ORLANDO DUI ATTORNEYS

FIGHT YOUR DRUNK DRIVING CHARGES

Longwell Lawyers has over 30 years of experience handling all types of criminal traffic charges, including Driving Under the Influence (DUI). The difference between criminal traffic offenses and civil infractions is that a criminal traffic offense is a criminal charge (punishable by probation, jail, or prison). The penalties and collateral consequences for these offenses are severe.  As such, you should hire the best attorney to handle your case. 


Contact us online for free consultation with our experienced Orlando DUI attorneys or by calling (407) 553-9599.


Driving Under the Influence (DUI) 

In Florida, Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a criminal charge, which may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances (serious bodily injury/death) or priors (2 prior convictions or more).  If you are convicted of a DUI, you face severe penalties and consequences. 

However, if you are not convicted of a DUI, no penalties can be imposed.  That is why Longwell Lawyers uses a proven trial strategy to maximize the chance for the best possible outcome.  By contesting and preparing a DUI charge for trial, Longwell Lawyers will obtain and scrutinize all the evidence. Through the effective use of pre-trial discovery and motions, it is possible to get your DUI charge dismissed or reduced without the need for a trial.  If a trial is necessary, Longwell Lawyers will have the case fully prepared and will use its extensive trial experience to give you the best chance of prevailing.

DUI Laws in Florida

Florida Statute §316.193 makes DUI against the law in Florida.  Specifically, it states:

A person is guilty of the offense of driving under the influence if it is proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the person was driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle within this state while under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substance, or any controlled substances, when affected to the extent that the person’s normal faculties were impaired.

If the person had a blood or breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood, impairment is presumed.

Elements of a DUI Charge

To prove the crime of Driving Under the Influence, the State must prove the following two elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The accused drove or was in actual physical control of a vehicle. 
  2. While driving [or in actual physical control of] the vehicle, the accused

was under the influence of alcoholic beverages/a chemical substance/a controlled substance, to the extent that his or her normal faculties were impaired or had a blood/breath-alcohol level of .08 or more.

A jury must also decide, in certain circumstances:

If the accused is found guilty of Driving Under the Influence, the jury must also determine whether the State has proven beyond a reasonable doubt whether the defendant had a blood/breath-alcohol level of .15 or higher while driving or in actual physical control of the vehicle; or, whether the defendant was accompanied in the vehicle by a person under the age of 18 years at the time of the Driving Under the Influence (as these may require enhanced penalties, if convicted). 

  • Vehicle is every device, in, upon or by which any person or property is, or may be, transported or drawn upon a highway, except personal delivery devices, mobile carriers, and devices used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks.
  • Normal faculties include but are not limited to the ability to see, hear, walk, talk, judge distances, drive an automobile, make judgments, act in emergencies and, in general, to normally perform the many mental and physical acts of our daily lives.
  • Impaired means diminished in some material respect. 
  • On a vehicle” pertains to vehicles such as motorcycles and bicycles.
  • Actual physical control of a vehicle means the defendant must be physically in or on the vehicle and have the capability to operate the vehicle, regardless of whether he or she is actually operating the vehicle at the time.
  • Alcoholic beverages are substances of any kind and description which contain alcohol.

At a trial, the jury will be asked to presume impairment, according to the following: 

  1. If you find from the evidence that the defendant had a blood or breath-alcohol level of .05 or less, you shall presume that the defendant was not under the influence.
  2. If you find from the evidence that the defendant had a blood or breath-alcohol level in excess of .05 but less than .08, that fact does not give rise to any presumption that the defendant was or was not under the influence.  In such cases, you may consider that evidence along with other evidence in determining whether the defendant was under the influence of alcoholic beverages to the extent that [his] [her] normal faculties were impaired.
  3. If the jury finds that the defendant drove with an unlawful blood or breath-alcohol level of .08 or above, impairment is presumed. Tyner v. State, 805 So. 2d 862 (Fla. 2d DCA 2001).

Breath Test FAQ: Should I Blow? 

Many people wonder whether they should take a breath test.  Generally, the best thing to do is not to put yourself at the mercy of a breath test machine that is programmed, maintained and operated by the very people seeking to incriminate you.  However, there are consequences to refusing a breath test. 

First, at trial, the jury will be informed of your refusal.  Second, you will face an immediate one-year administrative suspension of your license for your first refusal, and an 18-month administrative suspension for your second (and you may face an additional misdemeanor charge). If you take the breath test and blow under a .08, then that may help your case at trial and will not result in a suspension of your license. 

However, if you blow over a .08, that evidence will be used to create a presumption of guilt against you at trial and will cause your license to get administratively suspended for 6 months (the first time) or a year (the second). Many times, it is possible to get evidence of a breath test suppressed (eliminated) before a trial.  In other words, there is no best answer as to whether you should take a breath test. 

Why You Should Hire an Experienced DUI Attorney in Orlando

Hiring a criminal defense lawyer can be instrumental in reducing the penalties associated with a DUI charge. Our DUI attorney in Orlando has the knowledge of local laws and court rulings that may benefit your case, as well as experience in challenging evidence and negotiating plea agreements. We can also reduce charges by providing an alternate explanation for why you were driving while intoxicated. 

For example, if you are able to convince the court that there is a reason other than intoxication behind your actions, such as an illness or medication side effects, it may result in a reduced penalty or even dismissal of the charge. We can also explore any potential flaws or inconsistencies in breathalyzer results, police reports, and witness testimony to build compelling arguments on your behalf.

Our DUI lawyer in Orlando can ensure that you get the most favorable outcome possible. We can review your case and provide sound legal advice on the best course of action. With professional representation, you may have a chance at reducing or avoiding the harsh penalties.

