The attorneys at Blake & Dorsten, P.A. represent clients who have been charged with a wide variety of criminal offenses, including driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs and alcohol. These are serious charges with significant potential consequences, especially for someone who is a repeat DUI offender. Our attorneys are former state prosecutors who have an in-depth understanding of how law enforcement authorities pursue these cases and what judges look for in deciding cases and imposing sentences. Our Tampa Bay DUI lawyers work tirelessly to get charges dropped or reduced through whenever possible while standing ready to fight cases through trial when necessary.Penalties for Drinking and Driving
Florida, like every other state in the country, makes it a crime for a person to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. For drunk driving, cops often use chemical blood, breath, or urine samples to test impairment. A person whose blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 percent or higher is considered intoxicated under state law. A police officer can also charge a person with DUI without relying on a BAC test if there is other evidence showing that the person was driving while intoxicated.
The penalties for DUI in Florida vary based on the circumstances. A first time offender is looking at up to six months in jail, as much as $1,000 in fines and 50 hours of community service. If you are convicted, you will also have your driving privileges suspended for at least six months. The law gives some DUI offenders the chance to get a “hardship” license in certain circumstances, but a person who wants his or her driving privileges has to complete DUI school before getting back behind the wheel.
Repeat DUI offenders and those involved in accidents while intoxicated face larger fines and potentially longer stretches behind bars. If your second DUI conviction happens within five years of your first conviction, you’re looking at a mandatory 10 days in jail and a five-year revocation of your driving privileges. A third DUI conviction within five years is a felony. It carries a mandatory 90-day jail stint and 10-year license revocation, as well as up to five years in prison and another five years of probation. That’s not to mention as much as $5,000 in fines.Defenses in DUI Cases
The good news is there are many possible defenses available to a person charged with DUI in Tampa Bay or elsewhere in Florida. Many of the best defenses have to do with whether the cops had an appropriate legal basis for pulling over your car in the first place.
Police officers need to have reasonable suspicion that you are committing or have committed a crime or traffic infraction to stop your car. They then need separate, articulable reasonable suspicion to believe that you’ve been drinking and driving in order to ask you to take a BAC test. If they can’t prove that reasonable suspicion, then any evidence obtained from a traffic stop is likely to be thrown out of court.
In addition, BAC tests are often unreliable. It’s important to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney to consider your options if you are charged with DUI based on those test results.Criminal Defense Attorneys Serving Tampa Bay
At Blake & Dorsten, P.A, our experienced legal team understands the complicated legal issues that can come up in repeat DUI and other cases. We also have a strong track record of success for clients in criminal matters. Our attorneys are committed to giving each and every client the personalized attention they deserve and guiding them through the criminal justice system with skill and compassion. Our offices are located in St. Petersburg and Clearwater, and we gladly serve clients throughout the region. That includes Tampa, Brandon, Sarasota, Cape Coral, Fort Myers, and Bradenton, as well as Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Manatee, Sarasota and Lee Counties. Call us at (727) 286-6141 or contact us online to make an appointment to speak with an attorney about your case.