Fort Myers, FL – DUI charges can be complex to defend against because of the combination of traffic law, scientific evidence, and varying charges depending on the actions of the defendant and resulting damage and injuries. The most serious DUI cases can result in felony charges against the defendant if they hurt others. Because of the gravity of these charges, anyone who is facing a DUI with property damage or injuries should be sure to get legal help from a veteran lawyer. Some firms focus on DUI law and develop expertise in this area.
Felonies versus misdemeanors
The difference between a misdemeanor criminal charge and a felony is the length of the potential prison sentence for the defendant. Misdemeanors carry a sentence of less than a year, while felonies are punishable by at least one year in jail. As a general rule, a first DUI in Florida that does not include any kind of accident, property damage, or injuries will be charged as a misdemeanor. However, if people are hurt or there is serious property damage, the defendant can possibly be charged with various felonies for a drunk driving accident.
Accidents caused by drunk drivers
An intoxicated driver may cause an accident that results in various kinds of property damage and injuries to others nearby. This driver can be sued in a civil case like anyone else who is at fault for an accident, and evidence of their intoxication and other traffic violations may be introduced to help prove their negligence. They may also receive additional or enhanced criminal charges from the state for causing bodily injury or fatalities while driving under the influence. A charge such as DUI manslaughter can result in a lengthy prison sentence if the defendant is convicted.
Penalties for drunk driving in Florida
All DUI cases will carry the possibility of a driver’s license suspension, fines, community service hours, probation, jail time, and substance abuse treatment. The most serious offenders who have multiple DUI charges or felonies may lose their driver’s license permanently. A high breath or blood alcohol reading that is more than double the legal limit of .08 also carries additional penalties. Drivers who are made to take a DRE examination due to the suspicion of being under the influence of controlled substances can also face drug possession charges if illegal substances are found in or around their vehicle during the police investigation.
Talking with a DUI attorney about criminal charges
There are defense attorneys in Florida who focus on helping their clients fight against the state’s charges in the Fort Myers area. Michael Raheb is an experienced lawyer who is available to help.
Firm contact info:
2423 First Street, Fort Myers, FL 33901