TAMPA CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY
SENIOR PARTNER AT NELSON, BISCONTI AND MCCLAIN, LLC
In Florida driving/traffic offenses can be either misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the severity of the event and the facts of the occurrence. The information contained in this website was developed specifically for you to be able to learn more about your specific Florida traffic/driving offense, and what your options are to fight it and/or reduce the charges against you. I have over 33 years of criminal law experience in the Tampa Bay area and stand ready to defend you to the fullest extent possible, seeking the most favorable resolution of your current situation. From traffic tickets to DUI Manslaughter, together we can quickly develop a strategic defense for your case. Please use the links contained on this page for more information on specific Florida traffic offenses.
Whether it is your first, second, third or fourth DUI, facing DUI charges in Florida can be a difficult circumstance to deal with. The complex laws, penalties and sanctions surrounding DUI arrests in Florida can be confusing and tiring to deal with. I know from experience that when most people get out of jail on a DUI charge they want to know if they will be able to continue to drive for work and other necessary driving. Here is some helpful information regarding that and why you should strongly consider retaining my services. Claim Your FREE DUI Case Review
DUI- Administrative Sanctions
After most DUI arrests, a law enforcement officer shall issue to the arrestee a DUI citation which also serves as a notice of suspension. If an arrestee provided two (2) valid breath test results of a .08 or above, his or her driving privileges in the State of Florida shall be suspended for six (6) months upon a first offense and one (1) year if previously suspended for blowing a .08 or above. If an arrestee refuses a breath or urine test, his or her driving privileges shall be suspended for one (1) year upon a first refusal and eighteen (18) months upon a second refusal. It is also a first degree misdemeanor if found guilty of refusing a breath or urine test a second time. See Fla. Stat. 322.2615.
In more rare circumstances, if a driver appears at a hospital or other medical facility and there is a reasonable cause to believe he or she was driving while under the influence he or she shall have been deemed to have given his or her consent to an approved blood test. The refusal to submit to a blood test shall result in the same sanctions as cited above for refusing a breath or urine test. See Fla. Stat. 316.1932 (I) (C). In the event the blood test results are determined to be at a level of a .08 or higher, the person's driving privileges shall be suspended for a six (6) months if a first offense and for one (1) year if a second. See Fla. Stat. 316.1932 (C) and 322.2615 (I) (A).
Ability to drive- 10- day permit
In most instances, a person arrested for DUI shall be given a notice of suspension by the arresting officer which shall also serve as the arrestee's permit to drive for ten (10 ) days beginning the day after its issuance. This permit should be kept with the driver when he or she drives.
Extending one's ability to drive-40- day permit
Within ten (10) days of a person's arrest for DUI there exists a right to request either a formal or informal review hearing with the Bureau of Administrative Reviews which is a part of the Division of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. By making application for hearing within the proscribed ten (10) day period, the Department shall issue a temporary driving permit to the driver or his attorney. The Department is required to set this hearing within thirty (30) days of their receipt of the application for hearing. From the date of the conclusion of the hearing, the Department has seven (7) working days to issue an order either sustaining or invalidating the suspension. The expiration date of the temporary driving permit is generally calculated upon the estimated amount of days in which the Department shall set the hearing date, plus the approximate seven (7) working days it may take the hearing officer to rule. The permit issued shall authorize driving for business or employment use only. See Fla. Stat. 322.2615 (4) (5)(6)(7). If the Department invalidates the suspension, the order shall allow the driver to obtain a valid license free of cost. If the Department sustains the suspension, the driver has the right to appeal by filing a petition for writ of certiorari to the circuit court in the county wherein such person resides or where the hearing was conducted. Unfortunately, the filing of the petition does not stay (or delay) the suspension period. See Fla. Stat. 322.2615 (13).
Notably, if the suspended person is found not guilty at trial of the DUI, the Department shall invalidate a suspension for driving with an unlawful blood-alcohol level or breath- alcohol level. See Fla. Stat. 322.2615 (16).
A person who unlawfully refuses the breath, blood or urine test has no corresponding ability to invalidate his or her refusal suspension if he or she is later found not guilty at trial.
Post Conviction (for DUI) - Hardship License
A person convicted of a first time DUI shall receive a driver's license revocation of six (6) to twelve (12) months. The common practice in the Tampa Bay area is to receive the minimum revocation period of six (6) months upon a first offense. Unlike the administrative suspension which begins the day after the issuance of the notice of suspension, the criminal court revocation begins the date in court when the Judge pronounces sentence. If at the time of the plea and sentence to DUI the driver/ defendant has already completed DUI counter-attack school, he or she shall be immediately eligible for a business purpose only or employment only (hardship) license. It is important for the defendant who pleads guilty or no contest in criminal court to have transportation away from the courthouse, because technically the six (6) month revocation ordered by the criminal court judge begins upon the judge's oral pronouncement in court. A person found guilty of a second or subsequent DUI shall not be eligible for either type of hardship license. Furthermore, a person who is found by the Department to have refused a lawful breath, urine or blood test for the second time shall not be eligible for a hardship license. See Fla. Stat. 322.282 and Fla. Stat. 316.1939. Claim Your FREE DUI Case Review
DUI Laws and Sanctions
The DUI Laws and Sanctions one faces are not only strict, but also complex:
Did you know that the police could arrest a person for a misdemeanor DUI and the State Attorney's Office can later enhance that charge to a felony?
Did you know while most first-time DUI offenders often receive probation, a first offense could be punishable by six (6) to nine (9) to twelve (12) months in jail depending upon the facts of your case?
Did you know that first-time DUI offenders may face enhanced fines and mandatory placement of the ignition interlock device if one's breath or blood alcohol level reaches a level of 0.15 or higher or when one's passengers are under the age of 18 years.
Did you know certain types of second or third- time DUI offenders face mandatory jail time? Did you also know that a certain number of these offenders may escape mandatory jail time at the discretion of the judge if they complete residential alcohol or drug treatment?
Did you know certain types of second or third- time DUI offenders face one (1) to two (2) or more years of the ignition interlock device on their vehicles whether or not they refused the breath test or whether or not they even blew over the .08 legal limit?
Did you know certain types of third- time DUI offenders may be charged with a felony?
Did you know certain types of second and third- time DUI offenders face five (5) to ten (10) years driver's license revocation? Did you also know that DUI offenses and certain types of alcohol related offenses from other states may be used against you in determining how long your driver's license shall be revoked?
Did you know a fourth-time DUI offender faces a felony charge, notwithstanding how long ago any prior conviction was? Did you also know that a fourth- time DUI conviction results in a mandatory revocation of one's license for life? However, a hardship license may be applied for after 5 years.
Did you know that a person charged with DUI who causes serious bodily injury to another while committing a DUI faces a felony charge with the possibility of serving up to five (5) years in the Florida State Prison?
Did you know that a person charged with DUI who causes the death of another while committing the DUI faces up to fifteen (15) years in the Florida State Prison and up to thirty (30) years if at the time of the crash, the person knew or should have known of the crash and failed to stop and give information and render aid to the injured? Did you also know that a person convicted of DUI manslaughter shall be sentenced to a minimum mandatory term of four (4) years in prison?
Other Traffic Offenses
These inquiries only scratch the surface of the varying sanctions, penalties and punishments associated with Florida's DUI laws. For some quick help in finding important answers request my FREE INFORMATION SHEET.