Driving Under The Influence

Legal Defense in Tampa: DUI/DWI Information:

Do Not Delay

Did you know that as of July 1st, 1995 the law requires DMV to suspend a drivers license for 6 months if the breath test is .08 or higher and 1 year if you refuse?
You only have 10 calendar days to contest this initial suspension through a formal review request.

Note: Your DUI ticket is only a temporary permit for 10 days.

If you request a Formal Review and win, then you will get your Drivers License reinstated.
If you lose or do not request a Formal Review, then a 30 day or 90 day suspension will result before you may be eligible to receive a business permit.
If you do nothing in regards to contesting a Formal Review, DMV will automatically suspend your privileges to drive even if you had a legal defense to the suspension.

DUI Defenses

Being arrested for driving under the influence does not necessarily result in a DUI conviction. There are many different avenues that our attorneys explore to ensure that all viable challenges to your DUI charge are exercised.

We will review your case to ensure:

You were legally stopped and legally detained.
There was sufficient probable cause to effectuate your arrest.
The law enforcement officer saw you operating your vehicle at the time of said incident.
You were read an implied consent.
You were not coerced to take a breathalyzer test or were misinformed of the consequences.
You did not belch, burp, or regurgitate and were watched for twenty minutes prior to the administration of the breathalyzer.
You do not suffer from diabetes.
You do not wear dentures or have any piercing in your mouth.

The Breath Test

The results can be suppressed based on many factors such as:
Improper maintenance, calibration, or lack of proper certification of the machine.
The lack of proper training and licensing of the operator.
Radio Frequency Interference to the machine via police radio signals.
Inadequate readings can be caused by such things as:
The failure of police to observe you 20 minutes prior to blowing into the machine.
Hiccups, burping, or belching prior to taking the test can cause false “high” readings.
The wearing of dentures, bridges or gaps between the teeth can cause artificial “high” readings. –>>Go to Next Page for ‘Field Sobriety Tests’ and more –>>

Drunk Driving Defense Attorney, Tampa bay Legal Defense in Tampa: DUI/DWI Information:

Field Sobriety Tests

The police in 95% of the cases use Field Sobriety Tests as the primary indicator of impairment to determine whether or not a person will be arrested for DUI. However, there are a number of factors that can lead to a mistaken interpretation of your impairment, such as:

Being nervous, scared, tired or distracted during testing.
Physical disabilities which prohibit one from performing the tests to the satisfaction of the arresting officer.
One’s own natural lack of coordination and balance in everyday activities.
The environment in which the tests were conducted:
Were the tests performed on a flat level surface?
How close to the roadway and traffic were you?
What was the lighting condition or lack there of?
Were the Field Sobriety Tests merely told to you or demonstrated correctly?

The Police Encounter

Did the officer have a valid reason to stop your vehicle?
Were your Miranda warnings read to you prior to any questioning?
Were any statements made by you misinterpreted or misunderstood by the police?
Is your recollection of what happened consistent with the officers version and those of any passengers or witnesses?

Effect on Drivers License

Administrative Suspensions

The Department of Highway and Safety Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) will instantaneously suspend your drivers license once your are lawfully arrested for DUI and either blow over the legal limit (.08) or refuse to provide a blood, breath or urine test upon request by a law enforcement officer. The ONLY way to avoid this suspension is to request a review of the suspension within 10 days from the date of your arrest. If you do nothing, your license will be suspended as follows:

1st Refusal: One Year Suspension
2nd Refusal: Eighteen Month Suspension
1st Blow Over the Legal Limit: Six Month Suspension
2nd Blow Over the Legal Limit: One Year Suspension

You can challenge this suspension by requesting a formal review hearing within 10 days of your arrest. During this 10 day period your DUI ticket is a driving permit if it is marked yes in the “eligible for permit” box of the ticket. If you do not make the formal hearing request within the 10 day time frame, then you waive your right to challenge your suspension and a “hard suspension” of your license will begin. If the formal review is requested, the DMV will send a temporary driving permit out to our office that allows you to drive in limited circumstances until seven days after the hearing is heard and final order rendered.

DMV Hearings

At the formal review hearing, a hearing officer at the DMV will decide if the police have provided them with enough information to suspend your license. If they decide in your favor then your suspension will be taken off of your record and there will be no more hardship driving. However, if the hearing officer does not find in your favor, then you will begin a “hard suspension” effective when the temporary driving permit expires. The “hard suspension” is either for a 30-day, 90-day or 18-month period of time i.e., this is the time where DMV will not allow one to drive under any circumstance.

