According to the State Justice Department, in Florida in 2012 there were 61,852 arrests stemming from driving under the influence (DUI). Given the common occurrence of this type of legal problem, our criminal defense team in Broward presents a few key points related to DUI. Driving under the influence of alcoholic beverages, chemical substances or […]
DUI Defense Lawyer Broward County
D.U.I., or Driving Under the Influence is one of the most prevalent criminal charges in the state of Florida. A DUI charge in Broward, Dade, or Palm Beach County carries with it a tremendous amount of cost, both emotionally and monetarily. DUI can be charged as either a misdemeanor (most common) or a felony depending upon the particular facts and circumstances of the arrest.
There are two “tracks” that you should pay attention to with regard to your DUI charge:
I. LICENSE / DMV
In most cases, your DUI citation (ticket) is your license for the first TEN days from the date that you were charged. This is not a FULL license and is not valid if you did not have a previously valid driver’s license. The ticket will allow you to drive for work, school, church / religious, doctor / medical, or grocery store ONLY. It is not valid for any other purpose.
Driver’s Licence Suspension
When you are charged with a DUI in Florida, your driver’s license will be suspended in MOST cases. This is an AUTOMATIC suspension that is imposed by the State of Florida (DHSMV) and has nothing to do with the court system. When you are charged with DUI in Dade, Broward, Palm Beach (or any other county in Florida) and your breath alcohol level is greater than the legal limit of 0.08 g/210 L, your license will be suspended for a period of SIX months from the date of arrest. This suspension time is completely SEPARATE from any license suspension that the COURT may impose. If you refuse a breath, blood or urine test, your driver’s license will be suspended for ONE YEAR (first refusal) or EIGHTEEN MONTHS (if previously suspended for a refusal). You can also be charged with a separate misdemeanor crime if you refuse breath, blood, or urine and have previously refused any of those tests.
This is referred to as a Formal Review Hearing. It is your only opportunity to challenge the initial suspension of your driver’s license. If you do not request this hearing within ten days from the date that the citation was issued, you will lose the opportunity to have a hearing to challenge the suspension.
As a criminal defense lawyer who has handled hundreds of DUI cases in Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties for more than fifteen years, I have attended several hundred of these hearings. Challenging the initial license suspension is important because it provides an opportunity to have the suspension overturned and your full license restored while your case is pending in court. Additionally, when I file for the Formal Review Hearing to challenge the license suspension, I will obtain a driving permit which will allow you to drive for approximately six weeks after your ten days driving on the DUI citation ends.
Having your driver’s license suspension overturned by way of a successful Formal Review Hearing will enable you to have your full driving privileges restored while your case is pending in court. Remember, this has NO bearing on your court case. If your driver’s license suspension is NOT overturned, you will have either a 30 day period (for a breath or blood greater than 0.08 g/210L) or a 90 day period (if you refused a breath, blood, or urine test) of HARD TIME. This is a term that refers to a period of time where NO DRIVING WHATSOEVER is permitted. After this period of “hard time” you may be eligible to obtain a hardship driver’s license while your DUI case is pending in court. A criminal defense attorney can assist you in obtaining this hardship license by explaining the procedures involved.
It is very important to retain a criminal defense attorney who has had extensive experience with DUI cases in order to provide yourself with the best opportunity to restore your driving privileges while your DUI case is pending in court. As I stated before, I have more than fifteen years’ experience handling DUI cases in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties.
The second “track” for a DUI case involves the court system. After the process regarding your driver’s license has commenced, your case will be given a case number and will be assigned to a judge either at the County (misdemeanor) or Circuit (felony) level.
The first court hearing that your case will be scheduled for is called an arraignment. In a criminal case, an arraignment is a setting during which a defendant, sometimes through his or her attorney, will enter a plea of either GUILTY, NOT GUILTY, or NO CONTEST. In a DUI case, I will file a written plea of not guilty, demand a trial by jury, demand discovery (this is all the information that the State will use to prosecute your case, including police reports, video tape evidence, and other evidence). The case will then be set for a status hearing of some type (these hearings are given various names depending on the county in which the arrest was made). I will attend these hearings. Depending on the county and judge presiding, your presence may or may not be required at these hearings.
A DUI case will take anywhere from a few months to a year or more to resolve, depending on several factors. Results for a DUI case range from complete dismissal of the charges, to reduction of the charge (typically, a DUI charge, if reduced, is reduced to reckless driving), or a resolution involving a conviction for DUI. An experienced criminal defense attorney is your most valuable resource in obtaining the best result possible for your DUI case. I have achieved many favorable results in DUI cases through the use of motion practice and jury trial.
Get Help from an Experienced DUI Defense Lawyer
There are many tools available to an experienced criminal defense attorney to assist you in obtaining a favorable result in your DUI case. Whether it involves filing motions to suppress or dismiss to remove or limit some or all of the State’s evidence, negotiating with the prosecutor to have the charges dropped or downgraded, or conducting a jury trial, I will carefully evaluate your DUI case to decide which option will allow us to achieve the best result with the least possible risk. I take pride in providing individual attention and careful consideration to each client’s DUI case.
Contact a Broward DUI Defense Attorney
Please call me at 954.522.9997 for a free consultation so that we can explore all of the possibilities with regard to your DUI charge.
From the DUI Attorney Blog:
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