Navigating the Legal Process: What to Expect When Facing DUI Charges

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Posted: 13th September 2023 by
Lawyer Monthly
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DUI charges are a serious matter as the consequences of being convicted can be severe.

Penalties can range from fines to jail time. If you have been charged with DUI, you must consult with a reputed legal counsel who can guide you on potential defences against the charges. Navigating the legal process for DUI charges is often complicated. If the defence is successful, the charges can be completely dismissed or you could get less severe penalties. 

Florida DUI Charges 

According to Florida law, a driver is a driver under the influence (DUI) if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 grams per 100 millilitres. A driver in Florida can also be charged with DUI if their normal faculties are impaired by alcohol or other chemicals. 

As is the case with DUI in other states, Florida DUI penalties are more severe for repeat offenders or if the DUI results in an accident. A BAC above 0.15 or having a minor in the car while driving intoxicated can also result in severe penalties. 

The first conviction in Florida can result in fines of between $500 to $1,000 and up to six months in jail. However, repeat offenders, who have been convicted three or four times within 10 years could be charged with a felony. 

What Happens When You Are Charged with DUI? 

After you are arrested for DUI charges, you are likely to be taken to a detention facility for the booking of charges. Depending on the severity of the offence and applicable laws, you could be held at the detention facility for an extended period, or released on bail. In some cases, the accused are released on their recognizance. 

The charges will be submitted to the prosecutor's office, where the charges will be reviewed to determine how they want to legally proceed with the case. If formal DUI charges are filed, the defendant will receive a notice to appear in court. The arraignment hearing is where the defendant is formally informed of the charges and a guilty or not guilty plea is entered. 

After that, the case goes into the phase of pretrial proceedings which can include different types of motions such as determining whether the DUI arrest was done according to the laws and whether the evidence is admissible in court. The legal counsel of both sides is allowed to gather evidence and prepare their case. 

The two sides can enter into a plea bargain, where the defendant agrees to plead guilty in exchange for a lesser sentence. If no plea bargain is done, the case will move to a trial, where a judge or jury will hear the case and render a verdict in favour or against the defendant. Both parties have the right to appeal against the version depending on the laws in the jurisdiction. 

Potential Defenses to DUI Charges 

If you are accused of DUI, you have a few different legal options to defend against the charges. If you feel the DUI stop or arrest was done according to the laws, you can use that as a defence against the DUI charges. You could also challenge the administration or accuracy of the field sobriety test or the breathalyzer test If the police did not have probable cause to make the initial traffic stop, the DUI case could be dismissed. In some cases, the accuracy of the blood test is also questioned. For example, if the blood sample was mishandled in the chain of custody, the results may not be reliable. 

As each DUI case can be unique, you need to consult with a DUI lawyer to determine the best defence to the charges. The lawyer will assess the facts of the case to guide you on which legal route is most likely to lead to a favourable outcome. In some cases, the DUI lawyer may recommend a plea bargain, however, if you have strong evidence or you feel you were not guilty of the DUI charge, your lawyer can take the case to trial. 

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