Understanding the Consequences of a DUI Conviction

Being convicted of a DUI in Florida can have serious and long-lasting consequences. It's important to understand the potential impact on your life and future, including:

  • Driver's license suspension or revocation
  • Significant fines and court costs
  • Possible jail time
  • Mandatory completion of DUI education or treatment programs
  • Increased insurance rates
  • Potential loss of employment or educational opportunities

Our experienced DUI attorneys in Orlando can help you navigate the legal process, protect your rights, and work towards the best possible outcome for your case. Don't face the consequences of a DUI conviction alone - contact Longwell Lawyers for a strong defense.


However, no matter what your choice is, Longwell lawyers will challenge your case to the fullest. Contact us at (407) 553-9599 to get started with an experienced Orlando DUI attorney today.


 

If you are the subject of a criminal investigation for DUI:

  1. Keep in mind that being behind the wheel, even if parked, can get you arrested if the officer thinks you are impaired.  If you must “sleep it off,” get in the backseat.
  2. You do not have to answer questions about whether you were driving or drinking.
  3. You do not have to take Field Sobriety Exercises.
  4. You do not have to take a breath test.
  5. You SHOULD remain SILENT, polite, and courteous. Don’t lie, that just gets you in deeper. Just be QUIET. 

Administrative Driver License Suspensions, Hardship Licenses, and Formal Review Hearings:

If you are arrested for a DUI and a law enforcement officer requests that you submit to a chemical test of your breath, blood, or urine, you are subject to Florida’s Implied Consent Laws, pursuant to §316.1932 Florida Statutes.  What that means is that when you accept a driver’s license, you consent to submit to a chemical test when requested by an officer. 

Failure to do so will cause your license to automatically and immediately be suspended for a period of 1 year for the first refusal and 18 months for a second refusal. Furthermore, a second refusal may result in a misdemeanor criminal charge, pursuant to §316.1939 Florida Statutes.  If you submit to a chemical test and have a result of .08 or greater, your license will be automatically and immediately suspended for 6 months for the first and 1 year for the second. 

Potential Penalties for DUI

Florida DUI laws impose mandatory penalties for a DUI conviction.  Generally, those penalties include a mandatory fine, probation/jail, a driver license suspension, motor vehicle impoundment/immobilization, an Ignition Interlock device, community service, DUI school, along with recommended counseling, and a Victim Awareness Program (VAP).  The specific minimum and maximum penalties depend on priors and aggravating factors.  Please see the chart below a detailed summary of Florida DUI penalties:

Florida DUI Penalties Upon Conviction 

First Offense

  • Fine: $500.00-$1,000.00
    • >.15 or minor: $1,000.00-$2,000.00
  • License suspension: 6 mos-1 year
  • Probation: 1 year
  • Incarceration: 0-6 months
    • >.15 or minor: 0-9 months
  • Impoundment for at least 10 days
  • No Ignition device 
    • >.15 or minor: at least 6 months
  • 50+ hours of Community Service
  • DUI School/Counseling/VAP

Second Offense within 5 Years

  • Fine: $1,000.00-$2,000.00 
    • >.15 or minor: $2,000.00-$4,000.00
  • License suspension: 5 years
  • Probation: 1 year
  • Incarceration: 10 days - 9 months 
    • >.15 or minor: 10 days-1 year
  • Impoundment: at least 30 days 
  • Ignition device: at least 1 year
    • >.15 or minor: at least 2 years 
  • DUI School/Counseling/VAP

2nd Offense Beyond 5 Years

  • Fine: $1,000.00 - $2,000.00 
    • >.15 or minor: $2,000.00-$4,000.00
  • License Suspension: 6 mos-1 year
  • Probation: 1 year
  • Incarceration: 0-9 months 
    • >.15 or minor: 0-12 months
  • Impoundment: at least 10 days
  • Ignition device: at least 1 year
    • >.15 or minor: at least 2 years 
  • DUI School/Counseling/VAP

3rd Conviction within 10 Years (Felony)

  • Fine: $0.00-$5,000.00 
    • >.15 or minor: at least $4,000.00
  • License Suspension: 10 Years
  • Probation: up to 5 years
  • Incarceration: 30 days-5 years
  • Impoundment: 90 days 
  • Ignition device: at least 2 years 
  • DUI School/Counseling/VAP

3rd Conviction beyond 10 years (Misdemeanor)

  • Fine: $2,000.00 - $5,000.00 
    • >.15 or minor: at least $4,000.00
  • License Suspension: 6mos-1 year
  • Probation: up to 1 year
  • Incarceration: 0-1 year
  • Ignition device: at least 2 years 
  • DUI School/Counseling/VAP

4th Conviction (Felony)

  • Fine: $2,000.00 - $5000.00
    • >.15 or minor: at least $4,000.00
  • License Suspension: Permanent
  • Probation: up to 5 years
  • Incarceration: up to 5 years
  • DUI School/Counseling/VAP

DUI with Serious Bodily Injury

Additionally, if the DUI involved serious bodily injury, the court must impose a 51-to-60-month prison sentence (unless there are priors that may score a higher sentence or grounds for a downward departure that may allow for a lower sentence), enter a 3-year driver license suspension, in addition to all of the other typical DUI penalties. 

DUI Manslaughter Penalties 

For a DUI Manslaughter, the court must impose a mandatory minimum 48-month prison sentence as part of a prison sentence of 125 months (absent priors or grounds for a downward departure) up to 180 months.  Also, the court must impose up to a $10,000 fine, a permanent driver license suspension, and all the other typical DUI penalties listed in the summary above.


However, no matter what your choice is, Longwell lawyers will challenge your case to the fullest. Contact us at (407) 553-9599 to get started with an experienced Orlando DUI attorney today.


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