Driving Under the Influence in Florida is serious business. Penalties are harsh and have grown harsher. If you are convicted of DUI you have a lengthy term of reporting probation, a lengthy revocation of your driving privileges, thousands of dollars in fines and costs, DUI school, vehicle immobilization and community service. Not to mention the numerous other court imposed obligations. And all this for first offenders!! If you repeat, courts are mandated to impose mandatory jail terms and license revocations of 5 0r 10 years and in some cases permanently. DUI is nothing to take lightly.
DUI is highly technical in nature due to the overlap of several different areas of law and science. Typically, DUI chemical test evidence is done by breath analysis instrumentation. In Florida, the breath analyzer of choice is the CMI, Intoxilyzer 8000. The 8000 came into service in 2006 and has had a bumpy ride so far. To read more about breath testing check out the CHEMICAL TESTING PAGE.
DUI prosecutions can also involve blood and urine analysis. Blood can be analyzed for alcohol or drugs. Urine is tested only for drugs. No alcohol case in Florida can be prosecuted based on a urine alcohol test.
DUI is a two column process.
Column A is being charged by the state and being brought before the court. If guilty, the judge will imposed the state mandated sentence with all the terms discussed above.
Column B is administrative. The administrative part of most DUI charges begin at arrest. If you are arrested and blow over the limit, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will suspend you license of six months. It is little known that if you repeat and blow over a second time, the Department will suspend your license for one year. It is also not widely known that if you take your breath test case to trial and win, you can have the administrative suspension for blowing over the limit removed from your driving record.
If you refuse any law enforcement request to submit to testing you lose your license for one year. If you refuse a second time the length of suspension is 18 months.
Every first offender is entitled to a hardship permit. The Department gives a choice when it comes to hardship permits. Upon arrest, the citation (also known as a Notice of Suspension) is itself a 10 day permit to drive with no restrictions. Within 10 days of your arrest you can choose to fight the suspension and have it removed from your driving record or you can give up the right to contest the suspension and receive an instant hardship permit. The trade off is that the suspension stays on your driving record permanently. If you fight and win, the administrative suspension disappears. If you fight and lose certain consequences attach including have to wait a period of no driving before you can apply for a hardship permit.
The Canet Firm has a long standing reputation for DUI defense specialization along with the other representation services offered. If you have been arrested for DUI, contact us. We can help you get out from underneath a serious problem.
Look for other answers to your DUI questions on the BLOG or the PODCASTS.
IMPORTANT DUI STATUTES AND LAWS
316.193 Driving under the influence; penalties.—
(1) A person is guilty of the offense of driving under the influence and is subject to punishment as provided in subsection (2) if the person is driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle within this state and:
(2)(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b), subsection (3), or subsection (4), any person who is convicted of a violation of subsection (1) shall be punished:
1. By a fine of:
2. By imprisonment for:
(3) Any person:
(c) Who, by reason of such operation, causes or contributes to causing:
3. The death of any human being or unborn child commits DUI manslaughter, and commits:
For purposes of this subsection, the term “unborn child” has the same meaning as provided in s. 775.021(5). A person who is convicted of DUI manslaughter shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 4 years.
(4) Any person who is convicted of a violation of subsection (1) and who has a blood-alcohol level or breath-alcohol level of 0.15 or higher, or any person who is convicted of a violation of subsection (1) and who at the time of the offense was accompanied in the vehicle by a person under the age of 18 years, shall be punished:
(a) By a fine of:
(b) By imprisonment for:
For the purposes of this subsection, only the instant offense is required to be a violation of subsection (1) by a person who has a blood-alcohol level or breath-alcohol level of 0.15 or higher.
(6) With respect to any person convicted of a violation of subsection (1), regardless of any penalty imposed pursuant to subsection (2), subsection (3), or subsection (4):
3. For purposes of this paragraph, the term “evidence-based program” means a program that satisfies the requirements of at least two of the following:
For the purposes of this section, any conviction for a violation of s. 327.35; a previous conviction for the violation of former s. 316.1931, former s. 860.01, or former s. 316.028; or a previous conviction outside this state for driving under the influence, driving while intoxicated, driving with an unlawful blood-alcohol level, driving with an unlawful breath-alcohol level, or any other similar alcohol-related or drug-related traffic offense, is also considered a previous conviction for violation of this section. However, in satisfaction of the fine imposed pursuant to this section, the court may, upon a finding that the defendant is financially unable to pay either all or part of the fine, order that the defendant participate for a specified additional period of time in public service or a community work project in lieu of payment of that portion of the fine which the court determines the defendant is unable to pay. In determining such additional sentence, the court shall consider the amount of the unpaid portion of the fine and the reasonable value of the services to be ordered; however, the court may not compute the reasonable value of services at a rate less than the federal minimum wage at the time of sentencing.
(9) A person who is arrested for a violation of this section may not be released from custody:
(13) If personnel of the circuit court or the sheriff do not immobilize vehicles, only immobilization agencies that meet the conditions of this subsection shall immobilize vehicles in that judicial circuit.
(a) The immobilization agency responsible for immobilizing vehicles in that judicial circuit shall be subject to strict compliance with all of the following conditions and restrictions:
1. Any immobilization agency engaged in the business of immobilizing vehicles shall provide to the clerk of the court a signed affidavit attesting that the agency:
2. The person who immobilizes a vehicle must:
(14) As used in this chapter, the term:
316.1932 Tests for alcohol, chemical substances, or controlled substances; implied consent; refusal.—
2. The Alcohol Testing Program within the Department of Law Enforcement is responsible for the regulation of the operation, inspection, and registration of breath test instruments utilized under the driving and boating under the influence provisions and related provisions located in this chapter and chapters 322 and 327. The program is responsible for the regulation of the individuals who operate, inspect, and instruct on the breath test instruments utilized in the driving and boating under the influence provisions and related provisions located in this chapter and chapters 322 and 327. The program is further responsible for the regulation of blood analysts who conduct blood testing to be utilized under the driving and boating under the influence provisions and related provisions located in this chapter and chapters 322 and 327. The program shall:
Nothing in this section shall be construed to supersede provisions in this chapter and chapters 322 and 327. The specifications in this section are derived from the power and authority previously and currently possessed by the Department of Law Enforcement and are enumerated to conform with the mandates of chapter 99-379, Laws of Florida.
4. Upon the request of the person tested, full information concerning the results of the test taken at the direction of the law enforcement officer shall be made available to the person or his or her attorney. Full information is limited to the following:
Full information does not include manuals, schematics, or software of the instrument used to test the person or any other material that is not in the actual possession of the state. Additionally, full information does not include information in the possession of the manufacturer of the test instrument.
322.2615 Suspension of license; right to review.—
(b) The suspension under paragraph (a) shall be pursuant to, and the notice of suspension shall inform the driver of, the following:
(7) In a formal review hearing under subsection (6) or an informal review hearing under subsection (4), the hearing officer shall determine by a preponderance of the evidence whether sufficient cause exists to sustain, amend, or invalidate the suspension. The scope of the review shall be limited to the following issues:
(a) If the license was suspended for driving with an unlawful blood-alcohol level or breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or higher:
(b) If the license was suspended for refusal to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test:
(8) Based on the determination of the hearing officer pursuant to subsection (7) for both informal hearings under subsection (4) and formal hearings under subsection (6), the department shall:
(10) A person whose driver license is suspended under subsection (1) or subsection (3) may apply for issuance of a license for business or employment purposes only if the person is otherwise eligible for the driving privilege pursuant to s. 322.271.