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One of the most frequently charged offenses in Florida is driving under the influence, otherwise known as DUI. In 2018 alone there were 32,177 DUI arrests total according to the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) data provided by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). Alachua County specifically had 357 DUI arrests that year as well. These high arrest rates show how serious law enforcment are when it comes to operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Officers utilize certain DUI testing tactics including field sobriety tests or chemical DUI testing such as breath analysis, blood analysis or urinalysis so they can be used in court to convict a person of driving under the infleunce.
These tests can produce skewed results and be enough probable cause for an officer to arrest a person. You do have the right to refuse them, but the officer may arrest you anyway saying your refusal is an indicator of guilt. The charge of driving an automobile with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher can lead to serious life-altering consequences. The statutory penalties for a DUI conviction include expensive fines, community service, DUI classes, possible rehabilitative classes, probation and even possible jail or prison time. Depending on the circumstances, your DUI charge could even be enhanced to a felony-level crime. If you or someone you know has been arrested for DUI, then it's imperative you seek experienced legal representation immediately.
You only have 10 (ten) days after your arrest to file for a formal review hearing of your administrative suspension. We help our clients preserve their right to an administrative hearing. We also help our clients obtain a 42-day permit while we fight to invalidate the administrative suspension. There is no downside to contesting the administrative suspension so act quickly to hire an attorney to help you preserve this important avenue of attacking the allegations.
The penalties and stigma associated with DUI are enough to make a serious impact on your life and future. If you have been charged with driving under the influence, it's critical you have an attorney's assistance to fight your charges. We suggest you go with the skilled and passionate attorneys found at Galigani Law Firm. Our criminal defense attorneys have collectively nearly 30 years of criminal law experience. They have encountered every type of DUI case and are prepared to defend their client's rights no matter how serious the charges are. No challenge is too big for the attorneys at Galigani Law Firm. Get in contact with us today to set up your first consultation free.
The attorneys at Galigani Law Firm can be reached at (352) 375-0812 where you can set up your first consultation absolutely free. With their defense techniques and years of practice, your future will be in the right hands. Don't wait another moment to secure effective and effficent legal reprsentation today. Galigani Law Firm has an office located in Gainesville, but our attorneys practice throughout the greater Alachua County area including Alachua, High Springs, Newberry, Archer and Micanopy.
Florida has strict laws to define what is driving under the influence (DUI). Florida Statutes Annotated § 316.193 states a person can only be charged with DUI if they were in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance or alcohol to the point their mental and physical faculties were impaired. These substances can include street drugs such as heroin or cocaine, but in many cases people are charged with DUI by simply taking their prescribed medications such as Valium or Adderall. This can be quite distressing to explain to law enforcement if they mistake side effects of taking your medication as signs of intoxication.
Under Florida law, your mental and physical faculties include the ability see, hear, talk, walk, balance and the ability to perform the mental and physical acts of daily life. In order to be charged with a DUI offense in Florida, you must have been driving or in actual physical control (APC) of the vehicle at the time the offense occurred. This element is required for all drinking and driving criminal offenses, regardless if the individual has a blood-alcohol level over the legal limit or their normal faculties are impaired. The prosecutor may be required to prove that the individual was sitting in the driver's seat with the car running or with the keys at least in the ignition. If the keys are not in the ignition, then the prosecutor must usually prove that the driver has immediate and easy access to the keys because the keys were in easy reach or on the driver's person.
Being in actual physical control doesn't mean you are necessarily driving the car. So that means you could be arrested for DUI even if you weren't operating the automobile at all. There are many cases of people being convicted of DUI who were intoxicated and simply resting their head on the steering wheel with the keys near or in the ignition. The prosecutor will normally argue that the defendant had the ability and possible intent to drive under the influence and therefore should be convicted.
What you may not know is that by simply driving on Florida's public roads you are implicity agreeing to submit to chemical DUI tests administered by law enforcement. These are known as implied consent laws and they only apply to breath analysis, blood draws or urine testing in regards to driving under the influence. However, this doesn't mean you don't have the right to refuse DUI chemical testing. You can choose to refuse chemical testing and many defense attorneys would urge you to do so if you've been asked to undergo DUI testing by an officer. This is because the prosecution will have no concrete scientific evidence of your intoxication to present to the jury, meaning the case will be much easier to defend. The district attorney may only be able to rely on subjective evidence such as officer eye-witness testimony.
Refusing a chemical DUI test does come with some consequences. When you refuse chemical testing it means you will likely face administrative consequences, which differ from the penalties listed in the Florida statutes. Instead of jail or prison time your license will be automatically suspended as a result of the refusal. A first-time refusal will result in a year-long administrative suspension and a second refusal would lead to an 18-month suspension. Although a license suspension is frustrating to say the least, it's much easier to deal with than a license suspension than the penalties associated with DUI.
In addition, Florida has something known as the "10-day rule" where you have ten days after your refusal to request an administrative license reveiw hearing for your suspension at the Department of Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). At the hearing you can bring legal representation and contest reasons as to why you should retain your driver's license. You may be granted a hardship license which is a restricted license where you can only drive for certain specific activites such as essential household chores, commuting to work and taking children to and from school.
