Drunk Driving / DUI
Drunk driving, also known as driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI), is a prominent issue and problem in the United States and Florida is no exception. Though progress has been made since the 1980s and 1990s, DUI arrests remain at a high rate despite countless awareness programs. Unfortunately, the high rate of DUI in Florida is due largely to the misunderstanding or misinterpretation of Florida DUI law by residents of Florida and its visitors.
In Florida, you can experience a DUI arrest in many more scenarios than driving with alcohol levels over the legal limit. A qualified, experienced Brooksville criminal defense can fight your DUI charge from Hernando County or the surrounding areas while educating you on your alleged offense.
DUI Defense Attorney in Brooksville, Florida
A DUI conviction in Florida can severely affect your time, finances, and resources – and lack of knowledge of the law is not a valid defense or even an excuse. If you have been charged with DUI or a related offense in Hernando County, Sumter County, Citrus County, or the surrounding areas, including Spring Hill, Brooksville, Timber Pines, Homosassa Springs, Floral City, and Bushnell, The Law Office of Ashley Aulls, P.A. wants to assist in educating you on your DUI charges while fighting them at court.
Ashley Aulls has spent a lifetime around legal professionals in his family and has practiced law since 1996. He believes in the open communication with and education of each DUI client he takes on. To find out what The Law Office of Ashley Aulls, P.A. can do for your Spring Hill area DUI case, call (352) 593-4115 today to set up your initial case consultation.
Florida DUI Information Center
- Definition of DUI in Florida
- Florida DUI and Actual Physical Control
- Implied Consent and Florida Law
- Hernando County Area DUI Administrative Proceedings
- Florida DUI Offenses in Hernando, Citrus, and Sumter County
- Penalties for Florida DUI Offenses
Definition of DUI in Florida
The definition of DUI in Florida is found in Fla. Stat. § 316.193, which states that any person driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle on Florida roads while under the influence of alcohol, inhalants, or controlled substances to the extent that his or her normal faculties are impaired, or whose blood or breath alcohol content (BAC) exceeds the legal limit of .08, is guilty of driving under the influence (DUI). The BAC limit of .08 means .08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or .08 or more grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.
Fla. Stat. § 316.1934 defines normal faculties as what one needs to perform the general acts of daily life, such as walking and talking. This means you can be arrested and charged with DUI even if your BAC is not over the legal limit. Having a BAC above the legal limit is known as “per se” DUI and is an automatic arrest.
Drugged DUI involving inhalants, prescription drugs, or illicit drugs like marijuana or cocaine is more subjective to the normal faculties clause, as there are no specific levels indicating drug impairment. Having a prescription is not a valid DUI drug defense. An experienced Hernando County drug crime defense attorney can against all of these elements and work to get your DUI case dismissed.
Florida DUI and Actual Physical Control
Note that the definition for DUI is not simply that you must be actually driving under the influence. The statute also states that it is a DUI offense to be in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of substances like alcohol, inhalants, and drugs. Actual physical control is a complicated legal matter determined by a number of factors in Florida, including:
- The location of the defendant in or around the car and whether such location would enable easy operation
- If the keys were in the ignition or in actual or constructive possession of the defendant
- Whether the engine was on
- The ability of the car to be driven
- Whether the hood of the car was giving off heat due to recent operation
- The location of the vehicle
Due to the statute allowing for actual physical control of DUI, you do not have to be driving or even have the intent to drive in order to be arrested for DUI in Florida. For instance, if you are trying to sleep in the back seat of your car in the bar parking lot in order to sober up, you can still be charged with DUI. An experienced DUI defense attorney serving Hernando County can use the definition of actual physical control as a defense strategy in some cases by showing all necessary elements of control were not present.
Implied Consent and Florida Law
When it comes to breath, blood, urine, or other chemical testing for DUI, Florida is an implied consent state. This means that simply by driving on Florida roads, you are giving your consent to DUI BAC testing should you be stopped for drunk driving. Since you can’t be forced to take the tests due to your Fourth Amendment rights save for exigent circumstances, you can technically still refuse the tests – but not without consequences.
According to Fla. Stat. § 316.1932, a first refusal to a DUI test, such as a DUI breath test, comes with an automatic driver’s license suspension for a year, with or without conviction. A subsequent refusal is an 18-month suspension and a misdemeanor offense. Additionally, the refusal to take the BAC test or other DUI test can be held against you as evidence in court. Refusal to take the test gives the prosecution less evidence, and it is possible to fight the suspension in an administrative license suspension. Before refusing to take or consenting to a DUI chemical test of any kind, it is best to invoke your right to speak with an experienced Hernando County DUI defense attorney.
Hernando County Area DUI Administrative Proceedings
When you refuse to take a BAC or other DUI chemical test, or when you get a citation for a per se DUI, there are administrative penalties that apply to your license and are separate from any criminal penalties. The refusal penalties are a one-year suspension for a first refusal and an 18-month suspension for a second. The per se DUI administrative penalties for a BAC of .08 or higher are 6 months for a first citation and one year for subsequent per se DUI citations. Since these penalties are handled by the Florida DMV, administrative, and completely separate from criminal penalties, they are also fought in separate proceedings.
