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DUI

Is There A DMV Hearing After A DUI Charge In Florida?

Yes, but you have to request it. You have 10 days from the date of arrest to request it.

Is That Something That You Are Able To Help Your Clients With?

Yes, if they hire me in time.

What Does That Look Like? What Do You Do On Behalf Of A Client At A DMV Hearing? What Is The Purpose Of The Hearing?

The purpose of a DMV hearing is to see if the officer has probable cause to suspect you of a DUI. If they do, then the revocation or suspension of your license stands. Essentially, it’s a first take of the evidence.

As a defense attorney, there are several ways I can argue against the officer’s case. They are based on my knowledge of the law but also of how police processes and DMV processes work.

For instance, often times in these hearings, the officer’s report is not finalized yet. Once an officer makes a DUI arrest, they have to write a report, which then gets submitted to a supervisor for approval and then finalized in the system. They deal with many DUIs each night, so that process can take some time. Therefore, if you request the hearing fast enough, the officer will not always have the finalized report available. Considering the number of DUI arrests the officers make on a regular basis, if they don’t have the report to remind them, they might not exactly remember what happened in your specific case. If they don’t remember what happened, then the court doesn’t know what happened, and a defense attorney can argue that the officer did not meet the burden of proof. If that argument (or any of my other arguments against the officer meeting the burden of proof) are successful, my client’s license is returned.

It should be noted that the DMV trial does not affect the criminal trial. However, most people in Florida need to be able to drive during the course of their daily life, and winning a DMV hearing helps get them their driving rights back as quickly as possible.

What Is A Typical Sentence For A First-Time DUI In Florida?

Sentencing for DUIs is statutory, meaning it’s based on standard legislative sentencing guidelines.

Let’s say you got a first-time DUI with a BAC below 0.15. You would be looking at:

  • A fine of $500 to $1,000
  • Up to 12 months of probation
  • A driver’s license revocation of 6 months to a year
  • Participation in a Victim Impact Panel
  • Community service hours
  • Not being able to drink alcohol for a certain amount of time.
  • Mandatory DUI school attendance.

Technically, you may also face up to 6 months of jail time, but it’s highly unlikely that you will get jail time for a first-time DUI under 0.15. In addition, they may also impound your vehicle and hold you responsible for the costs, but a competent attorney can get this part of sentencing waived if the vehicle is used by someone else.

What Factors Could Enhance Or Aggravate A DUI Charge In Florida?

In Florida, the primary aggravating factors for a DUI are:

  • If you crashed
  • If you hurt or killed someone
  • If your BAC was above 0.15%
  • If you have prior DUIs.

Why Is It So Important To Work With An Experienced DUI Attorney To Fight The Charges, Instead Of Just Pleading Guilty To Get It Over With?

There are several reasons why it behooves you not to simply plead guilty to a DUI to get it over with.

For one, they can use that DUI to aggravate any future DUIs, which can drastically increase your potential sentence.

Also, just because you are initially charged with a DUI doesn’t mean the charge will stick. The right attorney can sometimes negotiate with the state and get a DUI reduced to what’s called a wet reckless driving charge. This reduces the offense to essentially reckless driving with enhanced penalties, and keeps the DUI off your record. DUIs have mandatory adjudication, which means you have to get points on your record if you are convicted. Wet reckless driving, on the other hand, does not, which means you may be able use a Withhold of Adjudication to avoid getting points altogether.

For all these reasons, it makes sense to at least consult with an attorney to see what they can do with the case before simply pleading guilty.

Once I Have Been Charged With A DUI, How Soon Will I Have My Court Date?

The scheduling of your court date depends on whether you’re called in custody or out of custody. If you are being held in jail, you are likely to get a court date within two weeks of your arrest. If you are not in jail, arraignments are usually around 30 days from the date of arrest.

How Often Will I Have To Go To Court Or Have Court Appearances Throughout A DUI Case?

That’s tough to say, as it depends on the case and how it goes. If you hire a private attorney, we can do what’s called Waiver of Appearance, which means we can go to court on your behalf and you don’t have to appear at all until the final hearing or the trial. If you opt to use a public defender, they don’t always waive their client’s appearances, because that’s usually the only time they can meet with their clients. With a public defender, the average DUI case usually involves 4-6 court appearances by the defendant.

Does Florida Use The Ignition Interlock Device For DUI Charges Or Convictions?

Yes.

If your first DUI is above 0.15 and/or there’s someone 18 years or younger in the car, you will be looking at an ignition interlock for six months in any vehicle that you own. If your vehicle is primarily used by someone else or you don’t have a vehicle, you can get that waived. However, the sentence isn’t simply for your current car. It’s also for whenever you get a car in your name. Any new car you personally register will require the installation of an ignition interlock device for six months. This will be a condition of your license privileges in the future.

For more information on DUI Cases in Florida, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (727) 478-4222 today.

Christopher Shaw, Esq.

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(727) 478-4222