It's not just the statutory penalties that are harrowing for a defendant, but the costs associated with DUI can be astounding. Starting with the arrest and booking process many learn it's not just overwhelming, but also incredibly exepensive. If arrested for DUI, you will be required to face losses associated with the arrest such as the following:
Upon release, you will be forced to face the costs linked to your administrative license suspension. You will have ten days to request a hearing to revise the suspension or obtain an hardship license. If you're successful with your hearing, then you will likely be granted a restricted liscence that will limit your driving to only necessary trips such as commuting to work.
The following are the costs associated with fighting your license suspension:
In many DUI cases, the defendant is court ordered to attend DUI classes. The courses focus on detering defendants from drinking and driving by showing the long and short term effects taking substances or drinking alcohol can have. However, you will be required to pay for the class yourself. These costs include:
If you're granted probation for DUI, then you will have other hidden costs and fees you will have to pay. Some expenses you may be required to pay include:
The last and likely highest cost associated with DUI involves your insurance. Many motor vehicle insurance companeis require DUI offenders to file a FR-22 after conviction. This is similar to a SR-22 and is required after specific criminal convictions but has much higher liability limits unfortunately.
If your license was revoked, then you must file this form to have it reinstated. It will change you from a standard driver on insurance forms to a "high risk" driver. This means your premiums could skyrocket as a result.
The Florida FR-44 form follows the 100/30/50 liability limits. These limits include:
You will have to pay even more fees to reinstate your license other than simply filing a FR-22. You'll likely be required to pay the following.
According to Florida Statutes § 316.193, an individual can be charged with any of the following DUI offenses, including, but not limited to:
Florida law defines the term "normal faculties" to mean control of the types of things a person does on a daily basis with little or no thought, including seeing, hearing, walking, talking, judging distances, making judgments, and controlling their movements.
A first offense DUI conviction can result in:
A second DUI offense can result in:
A third DUI offense can result in:
These punishments can vary depending on the number of prior DUI convictions an individual may have, whether the DUI offense involved death or serious bodily injury to another person, whether the DUI offense involved damage to another person’s property and the level of the individual’s BAC at the time of their arrest.
There are many defenses your experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to use in your particular situation to have your charges reduced or even dismissed. However, these defenses are not applicable in every situation, and it is important to consult with an attorney who will help you determine your best course of action.
Actual Physical Control – Your lawyer may be able to assert you were not in actual physical control of the vehicle at the time you were arrested and charged with driving under the influence. The prosecution has to be able to prove you had APC of the vehicle, but if you were not actually driving the car or an accident occurred, this element to a DUI offense may be more difficult to prove.
Chemical Testing – Your lawyer may be to show your blood, breath or urine test were faulty, and do not accurately show your BAC at the time you were charged with the DUI offense. For example, the test may be inconclusive, the test may have been mishandled or tainted, the person who administered the test was not legally permitted to do so, or the test did not show the alleged offender was under the substance at the time of arrest.
Procedural or Constitutional Violations - Other defenses to drinking and driving offenses in Florida can include constitutional violations, such as the arresting officer did not have probable cause to stop your car, the arresting officer did not give you Miranda Warnings or the officer did not warn you of the consequences to refusing chemical tests.
Florida Statutes Online – This link is to section 316.193 of the Florida Statutes, which defines driving under the influence in Florida and the potential penalties for a conviction. The Florida Statutes contains all of the laws of Florida; Title 23 pertains to all of the state’s motor vehicle laws.
Alachua County DMV Guide – This Florida government website provides access to the state’s DUI laws, resources about Florida’s driver’s licenses and commercial driver’s licenses, information on how to register a vehicle in the state and a means to access an individual’s driving record in Florida.
Alachua County Clerk of the Court – The Clerk of the Court’s website provides access to online court records in Alachua County, resources about the community and court information, and miscellaneous information about Alachua County’s judicial system. The Alachua County Criminal Justice Center is located at:220 S Main St
Florida Highway Patrol – The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) regulates, controls, directs and patrols traffic on the state’s highways. This website provides information on traffic safety, access to crash reports, and miscellaneous links to traffic-related resources. A local FHP station is located at:Florida Highway Patrol
Mothers Against Drunk Driving – This national nonprofit organization aims to prevent individuals from drinking and driving, stop drunk driving, prevent accidents that can result from driving under the influence, and provides support to individuals who are victims of an alcohol-related accident.
Contact the Galigani Law Firm today for a consultation about your drinking and driving offense throughout Alachua County in Florida. Dean Galigani is a knowledgeable Gainesville criminal defense attorney who will make every effort to help you achieve the most desirable outcome in your situation. For college students, this means representation in Florida college student disciplinary hearings related to DUI and underage 21 DUI offenses.
Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Gainesville, FL, at the Galigani Law Firm. Call (352) 375-0812 for a consultation about your alleged DUI defense throughout the counties in Florida, including Marion County, Levy County, Columbia County and Gilchrist County.
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"Dean Galigani was supportive when my son was arrested for underage possession of alcohol..." - David