There are two types of DMV administrative hearings for DUI you can request for a review of your suspension by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles according to Fla. Stat. §§ 322.2615 and 322.64. An informal review is when a DMV hearing officer goes over the evidence and materials submitted by the arresting officer and the accused to determine if the suspension of DUI was justified and if all legal procedures were followed. At a formal administrative license review hearing, you may have a qualified Brooksville defense for DUI lawyer by your side, as well as present and cross-examine witnesses and other evidence.
The hearing request must be made in writing to the appropriate clerk within 10 days of your DUI arrest. In addition to possibly increasing your chances of having your Florida driving privileges restored, pursuing a formal hearing with your experienced Hernando County criminal defense lawyer specializing in DUI will give him a chance to see what defenses may or may not potentially work in the criminal process. As the DMV administrative hearing for the DUI process in your case is separate from the criminal proceedings, you have nothing to lose at the DUI administrative license suspension hearing.
Florida DUI Offenses in Hernando, Citrus, and Sumter County
Often, the existence of per se DUI in Florida makes a DUI charge seem deceptively simple. However, with each subsequent DUI penalties increase and sanctions are added, and DUI can be involved in other situations that actually upgrade the offense to a different charge. The types of DUI charges you could face in Hernando County or the surrounding areas in Citrus County, Sumter County, or even Pasco County include the following:
- First DUI
- Second DUI
- Third DUI or Fourth DUI – aka Felony DUI
- DUI Under 21
- Commercial DUI
- Drugged DUI
- DUI Property Damage
- DUI Serious Bodily Injury
- DUI Manslaughter
- Felony DUI
The penalties for these offenses vary greatly according to whether it is a misdemeanor or felony offense, the class of the offense, and if there are any mandatory sanctions by statute. To protect your rights and your future from these charges, the services of an experienced defense lawyer that handles DUIs in the Hernando County area are highly recommended. A qualified Brooksville drunk driving defense attorney can also handle DUI cases involving the following:
- DUI Reduction to Reckless Driving / Wet Reckless
- DUI Test Refusal
- DUI Intoxilyzer 8000
- DUI Field Sobriety Tests
- DUI Blood Test or DUI Breath Test
- DUI Checkpoints
- FR-44 Insurance for DUI
Penalties for Florida DUI Offenses
For a simple DUI, that is a first, second, third, fourth, or subsequent DUI with no accident or other aggravating factors, the statutory penalties depend on the class of the offense – but the types of sanctions are pretty much the same. Simple drunk driving charges usually come with sanctions like community service, a criminal license suspension or revocation, an administrative license suspension or revocation, vehicle impoundment, DUI school, and the installation of an ignition interlock device. Statutory penalties for simple DUI can include fines from $500 – $5,000 and up to six months or five years in jail, depending on the offense.
If property damage, bodily injury, death, or other factors are involved, they are considered aggravating circumstances and will increase the DUI penalties you face. DUI with property damage is a first-degree misdemeanor that comes with up to a year in jail and/or $1,000 in fines. DUI with serious bodily injury is generally a felony of the third degree and can result in up to $5,000 in fines and five years of prison. DUI manslaughter is generally considered a second-degree felony without additional aggravating circumstances such as hit-and-run and is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and $10,000 in fines. For any DUI offense, an experienced criminal defense lawyer taking DUIs is strongly recommended.
Resources for Florida DUI in the Hernando County Area
Hernando County DMV Guide – This links to the Hernando County page on the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles’ website, where you can get information regarding your license and certain traffic offenses, including DUI.
Hernando County Sheriff’s Office – The office of the Hernando County sheriff is committed to the needs of Hernando County citizens, including maintaining peace and order, safeguarding life and property, and protecting individual rights. Follow this link to Sheriff’s FAQ page where you can find answers to questions about DUI and other traffic offenses.18900 Cortez Blvd
Brooksville, FL 34601
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) – This national organization is committed to ending drunk driving and the $132 billion financial impact it has, as well as the impact on countless family, friends, classmates, and coworkers. Visit this site for information on DUI as a whole, as well as information specifically for Florida.MADD of Hernando County
6361 Boxwood St
Brooksville, FL 34602
The Law Office of Ashley Aulls, P.A. | Drunk Driving Defense Lawyer in Hernando County
If you have been arrested and charged with a Florida DUI offense in Brooksville, North Weeki Wachee, High Point, Hernando Beach, Hill ‘n Dale, Inverness Highlands, Sugarmill Woods, Lecanto, Wildwood, Lake Panasoffkee, Bushnell, or the surrounding areas in Hernando County, Citrus County, or Sumter County, contact experienced DUI defense attorney Ashley Aulls. He will fight to protect your rights and your future while maintaining open communication and ensuring you understand the process. Set up your consultation with The Law Office of Ashley Aulls, P.A., by calling (352) 593-4115 today.