After the shock of getting pulled over and arrested for a DUI settles in, you may wonder if you can have the charges reduced or dropped. Getting a DUI charge dropped or reduced is possible if you seek experienced legal help as soon as possible after your arrest. These charges are very serious and carry heavy consequences that can follow you for the rest of your life.
How to Get Out of First Offense DUI Florida Case
Even a first-time DUI can affect your professional status, ability to keep your job, and future employment. By Florida law, a DUI conviction remains on your driving record for 75 years. Florida does not allow any DUI convictions to be expunged.
Florida DUI statutes set the penalties for DUI convictions. A reduced charge, such as reckless driving, does not carry the same consequences or harm to your reputation as a DUI conviction. In addition, your insurance company will probably view reckless driving less seriously as they would a DUI and not require specific insurance such as FR-44. This may prevent your insurance premiums from going up and the possibility of your policy being canceled.
An experienced DUI attorney can help get your charges reduced. If you’ve been arrested for DUI and it’s your first offense, your best course of action is to contact a defense attorney who specializes in Florida DUI law.
How to Avoid a Suspended License for DUI in Florida
A DUI conviction, even if it is the first offense, results in the suspension of your driver’s license. Since most people in South Florida rely heavily on their cars to get to work or school, and to take their children to school, not having a driver’s license for even a short period of time can make life very difficult.
If you’ve been arrested for DUI, you have ten days to challenge the administrative driver’s license suspension in writing. The arresting officer is required to explain this to you when you are arrested, but this information can easily be forgotten during the confusion and shock of being arrested. Oftentimes, officer's do NOT explain this information and have no idea how to go about dealing with this process.
Within 30 days of receiving your written request, the Florida DHSMV will schedule a formal hearing. This is an administrative hearing, not a criminal proceeding. During this administrative hearing, it will be determined whether the arresting officer had probable cause to stop you, if the officer advised you that your license would be suspended, if you refused or failed to pass an intoxication test, and the results of any blood or breath tests taken will be reviewed. Based on what evidence is presented or lack thereof at this hearing, the suspension can be overturned.
What Happens If I Failed the Breath or Blood Test?
When you’ve been pulled over for driving under the influence, you’ll most likely be asked to take a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test. This test may be in the form of a breath test, blood test, or urinalysis, and you are required to take it under Florida’s implied consent laws.
Refusal to do is generally admitted in court as the consciousness of guilt and can result in automatic suspension of your driver’s license. If you fail the test with a BAC of .08 or more, you will be immediately arrested or in some cases, the request to provide the sample of your breath occurs after you are already placed under arrest.
In addition, the Florida DUI laws allow a driver to be charged with DUI if they have a BAC between .05 and .07 if there is other evidence that shows they are impaired. You can also be charged with DUI if it is later determined that controlled substances are in your blood or urine samples.
If you fail your breath or blood test, all is not lost. Mistakes do happen, and it is our job to ensure that any errors don’t result in your loss of freedom.
Defense of Breath Tests
- Was the breath machine in compliance with Florida Administrative Code?
- Was the test administered properly?
- Was the operator legally qualified to give the test?
- How experienced was the breath test technician?
- Did the technician comply with the 20-minute observation period?
- Were the two breath samples taken within 15 minutes of each other?
- Was there anything in the subject’s mouth, or any substance such as mouthwash, dentures, or adhesives that might affect the test results?
- Did the arresting police officer have grounds for requesting a breath sample?
- Was the defendant informed of implied consent?
Defense of Blood Tests
- Was the blood collected properly?
- Was there any alcohol present due to sterilization?
- Was the sample contaminated by microorganisms?
- Was the sample preserved properly?
- Was the chain of custody protocol followed correctly?
- Did the arresting officer have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to stop the defendant?
- Was it impractical or impossible for the officer to request and obtain a breath or urine sample as opposed to a blood test?
- Was there reasonable suspicion to request a field sobriety exercise?
- Was there enough probable cause to make an arrest?
- Were there any misstatements of the law or legal authority?
How We Can Help You Fight to Get Out of a DUI in FL Right Now
If you have been arrested for DUI in South Florida, you may have many defenses available to contest or have the charge reduced. Don’t just assume that you can’t fight the charge. After your arrest, our primary goal will be to get the DUI reduced to a lesser charge, such as reckless driving or get the charges completely dismissed. By pleading down to reckless driving (F.S. 316.192) as opposed to DUI (F.S. 316.193), defendants can avoid many of the negative consequences that accompany the more serious charge.
Keep in mind that the judge does not have the discretion to reduce a DUI charge, it is the pre-trial prosecutor who does. That’s why you need an attorney who will explore all your defense options and knows how to effectively negotiate with the prosecutor. We will investigate your case and develop a strategy for getting the charge reduced.
At Weinstein Legal, we understand that facing a DUI charge is difficult and stressful. However, with the help of a good DUI attorney, you can make sure all your rights will be protected. The sooner you contact an attorney, the better your chances will be for obtaining a favorable outcome. Contact our team today to schedule your free consultation.