer for possible weaknesses in the state?s case against you, and possible defenses you could raise. A defense lawyer will file a demand for discovery to obtain copies of the evidence from the state attorneys office and review the evidence prior to your court dates.
VII. Business License and Hardship license The charge of DUI, DWI, or Drunk Driving will normally result in suspension of your drivers license. Some states allow you to obtain a restricted license for business purposes, or to drive for necessary purposes such as to the grocery store. There is normally an application process which may require that you show proof of completing a DUI driving school, or other requirements.
VIII. Driving without a license In most states driving on a suspended or revoked license (DWLSR) is a criminal offense, and will result in your being arrested. Anyone charged with DUI, DWI, or Drunk Driving should NOT drive unless you have obtained a business license, hardship license, or other permit. Some states may not offer a business or hardship license, and some states only allow such a permit on a first offense. Someone charged for the second time may not be able to obtain a permit. The offense of driving on a suspended or revoked license is not a traffic citation, rather it is a criminal charge which can carry substantial penalties.
IX. Options to Resolve a DUI, DWI, or Drunk Driving Charge.
You have the option of pleading guilty or no contest to the charge, or maintaining your innocence and proceeding to trial. At trial, the State Attorney has the burden of proving the elements of the charge. If you choose to plead guilty or no contest, you should retain an attorney to negotiate the best possible sentence for you.
Sometimes it may be possible to have the charges reduced to reckless driving depending upon the laws in your state. The decision to reduce charges is normally up the State Attorney (prosecutor) and will require that your attorney present valid reasons why the charge should be reduced.
If you choose to take the case to trial, you should retain a qualified DUI Defense Lawyer to prepare your defense and present your case.
For more information or a free consultation on your legal issue contact The Law Offices of Charles D. Scott PLLC, your injury law and DUI law attorneys, at 727-300-4878. http://www.yourstpetelawyers.com