If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Port St. Lucie, it is important that you contact legal help immediately. An experienced attorney can work quickly to help you understand and guide you through the hearing process, and may even prevent you from facing serious penalties. Florida’s DUI penalties include having your license suspended, heavy fines, and jail time.
Often times, a person is wrongly accused of driving under the influence and may succumb to Florida’s judicial system if he does not obtain knowledgeable legal counsel. Outlined here are the general steps one must follow after being accused of driving under the influence in Florida.
Requirements of a DUI
Driving under the influence, or DUI, in Florida consists of a driver being under the influence of alcoholic beverages, chemical substances, or controlled substances, and having physical control of a vehicle, that is proved by the impairment of normal functions and behaviors or a blood or breath alcohol level of .08 or above.
If you are stopped by law enforcement for suspicion of driving under the influence and meet these criteria, you will be arrested.
What happens after a DUI arrest?
Once you are placed under arrest for DUI, the process following can become complicated and may vary depending upon a few factors, such as whether or not you are eligible for bail and if you have an attorney to represent you.
Generally, upon being arrested, you will be taken to the police station where you will be “booked,” may post bail, and be given information about an arraignment.
A “booking” is the process in which a police officer will ask if you give your consent to perform a breath test. If you consent, the officer will administer the test. Whether you give your consent to take the test or refuse, you will then be taken to a jail cell where you will await next steps.
Next, if you are eligible and can afford to do so, you can post bail. If you cannot afford to post bail, you can either contact a bail bondsman or wait until you appear before a judge.
After you are released from jail, you will then have an arraignment. An arraignment is the process of appearing before a judge who will tell you exactly what you are being charged with, and will give you a chance to enter a plea. You can choose to plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest. During this step the judge may determine whether you are charged with driving under the influence or may drop the charges.
Your plea will determine the next step in the process. If you plead guilty or no contest, you lose your right to present a case and will move to being sentenced, either immediately or at a future date. If you plead not guilty, what follows is a series of preliminary hearings, period of discovery, and more, before your case goes to trial.
What NOT to do after a DUI arrest
No matter how the steps following a DUI arrest play out, there are some things you should not do during the initial arresting. There are large number of factors at play when you are arrested under suspicion of driving under the influence, such as inaccurate breathalyzer results, inconsistencies between evidence and what is said by witnesses or the arresting officer, and more, that it is in your best interest to not plead guilty to anything without first consulting with an experienced DUI attorney.
Going through the DUI processes alone is no small matter and should not be taken lightly, which is why it is important to obtain experienced legal counsel immediately. The Law Office of David G. Simmons has the experience and expertise you need when facing serious crimes. Mr. Simmons has more than a decade of experience facing prosecutors and defending clients that have been charged with various crimes. Mr. Simmons can advise you how best to approach a DUI charge in a compassionate yet confident manner.