If you have been arrested or charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI), it is important to understand the consequences you may face as a result of those charges; however, it is also important to know that you do have options with regard to your driving privileges so that you are able to continue driving while your case is ongoing.
Arrested For DUI?
Is the charge of DUI limited only to impairment due to alcohol?
No. You can be arrested and charged with DUI when a police officer believes that your normal faculties are impaired by any substance, including illegal substances and even medication that has been prescribed to you by your doctor. In the eyes of the law, driving is a privilege, not a right, and it is illegal to drive while your faculties are impaired – for any reason.
What is a field sobriety test?
Field sobriety tests are often used by law enforcement personnel to gauge how impaired a driver may be. An officer may request that you perform a number of physical tests, including:
- The One Leg Stand
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus
- Walk and Turn
- Finger to Nose
- Counting Backward
- Reciting the Alphabet
Refusal to perform any of the tests almost always results in being arrested for DUI.
What tests are available to law enforcement personnel to determine Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)?
The breathalyzer is a machine used to determine Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). The suspected impaired driver exhales into this machine, and law enforcement personnel records the reading that the machine generates. Based on that reading, a person may be charged with DUI at that time. The breath-alcohol level must be based upon grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath. A reading of .08 or higher presumes legal impairment.
A DUI charge is a criminal offense and can result in serious consequences if not acted upon quickly. It is best to call within 10 days of your DUI charge. Call Hugh now discuss your legal options.
Often, if a breath test does not register any alcohol level, a urine test will be administered to check for the presence of chemical and/or controlled substances.
Lastly, a blood test may be requested. A blood test MUST be performed by medical personnel at a medical facility. The blood-alcohol level must be based upon grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood.
What happens if you refuse tests for alcohol, chemical substances or controlled substances?
Florida has what is called an “Implied Consent” law that states, “Any person who accepts the privilege extended by the laws of this state of operation a motor vehicle within this state is, by so operating such vehicle, deemed to have given his or her consent to submit to an approved chemical test or physical test.” This means that driving is a privilege, and, for that privilege, you have already given your consent to any of these tests. Florida statute states that failure to submit to any of these tests will result in the suspension of your driving privileges for a period of one (1) year.
Will your license be suspended if you are arrested for DUI, whether or not you refuse the breathalyzer?
Yes. In fact, what many people do not realize is that there are two (2) type of suspensions. The first suspension is an administrative suspension. This suspension occurs automatically ten (10) days after DUI charges are filed against you and is enforced by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The administrative suspension period is 30 days, unless you refuse the breathalyzer test, then the administrative suspension period is 90 days. The second type of suspension is a criminal suspension and can occur if you are convicted of DUI or if you accept a suspension of your driver’s license as part of a plea.
With regard to the administrative suspension, it is critical that you request a review hearing before the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles within ten (10) days of your DUI arrest. The review hearing provides you with an opportunity to challenge the probable cause for the stop and arrest in an effort to keep your driving privileges intact.
At The Florida Practice, as part of our representation of DUI clients, we request and attend the review hearing on behalf of our clients. In many instances, we have been able to keep our clients’ driving privileges intact as a result of our attendance at the DHSMV hearing. That is why it is extremely important that you contact The Florida Practice as soon as possible after your arrest so that this deadline is not missed. If you miss the 10 day window, your license is automatically suspended.
What happens after the 30 day or 90 day suspension period?
Once the suspension period has lapsed, you may then be eligible to apply for a Business Purposes Only (BPO) license at your local DHSMV office. At The Florida Practice, we will guide you through the entire process so that you can maintain driving privileges while your case is pending.
If you, a family member or a friend have been arrested for DUI, contact The Florida Practice to speak with Mr. McDonnell about the charges against you and the options that you have in defending against those charges.
The firm is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 888-422-4200 or you may schedule a confidential initial consultation online.