Any time a person is accused of being in actual physical control of a vehicle or driving under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance or a combination of substances, he or she could face charges for DUI.
Drunk driving offenses are common, but that does not mean the consequences are not serious. A first offense DUI is a misdemeanor offense, and it can carry jail time and expensive fines. Knowing how to protect your future is critical. An experienced DUI attorney can help you make educated decisions regarding your case.
If you have been charged with a drunk driving offense for the first time, contact a Melbourne first DUI attorney at The Law Offices of James B. Coulter. Our lawyer is experienced in handling DUI cases and is passionate about working with clients to get favorable results.
James Coulter of The Law Offices of James B. Coulter can help you explore whatever means necessary to have the charges reduced or dismissed. Call (321) 586-9944 to schedule a free consultation today. The Law Offices of James B. Coulter represents clients throughout Melbourne and the Brevard County area.
A first DUI offense in Florida would be a first-degree misdemeanor. According to Fla. Stat. § 316.193, this could be punishable by a fine of not less than $500 and not more than $1,000. This also could include up to six months in jail.
The court also could place the defendant on probation for up to one year. As a condition of probation, the person could be ordered to participate in public service or a community work project for a minimum of 50 hours.
The court could order the impoundment or immobilization of the vehicle that was operated at the time of the offense, even if the person is accused of being in actual physical control of the vehicle. This could last for 10 days or for the unexpired term of any lease that expires within 10 days.
Additionally, the court could require the person to attend and successfully complete a DUI school, complete an alcohol or drug abuse treatment program and a have his or her driver's license suspended for six months to one year.
The penalties for a first DUI could be enhanced. For instance, if a person is charged with drunk driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15 or more or was accompanied by a minor at the time of the offense, the penalties could be more severe, according to Fla. Stat. § 316.193(4).
A first offense in these cases could lead to $1,000 to $2,000 in fines, up to nine months in jail and the installation of an ignition interlock device for at least six months. The offender would be required to pay for the device, which could include the installation and maintenance.
If an intoxicated person who is driving or in actual physical control causes serious bodily injury to another person, the death of another person or fails to render aid to an injured person, he or she could face felony charges, even if it is the first offense.
Florida is one of several states with an implied consent law. This means when a person gets behind the wheel in the Sunshine State, it is implied that he or she has given consent to a test of his or her blood, urine or breath in determining if the person is intoxicated while driving or operating a vehicle.
The chemical or physical breath test must be incidental to a lawful arrest and administered at the request of a law enforcement officer who has reasonable cause to believe the person was driving or was in actual physical control of the motor vehicle, according to Fla. Stat. § 316.1932.
Drivers have the right to refuse the tests. However, this could mean facing additional penalties. According to state law, before a driver can refuse, officers must inform him or her of the consequences of a refusal.
For a first refusal, a person could face losing his or her driving privileges for up to one year. During this time, the person would not be able to drive to work, school or anywhere else. Additionally, a refusal could be admissible into evidence for any criminal proceedings, according to state law.
If you have been charged with a DUI offense for the first time, do not hesitate to contact an experienced Melbourne Florida DUI lawyer who can help you fight the charge. At The Law Offices of James B. Coulter, our attorney takes time with each client to ensure their rights are protected, and they work to get favorable outcomes in each case. Call (321) 586-9944 to schedule a free consultation or complete our online form.