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How serious is a first DUI offense in Florida?

| Sep 30, 2019 | DUI

Drivers in Florida will be sensible to learn about the laws related to driving under the influence of alcohol. It is crucial to understand that even a first time DUI arrest can have severe consequences. However, anyone who is accused of drunk driving is entitled to legal counsel to protect his or her legal rights.

Anyone is free to drink alcohol, but no one is allowed to get behind the wheel of a vehicle with a blood alcohol level that exceeds .08% if he or she is 21 or older. However, for drivers under age 21, the legal limit is .02%. Although drivers have the right to refuse breath and blood tests, the officer can obtain an electronic warrant by which a judge will order the driver to take the test. If the driver is then found intoxicated, the initial refusal can count against him or her in sentencing.

A first offender could face a fine of $500 to $1,000, but if there was a juvenile passenger in the car, that fine could be doubled. In Florida, the judge will determine the severity of the crime based upon matters such as the accused’s BAC level, the injuries or fatalities he or she caused, prior convictions on his or her record, and more. A first time offender might get no more than community service, but a conviction can include license suspension or revocation, fines, jail time, and other serious consequences.

The sensible step for any driver in Florida who faces DUI charges is to secure the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Having legal counsel present from the onset can be an invaluable asset. The lawyer can protect the legal rights of the client throughout all the ensuing legal proceedings and provide advocacy in court if the case goes to trial. A skilled attorney can do whatever is possible to limit unfavorable ramifications that a conviction might have.