Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Florida
Orlando DUI Attorney
DUI, or driving under the influence, is a criminal offense in Florida and one that carries mandatory minimum penalties that can be severe and life-changing, that is why is so important to have a DUI defense attorney on your side.
Under Florida Law a person is guilty of DUI if he or she drives, or is in actual physical control of a motor vehicle, and is under the influence of alcoholic beverages or any chemical or controlled substance to the extent that his or her mental or physical faculties are impaired or when his or her blood alcohol level (BAC) is above the legal limit for the state. This includes alcoholic beverages of any kind, illegal narcotics, prescription drugs or even over the counter medicines.
If you are charged with DUI in Orlando, Central Florida or in any other place in Florida, your driver's license will be immediately suspended and a citation will be issued.
DUI's are usually charged as misdemeanors Under Florida Law but can become felonies under specific circumstances. Among them:
- DUI Manslaughter
- Third DUI conviction within 10 years after a prior conviction
- Fourth or Greater DUI Conviction
- DUI With Serious Bodily
- Driving a commercial motor vehicle with a BAC of .04 or higher
Mandatory minimum penalties for a DUI conviction include:
- Fines and Court costs
- An 'Adjudication of Guilt'
- Community service
- Supervised probation (typically one year)
- Jail time
- Vehicle impound
- DUI school
- Driver license suspension
- Completion of a Victim Awareness Program
- Alcohol/Substance Abuse Evaluation and completion of treatment if recommended
- Criminal record: DUI conviction on your record for life
- Forfeiture of property or assets
The severity of each of these penalties depends on specific circumstances, the degree of your DUI offense and the existence of previous DUI convictions. Felony DUI charges carry more severe penalties than misdemeanor DUIs.
The above are simply the minimum penalties for first time DUI offenders in cases where no aggravating factors exist. If a defendant's breath test results are .150 or higher or if there was an accident, additional penalties, including the imposition of an 'Ignition Interlock Device' are required. Defendants who have had previous DUI convictions also face additional mandatory penalties and can even end up being charged in felony court.
In addition to the criminal penalties associated with DUI, someone accused of 'Driving Under the Influence' faces a license suspension from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), which is totally separate from the criminal case and must be contested within the first ten (10) days of the DUI arrest.
Because someone accused of 'Driving Under the Influence' has to deal with both the criminal court system and the DHSMV and because of the mandatory penalties involved, the Orlando criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of David P. Hill recommends that anyone charged with 'Driving Under the Influence' within the Central Florida area, contact an experienced Orlando DUI attorney.
DUI Defense in Florida
Getting a DUI charge dropped, dismissed, or obtain a verdict of "not guilty" may often hinge on a single detail. Orlando DUI attorney David Hill will review all of the evidence and witness statements to find answers to these and other important questions:
- Were the blood or breath test results accurate?
- Were the breath test results compromised in any way?
- Were field sobriety tests performed according to protocol?
- Did the arresting officer have probable cause to pull over the vehicle?
- Did the arresting officer report all details accurately?
- Was the defendant exhibiting impaired driving?
- Were the defendant's constitutional rights violated?
Ten Day Rule
It is very important for you to be aware of Florida’s “Ten Day Rule”. This rule states that if you are suspected of driving under the influence and refuse to take a blood, breath or urine test after being arrested for DUI, or your breath test was .08% blood-alcohol or above, you have only a 10 day period from the date of the arrest to request in writing a Formal Review Hearing with the Florida DMV. During this 10 day period you are allowed to drive using your citation as a driving permit. If you fail to file for this hearing you will miss the opportunity to challenge the administrative suspension of your driver license and won’t be able to drive after the tenth day.
If you file a demand for a Formal Review Hearing and you are eligible, a temporary license will be issued. This temporary license becomes effective when the ten day permit expires and would allow you to continue driving for business purposes until seven days after the Formal Review Hearing, normally giving you a period of 30-45 days to continue driving.
