If you see police lights flashing in your rear view mirror and you have taken the wheel after you have been drinking, you could be facing years of trouble. If this is the first time this has happened to you, you could be charged with a DUI misdemeanor. If is it not your first time, you may well be looking at a felony conviction. Fines for a first DUI charge in Florida range from $500 and $1,000, and you can face up to six months in jail. You could be on probation for up to a year with a commitment of up to 50 hours of community service. Your vehicle could be seized for up to 10 days. If you have had DUI convictions before, the stakes are even greater. Your fine could jump to at least $2,000 and possibly as much as $5,000. You could be looking at an absolute minimum of 30 days in jail, with two of them served back-to-back. You could lose your vehicle for three months. If underage, the penalties could be even worse.
DUI penalties in the state of Florida also vary depending on what your BAC – or blood alcohol content – is. When you drink alcohol, your body does not metabolize it the same way it does food. It lingers in your system for a while. When a law enforcement official asks you to take a breath test, the alcohol you have consumed is still there, lingering in your lungs’ air sacs. The breathalyzer measures its concentration per 100 ml of your blood. If the concentration registers at .08 or more, you could be in trouble.
Can this reading be false? Absolutely. Any number of factors can cause a inaccurately high breathalyzer result. The breathalyzer is a machine, and machines sometimes malfunction or err. Breathalyzers can mistake a diabetic condition for alcohol. They can also erroneously register inhaled paint fumes, smokeless tobacco and mouthwash as alcohol.
It is never a good idea to drink and drive. But if you are pulled over by a law enforcement officer, the case is rarely as cut-and-dried as the prosecutor will attempt to make it appear. You need an experienced criminal defense attorney who has the knowledge to sort through the charges against you and find the mitigating factors in your situation. The attorneys at Katz & Phillips can make a huge difference. Our law firm has been defending against DUI charges for many years. We know that one small detail can make the difference between moving on with your life and years’ worth of penalties. Call us at your first opportunity so we can help you.