DWI & DUI Defense Attorneys in Orlando, Florida

The laws for driving under the influence in Florida are expansive in nature, and a DUI-related charge can arise in several situations and can be extremely serious in terms of potential consequences. The Orlando Florida DUI defense attorneys at Scott & Medling, PA can provide a consultation that will allow you to begin building your DUI defense.

Below are a few examples of the different rules and regulations that could apply to your situation, but one constant is that if you have been arrested and charged with a DUI-related offense, you need to contact Scott & Medling, PA immediately for a consultation.

Florida DUI and DWI Laws

In technical terms, anyone can be arrested for DUI in Florida if he or she has more than .08 or more grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath or .08 grams or more of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood in his or her system.

Depending on the defendant's personal situation and history, the penalties for a DUI in Florida can be quite severe. A conviction for a first-offense DUI carries fines ranging from $250 to $500 and the potential for up to six months in prison.

A second offense carries fines ranging between $500 and $1,000 and a conviction can also result in up to nine months in prison. A second conviction can also require a driver to place an interlock ignition device on the defendant's car for a period of one year, and the defendant must pay all costs associated with this device.

After a DUI conviction, the "clock ticks" on the defendant for a period of ten years. If a person is convicted of a third DUI, he or she can be convicted of a third-degree felony that carries a potential of up to five years in prison.

Vehicular Manslaughter

Vehicular manslaughter in Florida is a charge that can carry consequences that will change your life forever. The statutes in this regard are clear, and they state that if a person was driving a vehicle under the influence and this operation causes the death of another, that person if convicted, shall be guilty of either:

  • A second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, or
  • A felony in the first degree, if the defendant:
  • Knew, or should have known that the crash occurred and
  • The defendant failed to give proper information or render aid as required by law.

A felony in the first degree can carry a prison term of 30 years in prison or even life imprisonment in certain circumstances.

Field Sobriety Exercises

Field-sobriety-exercises in Florida, field sobriety exercises are a standard part of almost any DUI stop and arrest, and although the constitutionality of these exercises has been challenged several times, no definitive ruling has ever been made in this regard. Absent this type of ruling, states are generally free to impose their own regulations as they relate to field sobriety exercises, and Florida is no different.

Implied Consent

Any person who accepts the privilege of operating a motor vehicle in the state of Florida is deemed to have given his or her consent to submit to an approved chemical or physical test of his or her breath, blood, or urine.

A refusal to submit to any of these approved tests may result in the suspension of a person's driver's license privileges. Furthermore, if there is a prior refusal of an approved test or breath, blood or urine, a subsequent refusal of an approved test may result in the defendant being charged with a misdemeanor of the first degree.

Special Penalties

In Florida, a second conviction for DUI can also require a driver to place an interlock ignition device on his or her vehicle for a period of one year, and the defendant must pay all costs associated with this device. A third conviction for DUI requires the defendant to place an interlock ignition device on his or her vehicle for a period of two years, and the defendant must pay all costs associated with this device.

Depending on a person's blood-alcohol level (currently greater than .15 BAL), the court may also order the defendant to place the interlock ignition device on his or her vehicle for a minimum of six months. Furthermore, if a defendant is convicted of DUI, and the circumstances of the case show that a passenger in that vehicle at the time of the DUI was less than 18 years of age, the court will require the defendant to place an interlock ignition device on his or her vehicle for a period of at least six months.

Under 21 Fines and Penalties

Underage drinking is something that the Florida legislature views as a significant problem, and underage DUI is seen as an even bigger problem. Therefore, laws have been enacted that create more serious penalties for anyone who is under 21 years of age and is arrested for DUI in Florida.

Below you'll see the standards in place for a DUI charge to be leveled against anyone under 21 years old:

  • First suspension for persons under the age of 21 with an alcohol level .02 or above: 6 months.
  • Second or subsequent suspensions: 1 year.
  • First suspension for refusal to submit to a breath test: 1 year.
  • Second or subsequent suspensions for refusal: 18 months.

The suspensions listed above begin immediately, and if a person under 21 is arrested with a BAC of more than .05, there are additional requirements that must be met in order for that person to regain full driving privileges. If a defendant registers a BAC above a .05, he or she will not have his or her driving suspension lifted until a substance abuse evaluation and course are completed.

10 Day Rule in Florida

The 10 Day Rule is much like rules in other jurisdictions, but the issue with this rule is that it is so often overlooked.

This administrative rule states that if you:

  • Refused to take a breath, blood, or urine test after being arrested for DUI;
  • The arresting officer claims that you refused the test;
  • You took a test and registered a BAC of more than .08

You have a total of 10 days to challenge the administrative suspension of your driving privileges with the department of motor vehicles. Failure to challenge this suspension within the stated timeframe results in the automatic suspension of your license for as long as 18 months.

DUI Penalties

DUI penalties include fines, license suspensions, and even time in jail in certain situations. The fines generally range from $250 to $1,000, but that does not include all of the additional costs of higher insurance rates, alternate transportation, and perhaps the costs of interlock ignition devices in certain cases.

Below is a schedule of suspension durations that result from a DUI conviction in Florida:
Driver License Revocation Periods for DUI-s. 322.271, F.S. and s. 322.28, F.S.
A. First Conviction: Minimum 180 days revocation, maximum 1 year.
B. Second Conviction Within 5 Years: Minimum 5 years revocation. May be eligible for hardship reinstatement after 1 year. Other 2nd offenders same as "A" above.
C. Third Conviction Within 10 Years: Minimum 10 years revocation. May be eligible for hardship reinstatement after 2 years. Other 3rd offenders same as "A" above; one conviction more than 10 years prior and one within 5 years, same as "B" above.
D. Fourth Conviction, Regardless of When Prior Convictions Occurred and Murder with Motor Vehicle: Mandatory permanent revocation. No hardship reinstatement.
E. DUI Manslaughter: Mandatory permanent revocation. If no prior DUI-related convictions may be eligible for hardship reinstatement after 5 years.
F. Manslaughter, DUI Serious Bodily Injury, or Vehicular Homicide Convictions: Minimum 3-year revocation. DUI Serious Bodily Injury having prior DUI conviction is the same as "B-D" above.

Regardless of the specific charges you face, any DUI-related arrest in Florida is a serious issue. If you are in this predicament, all is not lost. Contact a DUI defense attorney at The Law Offices of Roger Scott today for an initial consultation.

Florida Law is subject to change. Please refer to the Florida Legislature's official internet site for the most current state of the law.