Being charged with DUI can be terrifying. And it can lead to some serious criminal and administrative penalties. The decision to drive while intoxicated could be detrimental to your life and the lives of others. If you are charged with a DUI, remember these five key points:
It’s more than just alcohol
When you think of the term DUI, you typically associate that with alcohol use. However, a DUI goes far beyond the realm of alcohol intoxication. Driving under the influence of marijuana, certain medications, or any other intoxicating substance is enough to warrant a DUI. We explore this further in another of our recent blogs.
You can go to jail for a DUI – even if it’s a first offense
If you are charged, tried and convicted of DUI for the first time, the judge has the discretion to fine you between $500 and $1,000 as well as sentence you to jail for up to six months. Although jail is not mandatory, it is a possibility.
A DUI can turn into a felony charge
Some circumstances could escalate your DUI charge from misdemeanor to felony status. You’re most commonly at risk if you’ve had multiple prior DUI convictions or if you were involved in a collision in which someone was killed or injured. Learn more about how a DUI can turn into a felony charge.
Your driver’s license will be suspended
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is required to suspend a driver’s license for at least 180 days following an initial DUI conviction. This suspension often lasts up to one year, and if the DUI resulted in bodily injury to another person, the minimum suspension period goes up to three years.
Refusing to take a breathalyzer has consequences
Florida is an implied consent state. This means that if a police officer pulls you over on suspicion of DUI, chances are they have probable cause that you’ve been operating a vehicle while legally intoxicated. However, the state would also like some evidence that you are legally under the influence, which is where the Breathalyzer comes in. This machine will test your blood alcohol concentration, or BAC. In Florida, a BAC of 0.08 or higher creates a presumption you are legally intoxicated. You can still refuse the test, but that results in an automatic one-year suspension of your driver’s license as well as other consequences.
If you’ve been arrested on suspicion of DUI and want to better understand your options, give us a call at 239-561-2820 today. The Law Office of Joseph Cerino is ready and willing to help your case.