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Should I get an attorney for a DUI?

Updated: Nov 27, 2023

What a night! You are the life of the party, having a fantastic night out with your friends. You aren’t sure how you’ll make it home, but you don’t care because that has never been an issue for you in the past! Unlock the car, start the ignition, gently press your foot on the gas, and now you’re moving. You remind yourself to stay in your lane and not to lose focus, but that becomes increasingly more challenging as the drive proceeds.

DUI

Just when you thought you were in the clear, you saw those flashing red and blue lights in your rear-view mirror. Fast forward a little bit and here you are facing a DUI charge in Florida! What should your next step be? Should you reach out to the Demesmin and Dover law firm and hire a DUI attorney? Should you represent yourself? Let’s take a deeper look into your options, that way if you ever do find yourself in this situation, you’ll be aware of the actions you should take.


What does Florida law state regarding DUIs?

Before we talk about whether to hire an attorney for your DUI case, let’s get a better grasp of Florida’s DUI laws. According to the law resources on FindLaw, “Florida statutes prohibit anyone from driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle when they are under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance, or another chemical substance that causes impairment to their normal faculties”. This means that it’s more than just drinking and driving that can get you into trouble with the law on the road these days. The way the law is written, this also means that in Florida you don’t have to be driving the vehicle to be subject to a DUI charge. If you are in, or near, your car with the keys then law enforcement can decide to charge you with DUI if they determine that you could easily drive.


To be considered legally under the influence, you must meet the statutory requirements of being impaired. Anyone with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 grams per 100 mL of blood, or a breath-alcohol level of 0.08 grams per 210 L of breath is considered under the influence by law. This means that even if you may seem perfectly sober, you can still be charged with DUI by law enforcement. According to Forbes Advisor, “A person in Florida is under the influence of alcohol or any chemical substance set forth under Florida law ‘when affected to the extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired.’ This relatively subjective standard allows Florida to charge drivers who seem impaired even if they aren’t approaching the levels described above”. Although, if you are charged with DUI in Florida, the law requires the prosecutor to have some proof of drug or alcohol use.


What are the best options after being pulled over for a DUI?

Now that we understand how we’ve been charged with DUI, we can begin to get a grasp on the steps we can take to make sure we spend as little money as possible, as well as receive the lowest sentencing possible.


When dealing with a DUI, if you are curious as to whether you need to seek an attorney to handle the case, you must understand the nature of the offense. Some situations may require you to have an attorney who will do their best to fight for you, while in other situations you might save money just by going with a public defender. If it’s only your first offense, then usually prosecutors offer a standard plea deal. This plea deal is offered if “the offense didn't involve any aggravating factors such as accidents, injuries, or a particularly high blood alcohol concentration”. In most cases, this standard offer is the same regardless of who you have defending you, so in those cases, you can get by without hiring an attorney.


Why should I get an experienced DUI attorney involved?

However, there is still an advantage to having an attorney defending you in these first-offense situations because the standard offer can be cut down by an experienced attorney. It’s always advised to at least consult with a DUI lawyer before accepting a plea deal, so if you need a free consultation look no further than Demesmin and Dover law firm to help with your case!


When you hire a DUI lawyer to represent you in court, they can assist in managing much of the process for you. Your options will immediately be brought to your attention, and you’ll know that you have someone fighting to get you the best plea deal possible. You’ll be made aware of any paperwork that needs to be handled as well as deadlines, so you end up saving time and money in the long run of the case. When it comes to DUI charges this is extremely important, especially if it isn’t your run-of-the-mill “first offense”. According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ website, “the DUI fine & imprisonment schedule, per section 316.193, Florida statutes.


First conviction:

  • No less than $500 or more than $1,000, and imprisonment for no more than six months.

  • If blood/breath alcohol level (BAL) was .15 or higher, or if there was a minor in the vehicle, not less than $1,000 or more than $2,000, and imprisonment for no more than nine months.

Second conviction:

  • No less than $1,000 or more than $2,000, and imprisonment for no more than nine months.

  • If BAL was .15 or higher, or if there was a minor in the vehicle, no less than $2,000 or more than $4,000, and imprisonment for no more than 12 months.

  • If the second conviction was within five years of a prior conviction, mandatory imprisonment of at least 10 days. At least 48 hours of confinement must be consecutive.

Third conviction (within 10 years from the second offense):

  • No less than $2,000 or more than $5,000, and mandatory imprisonment of at least 30 days. At least 48 hours of confinement must be consecutive.

  • If BAL was .15 or higher, or if there was a minor in the vehicle, no less than $4,000.

Third conviction (more than 10 years from second):

  • No less than $2,000 or more than $5,000, and imprisonment for no more than 12 months.

  • If BAL was .15 or higher, or if there was a minor in the vehicle, no less than $4,000.

Fourth or subsequent conviction:

  • No less than $2,000, and Imprisonment for not more than five years, or as provided in section 775.084, Florida Statutes, if habitual/violent offender.

  • If BAL was .15 or higher, or if there was a minor in the vehicle, no less than $4,000.”

This list doesn’t include other charges that could come with your DUI charge or the Driver’s license problems that you may face after being charged with DUI as well. This is why it is so important for you to contact a DUI lawyer immediately to know what you could be up against, and what the best plan of action you could take to have the most reduced sentencing and fines!


What are some things to keep in mind if you get charged with a DUI?

The last thing you want to do is go up against serious DUI charges unprepared. With an experienced attorney fighting for you, they’ll already know what evidence to present that may help your case. An inexperienced lawyer, or public defender with too much on their plate, might not take the time to present certain evidence that could play a pivotal role in lightening your sentence and fines. If the cost of an attorney is what is discouraging you, then you should keep in mind all of the court fees and costs involved in a DUI case. With an attorney fighting for you, the money they save you in court would outweigh the costs in the long run of you hiring them in the first place!


The ramifications of a DUI charge extend much further than just court fees. Some other fees & costs that an experienced DUI lawyer can fight to lower are towing fees, probation costs, DUI school, treatment costs, fees to receive a hardship license, and car insurance rate increases. Touching on car insurance rates specifically, the cost of your insurance premiums could be as high as $6,000. Costs in Florida can be particularly high due to requirements for an FR-44 form, which proves you have a higher level of liability coverage after a DUI.


Who should you call if you got charged with a DUI?

While our advice is always to have a designated driver or to call a rideshare service after a night out at the bar, we do know that accidents happen. If you are charged with a DUI, make sure you know what options are available to you as far as representation. Having a DUI lawyer fighting for you can truly be beneficial in saving you money in the long run!


Demesmin and Dover Law Firm is a personal injury law firm with a steadfast commitment to protecting your rights and pursuing justice, we are here to provide unwavering support during your time of need. From car accidents and slip-and-fall incidents to medical malpractice cases we have the expertise and are dedicated to getting you the compensation you deserve, call 866- 954- MORE Because to us, it's personal.

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