Fort Myers, FL – Receiving a DUI charge anywhere in the state of Florida is more serious than in many other parts of the country because the legislature has set mandatory minimum penalties in the drunk driving statute. This means that even if a driver’s attorney attempts to negotiate a plea deal or change the sentence, anyone who is convicted or accepts a no contest plea will have to complete the same conditions.
Because of the severity of these charges, anyone who has recently been arrested and has a DUI case pending should speak with an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible. Legal representation can be the difference when dealing with long term consequences such as the loss of a job or professional license.
Statutory minimum penalties
The mandatory minimums set by the state’s DUI statute include at least 6 months of reporting probation, a $500 to $1000 fine, classes or treatment for alcohol abuse, 50 community service hours, 10 days of vehicle impoundment, and a driver’s license suspension of six months to one year.
These penalties can change as well if the situation is different from a standard first DUI case, which is charged as a misdemeanor. People who are charged with a second or third DUI, as well as those who have a blood alcohol content that is more than double the legal limit will face additional penalties. When someone refuses a chemical breath test during a DUI investigation, they will be charged with a separate refusal case under the state’s implied consent law. The refusal penalties are similar to a standard first DUI. Someone may be charged with a felony if they cause serious injuries or property damage while they are intoxicated. A felony charge means that the defendant can potentially serve at least one year of jail time or longer if convicted.
Administrative penalties and driving privileges
When someone’s driver’s license is suspended, they will have a separate administrative civil case with the state’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Because this process can be time consuming and confusing, the state has created a separate page related to administrative driver’s license suspensions and the process to get a license reinstated after a DUI. Drivers who possess a CMV or Commercial Motor Vehicle license may face additional penalties related to their driving privileges.
Local firms that can assist after an arrest
Michael Raheb is an experienced criminal defense attorney who helps clients in the southwest Florida and gulf coast areas. His firm can assist with defending against the state’s charges and providing a recommended course of action for anyone who has been arrested for driving under the influence.
Firm contact information:
2423 First Street, Fort Myers, FL 33901