Formal Review Hearing
The Formal Review Hearing (which is an administrative hearing as opposed to a criminal trial which occurs later) resulting from the DUI charges must be scheduled no later than thirty (30) days after the demand is filed and will be held before a hearing officer employed by the Department of Highway and Safety Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). During the hearing the existing evidence will be presented with the intention to uphold the administrative suspension of your driver license. If you are represented by a DUI defense attorney during the hearing, she or he will have the opportunity to present arguments and cross examine the police officer who made the arrest and the witnesses, if there are any.
Usually after a couple of days of the hearing, the officer will decide if the suspension of your driver’s license is upheld or invalidated. If the suspension is upheld your driver's license will remain suspended for either six months (if the driver blew over a .08), or a year (if the driver refused to blow into the machine).
If your driver’s license suspension is upheld, you might be eligible to apply for a hardship license, which could result in only a hard suspension of 30 days for blowing over the limit, and one for 90 days for a refusal.
The Formal Review Hearing with the DHSMV is completely separate from the criminal case. If you are later on convicted of DUI by a criminal court, a mandatory suspension of your driver’s license will begin on the date of your conviction and your hardship driver's license, if any, will be seized.
DUI cases can be complicated and their consequences long lasting. Central Florida DUI Attorney David Hill has extensive experience and the required knowledge of the criminal justice system to fight them back. DUI cases more than most affect one’s ability to keep one’s employment since most people need to drive to get to and from work. That makes it essential to have an attorney help you navigate through the complicated administrative and criminal minefield of this offense. Our firm will attack the evidence being used through pretrial Motions to Suppress, which oftentimes can result in the charges being dropped. If a jury trial is needed, we are very experienced in handling DUI trials, and will do everything we can to obtain an acquittal at trial.
Visit our DUI Frequent asked questions page to find more information on this subject.
Contact Orlando DUI Lawyer David P. Hill
How a DUI charge is resolved can have a significant and long term impact for you and your family. If you live in Orlando, Winter Park, Windermere or in any other place in Central Florida, and you have been charged with 'Driving Under the Influence', call the DUI Attorney at the Law Offices of David P. Hill in Orlando today for your free consultation. We are available 24 hours at 407-648-0006. You may also fill out our online form provided at the top of this page and we will contact you as soon as possible. We will keep your information confidential.
- What is DUI?
- Is there anyway to avoid a DUI?
- What is the "Ten Day Rule"?
- Can I still be in trouble for driving, even if my BAC is below the legal limit?
- Does the car have to be moving for me to be guilty of DUI?
- Do I have to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test?
- Can I fight my DUI arrest?
- If I am arrested for a DUI, will I lose my license?
- How long will I lose my license?
February 12, 2018
David Paul Hill (Attorney with a heart of gold)
★★★★★ Posted in AVVO by anonymous
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February 24, 2015
Mr. Hill, provided services fo...
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January 2, 2012
★★★★★ Posted in AVVO by Luis
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July 19, 2011
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June 9, 2011
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Excellent DUI attorney - I found David Hill while surfing the Internet when I got my first DUI. I never had problems before so I did not know where to go or what do to! I was scared to death! Mr. Hill answered my call in about 20 minutes, while I was still trying to contact an attorney. I met him and hired him. I think that was one of the best decisions I have ever made. He was on the case immediately and proved me to be very knowledgeable. I would recommend him to anyone looking for a DUI attorney.
June 7, 2011
Very happy with results!
★★★★★ Posted in AVVO by Anonymous
About a year ago my fiancee, while in his last year of college, got a DUI. After an impeccable life, and a promising future, this was a shocking, and stupid, event. We talked to few attorneys and finally decided on Mr. Hill. Caring and straight forward, we thought he was the right person to help us with our problem. We couldn't have made a better decision! Mr. Hill proved to be knowledgeable and committed to us! The charges were dropped, and lesson learned. We recommend him.