DMV Penalties

After your DMV Hearing, your license suspension will either be invalidated or it will be sustained, depending on the facts and circumstances of your DMV Hearing. If your license suspension is invalidated, then you will be eligible to have your license reissued upon receiving the hearing officers ruling. If your license was suspended because you blew over a .08 and the suspension is sustained, then you will have 30 days of no driving, after which you may apply for a hardship permit. If your license was suspended because you refused to take a Breathalyzer, and the license suspension is sustained, then you will have 90 days of no driving, after which you may apply for a hardship permit.

Court Suspensions

In addition to the suspension that you will receive from the DHSMV, if convicted of a DUI, you also will have your license suspended. Depending on if it is your first, second, third, or subsequent conviction, you may be eligible to receive a hardship drivers license during the course of the suspension.

Drunk Driving Defense Attorney, Tampa bay Legal Defense in Tampa: DUI/DWI Convictions:

If you were convicted of your first DUI you must:

- Apply for a hardship license
- Have a traffic search from your resident county court when you sit for a hardship license
- You must have COMPLETED DUI school

If this was your second DUI conviction within 5 years you must:
- Apply for a hardship license
- Have a traffic search from your resident county court
- You must serve one year of the revocation
- You must have COMPLETED DUI school and enrolled in DUI Special Supervision Services Program
- You must not have consumed any alcohol or drugs, or driven a motor vehicle, for one year prior to the reinstatement

If this was your third conviction within 10 years you must:
- Apply for a hardship license
- Have a traffic search from your resident county court
- You must serve two years of the revocation
- You must have not consumed any alcohol or drugs, or driven a motor vehicle, for a period of one year prior to reinstatement
- You must have COMPLETED DUI school and enrolled in DUI Special Supervision Services Program

If you were convicted of a DUI Manslaughter then you must:

- Apply for a hardship
- Have a traffic search from your resident county court
- Have a traffic crash report
- You must not have any prior DUI convictions
- You must serve the first five years of the revocation. If you were incarcerated for any time, the five years begins upon the release of incarceration.
- You must have COMPLETED DUI school and enrolled in a DUI Special Supervision Services Program.
- You must have no arrests for drug-related offenses during the five years prior to filing an application for reinstatement
- You must not have driven a motor vehicle without a license for at least five years prior to the hearing.
- You must not consume alcohol or drugs for at least five years prior to the hearing

Florida Statutory Penalities
Did you know that Florida law requires anyone convicted of a DUI to face certain mandatory sentences such as:
1. A six month driver license suspension;
2. DUI School and an alcohol evaluation;
3. 50 hours of community service;
4. A $500.00 fine plus court costs;
5. A ten day vehicle immobilization;
6. A six month to 1 year probationary period;
7. A possible six month to two year vehicle ignition interlock device; and a potential jail sentence up to six months.

If you have already been convicted of a prior DUI, the penalties that you may face will be greater and may include:

2nd DUI Conviction within 5 years of a prior conviction

- Minimum of $500 of fines for a BAL under .20, or a minimum of $1,000 of fines for a BAL over .20
- Mandatory imprisonment of 10 days, with a maximum imprisonment of 9 months if your BAL was under .20 or 12 months if your BAL was higher than .20
- Impoundment or immobilization of your vehicle 30 days
- A minimum of a 5 year license revocation, with hardship reinstatement eligibility after one year

2nd DUI Conviction, 5 years after your prior conviction

Minimum of $500 of fines for a BAL under .20, or a minimum of $1,000 of fines for a BAL over .20
- Maximum imprisonment of 9 months if your BAL was under .20 or 12 months if your BAL was higher than .20
- Impoundment or immobilization of your vehicle
- Minimum drivers license revocation of 180 days

3rd DUI Conviction within 10 years

- Maximum of $5,000 of fines, and if your BAL is higher than .20 a minimum of $2000
- Mandatory imprisonment of 30 days
- Impoundment or immobilization of your vehicle for 90 days
- Minimum of 10 years drivers license revocation, with hardship eligibility after 2 years

3rd DUI conviction, 10 years after your prior conviction

- Minimum of $1,000 of fines with a BAL under .20 and a minimum of $2,000 if your BAL is over .20
Maximum imprisonment of 12 months
- Impoundment or immobilization of your vehicle
- Minimum of 5 years driver’s license revocation, with hardship eligibility after 1 year

What conditions are required for my release from jail?

You have to no longer be under the influence, your normal faculties can no longer be impaired, your blood/breath alcohol level must be lower than 0.05, or eight hours must have elapsed from the time that the person has been arrested.

