Strategic Defense,
Resolute Advocacy
Your Path to Justice
Strategic Defense,
Resolute Advocacy
Your Path to Justice
Strategic Defense,
Resolute Advocacy
Your Path to Justice

DUI Defense Lawyers in Orlando

Protecting Your Rights When Charged With Driving Under the Influence

Being charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is one of the most common criminal charges in the state of Florida. DUI charges are very serious and can lead to severe consequences, even as a first-time offender. Jail time, hefty fines, and other penalties are all possibilities if you are convicted of a DUI. A DUI that leads to fatal injuries or leaving the scene of an accident can compound these DUI charges, making them more complex with more severe penalties.

Multiple DUI convictions can lead to even more consequences, including prison time and a driver’s license suspension. You may also be required to complete community service or install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. These penalties can lead to difficulty maintaining a job or an education, as a DUI charge could impact your ability to drive.

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence, don’t hesitate to reach out to a team of criminal defense lawyers. A DUI arrest can have severe implications on your life, as drunk driving is treated harshly in the criminal justice system. If you need help with a DUI case, our team at Alain Rivas & Associates, P.A., can help. To speak with a criminal defense attorney and receive a free consultation, call our law firm today at 407-934-0324.

What Are the DUI Laws in Florida?

Florida DUI laws are the same as national DUI laws. Florida DUI law states that any person who is driving under the influence of a “chemical substance” can be charged with a DUI. A chemical substance can include alcohol or a controlled substance, like drugs.

To be charged with a DUI in Florida, one or both of the following must be true:

  • A driver has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 grams or above per 100 milliliters of blood
  • A driver has a breath alcohol level at or above 0.08 grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath

If you are pulled over for a suspected DUI, police officers will likely give you a breath test using a breathalyzer. If you refuse this breath test, you will likely be charged with a DUI on the spot.

After you are arrested for a DUI, you will be given a blood test administered by a licensed lab technician. Breath tests and blood test results can be used against you in court.

What Are the DUI Charges in Florida?

In Florida, there are multiple DUI charges you can be assigned. A prior DUI conviction can affect what kind of charge you get. While all DUI charges are serious, some carry more severe penalties than others.

Below are the types of DUI charges in Florida:

  • First offense: misdemeanor
  • Second offense: misdemeanor
  • Third offense: misdemeanor if you have no prior DUI convictions in the last ten years
  • Third offense and after: felony DUI if you have prior DUI convictions within the last ten years

All DUI cases are different, and charges can vary depending on your criminal record and your history of DUI offenses. If an individual causes property damage or gets a reckless driving citation while under the influence, it can impact the charges against them. If a person driving under the influence causes serious harm to another person, it can be classified as a third-degree felony DUI.

If a drunk driver causes death due to an accident, they could face a second-degree felony charge. No matter what kind of DUI charge you are facing, hiring a team of criminal defense attorneys is the best way to protect your freedom and your future.

Underage DUI charges are different and carry different penalties. If you are 21 years or younger with a BAC of 0.02% or more, you could be charged with a DUI and face a driver’s license suspension and a mandatory completion of a drug and alcohol program. There is a zero-tolerance policy in Florida for underage drinking and driving.

What Are the Potential Penalties for a DUI Conviction?

Penalties in DUI cases can be severe and have the potential to impact your life in many ways. The potential penalties you may face depend on what you are charged with and whether you have any prior convictions on your record. Working with a team of defense attorneys is the best way to avoid serious penalties and get your life back on track after a DUI arrest.

Below are the potential penalties for the various DUI offenses:

First Offense

After a first DUI offense, you may be penalized with a fine of up to $1,000 and eight hours to six months in jail. Courts may also require you to complete 50 hours of community service. You could also face a license suspension of up to one year.

Second Offense

A second DUI offense carries penalties of up to $2,000 in fines and up to five years in prison. You may also be required to complete six months of probation and have your vehicle impounded for 30 days. If a judge orders it, you will be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, and your license will be suspended for up to five years. You will also be required to complete a DUI school or alcohol treatment program.

Third Offense

Third DUI offenses carry severe penalties, including fines of up to $5,000 and up to five years in state prison. You could also face a license suspension of up to ten years and have your vehicle impounded for 90 days. You will be required to attend a DUI school or alcohol treatment program as well as a community service program. Depending on your charges, you may be labeled a convicted felon for life.

Fourth Offense

After four or more DUI offenses, the penalties are extreme. If you are convicted, you will face fines of up to $5,000 and up to five years in prison. You could also face five years of probation, a lifetime license suspension, and a 90-day vehicle impound. You will be required to attend a DUI school or alcohol treatment program as well as complete a community service program.

If your behavior caused property damage or bodily injuries to another person, your penalties may be increased. Similarly, you may face further consequences for driving under the influence with a minor in the vehicle. If you have been charged with a DUI, contact our criminal lawyers today to reduce or remove the penalties you are facing.