What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

The Ignition Interlock Device is an in-car breath-screening test that is required of persons who are convicted of a DUI. The purpose of an ignition interlock device is to prevent a person who has been convicted of a DUI from driving under the influence. Once the interlock device is installed, in order to start your vehicle you must pass a breath-alcohol test by blowing 1.5 liters of breath in the mouthpiece. The vehicle will not start if the device detects an alcohol content above a .05 %. Once you give a breath sample, the BAC content of that sample will be stored in the data log and can be printed out later by law enforcement personnel and used as evidence of a violation of probation. In addition to having to blow into the device to get your vehicle started, the device also requires “rolling tests” of the driver. The device will signal to the driver that he must blow into the mouth piece again after the car has already been driven for a while. The purpose of this feature is to ensure that the driver has not had another person blow into the mouthpiece to get the vehicle started, permitting you to have consumed alcohol while driving your motor vehicle. If you fail to give a breath sample during the rolling test, the failure will be recorded in the internal data log and can activate an alarm system such as flashing your headlights, until the vehicle is turned off.

How do I know if I need one?

Florida Statute 316.193 states that upon conviction for a DUI, the court shall in certain circumstances order a person to have an Ignition Interlock Device installed in their vehicle prior to their permanent or restricted drivers license restatement. A Ignition Interlock Device will be required if:

- On your first DUI conviction you had a BAC of .20 or greater.
- On your first DUI conviction you had a person under the age of eighteen in your vehicle at the time of conviction.
- You have already received a prior DUI conviction.
- The court deems that under any other circumstances your DUI conviction requires it.

Where do I get the Ignition Interlock Device installed?
You can schedule an appointment at either of the following locations by calling Customer Service at(407) 207-3337. You should allow a couple of hours for the installation process to occur.

How much does an Ignition Interlock Device cost?

You are responsible for paying the costs of an ignition interlock device. The installation and removal of the device costs $70.00. If your vehicle is a high performance vehicle, a luxury vehicle, or a large truck, then the installation/removal price could be an additional $50.00. In addition, monthly monitoring and calibration fees are $67.50. If you cannot afford a devise the court, in some circumstances, can order your other fines associated with your DUI conviction to be allocated to defray the costs of the installation.

Where in my vehicle is the Ignition Interlock Device installed?

The Ignition Interlock Device is typically mounted underneath the dashboard inside the passenger compartment near the driver’s seat.

How long will my ignition interlock device be installed for?

All interlock devices are ordered at the time that you qualify for a permanent or restricted license.
- If this is your 1st DUI conviction then the devise will be installed for up to 6 months.
- If this is your 2nd DUI conviction then the devise will be installed for at least one year.
- If this is your 2nd DUI conviction and you were convicted with a BAC of .20% or higher or with a passenger under the age of 18 in your vehicle, then the devise will be installed for at least two years.
- If this is your 3rd DUI conviction within ten years of any prior convictions then the devise will be installed for a period of not less than two years.
- If this is your 3rd DUI conviction outside of ten years of any prior conviction then the devise will be installed for a period of not less than two years.

If I have an Ignition Interlock Device installed in my vehicle can I drive another vehicle that does not have the devise?

If your vehicle has an Ignition Interlock Device and you drive another vehicle, that is a criminal offense that can result in an immediate arrest and possible impoundment of your vehicle. When you are given your restricted license your license will reflect a “P” restriction and signify to any office that you should not be driving a vehicle without an interlock ignition devise. A conviction for this offense could include fines, probation, incarceration in county jail, or revocation of your driving privilege.

Can I have another person blow into the breath mouthpiece to start my vehicle?

No, it is a violation of the law to have another person blow into it for the purpose of starting the vehicle.

What if my job requires me to drive for a living?

In limited situations persons convicted of a DUI may be able to drive a company vehicle without installing the interlock devise on the company vehicle. In order for the court to grant this request, the employer must be notified of the DUI conviction and sign an affidavit attesting to the notification. Additionally, the business entity that owns the vehicle must not be the same person whose driving privileges have been restricted.

DUI School

DUI School programs are private and professional non-profit organizations that are required to provide education, a psychosocial evaluation and treatment referral services to persons convicted of a DUI in order to satisfy judicial and driver licensing requirements. There are two separate programs available depending on the number of DUI convictions that you have had. If your license is reinstated after the revocation period expires, failure to complete DUI school within 90 days after reinstatement will result in license cancellation. Additionally, students must appear free of alcohol or other drugs for registration, class, and evaluation sessions.

Level I is for first-time offenders. The Level I course is to be a minimum of 12 hours of classroom instruction and incorporates didactic and interactive educational techniques.

Level II is for multiple offenders The Level II course is a minimum of 21 hours of classroom time using primarily interactive educational techniques in a group setting. This course focuses on the problems of the repeat offender and treatment readiness as the majority of students are referred to treatment.

What will I need to register?

To register for DUI school you will need your DUI ticket, arrest affidavit and Breath Alcohol Content print out, drivers license number, social security number, the lifetime

How much does DUI school cost?

-Level I school costs approximately $215.00 – $230.00.
- Level II school costs approximately $330.00-$360.00.
(These prices include the cost of a letter of completion)

What DUI schools should I attend?
You should attend DUI school in the county that you reside in.