What Does a DUI Lawyer Do?

No matter what DUI charge you are facing, hiring a DUI lawyer is the first step toward protecting your rights in and out of court. The legal system is notoriously harsh on DUI offenders because of the danger that drunk driving can put others in. Therefore, having a team of criminal defense attorneys on your side is essential.

Below are the steps our team will take when representing you in a DUI case:

Investigating Probable Cause

Not all law enforcement officers follow the correct procedures when arresting or detaining someone. Officers must have probable cause before pulling you over. If you were not speeding, swerving, or driving recklessly, our team could argue that there was no reason to pull you over in the first place.

Examining the Evidence Against You

Prosecutors will use blood tests, breath tests, and field sobriety tests to prove that you were driving under the influence. These tests are not always scientifically accurate, and testing materials and tools can be faulty or misleading. Our lawyers will examine the evidence against you to determine if it could be incorrect.

Negotiating with Prosecutors

In some DUI cases, negotiating with the prosecution to reach a plea deal is the best path forward. Our team will approach prosecutors to discuss the details of your case and determine whether the charges against you can be reduced or removed entirely. In some instances, a plea deal can be reached if you are willing to plead guilty.

Building a Legal Defense Strategy

There are many legal defense strategies our team can use to defend your case, and our attorneys are familiar with them all. We will examine the facts of your case to build a solid legal defense strategy to get you the outcome you deserve.

Representing You in Court

If your case goes to trial, our team will advocate for you before a judge to get your case dismissed or a verdict of not guilty. We will present evidence in your favor, using our legal defense strategy to get the best possible outcome. If you are convicted, our team can negotiate the sentencing terms to avoid jail time and extreme fines.

What Are the Potential Defenses Against a DUI Charge?

While a DUI case might seem like an open-and-shut offense, there are actually many ways to defend yourself against DUI charges. Even in complex DUI cases, our team can choose a legal defense strategy to use and lower or remove the penalties you are facing.

Below are some common DUI defense strategies that may be relevant to your case:

Violation of Miranda Rights

If you are arrested or detained, the police are required to read you your Miranda Rights. If you were not read these rights or you were not given the opportunity to contact a DUI lawyer after an arrest or detainment, there is a chance that the entire case against you will be dismissed.

Lack of Probable Cause

Officers must have probable cause to pull an individual over. Signs of drunk driving include swerving, speeding, excessive braking, or reckless driving. If the prosecution cannot prove that officers had probable cause to pull you over, our team can argue that it was an illegal stop of your vehicle.

Faulty Breath Testing

In most DUI cases, individuals are asked to consent to a breath test to examine their sobriety levels. However, breathalyzers can be faulty, and the readings on these tests aren’t always accurate. Variances in body temperature and certain medical conditions can impact your results, leading to inaccurate testing. Our team can question the legitimacy of these tests.

Inaccurate Field Sobriety Test

Field sobriety tests are another tool officers use to test a person’s sobriety. Tests typically involve the one-leg stand and the walk-and-turn. Some tests, like the finger-to-nose and the recitation of the alphabet, are not standardized tests recognized by the law, making their results inaccurate. Similarly, some field sobriety tests can be done incorrectly, leading to incorrect results.

No Evidence of Driving

Unfortunately, DUI charges can still be assigned even if the car is not actively in motion. If you were charged with a DUI while sitting in your parked vehicle, our team could argue that there is no evidence of you being in physical control of the car at the time of your charge. In many cases, individuals will use their vehicles as shelters while regaining sobriety. Our law firm can convince a jury that there was no intent to drive or endanger anyone.

Can DUI Charges be Lowered?

Even if your charges cannot be dismissed entirely, there are options. Our team can present evidence in your defense to lower the charges against you, making the penalties less severe.

Below are some of the things a DUI attorney on our team can do to lower the impact of a DUI charge:

  • Show the judge your prior driving history. Pulling your records to show that you have no prior criminal record or DUI convictions shows that you are not a criminal and have no previous record of this behavior.
  • Enroll you in a substance abuse program or rehab. Voluntarily enrolling in a program like this shows the court that you are taking these charges seriously.
  • Gather testimonials from friends and family. Not all courts accept these statements, but the ones that do will see proof that this is a one-time incident and an unfortunate mistake.

Should I Consult a DUI Attorney?

Driving over the legal limit can have serious implications on your life for years to come. Jail time, hefty fines, and a license suspension can affect your ability to hold a job or receive an education. If you are facing DUI charges, the best way to protect yourself is by hiring an experienced team of DUI attorneys to represent you in court.

At Alain Rivas & Associates, P.A., we understand how devastating it can be to learn of the criminal charges against you. We will use our 27 years of experience in the legal industry to fight for your rights and get you the outcome you deserve. To receive a free consultation, contact our office today at 407-934-0324.