Belle Isle DUI Lawyer

Many fatal vehicle accidents result from driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Like most states, Florida law enforcement agencies devote substantial resources to curbing drunk drivers.

The punishment for driving under the influence can be severe and varies depending on several factors. If you are accused of a DUI, do not try to handle the charge without contacting a local defense attorney. A Belle Isle DUI lawyer knows the law inside and out and could help you escape the harshest consequences of an impaired driving offense.

What Happens After DUI Charges?

It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol or ingesting drugs in an amount that impairs driving performance. If a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 or above, they can be charged with a DUI. A driver with a minor in the vehicle or a BAC of .15 or above faces enhanced penalties.

According to Florida Statute § 316.193(9), a person detained under suspicion of DUI cannot be released until they are no longer impaired. The law states a person is no longer impaired if their BAC is .05 or less, or at least eight hours have passed since their arrest. While in custody, a driver should avoid speaking with police about the incident or admit to drinking, and instead ask to speak to an attorney.

Anyone charged with a DUI crime faces administrative and criminal proceedings. Administrative proceedings lead to fines, driver’s license suspensions, and the requirement to install an ignition interlock device. The criminal proceedings could lead to additional fines, jail or prison sentences, probation, and mandatory drug or alcohol treatment. A Belle Isle drunk driving defense attorney could explain the potential consequences of a charge in a specific case.

Enhanced Penalties for DUI-Involved Accidents

The potential consequences are harsh when someone driving under the influence causes property damage, injury, or death. According to Florida Statute § 316.193(3), the accused could receive penalties in addition to those related to the underlying DUI offense. If the accident caused:

  • Property damage or physical injury, the accused could face a first-degree misdemeanor charge with a potential penalty of up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine
  • Serious bodily injury, the charge could be a third-degree felony with potential penalties including up to five years of imprisonment and a $5,000 fine
  • Someone’s death, the crime is DUI manslaughter, and a defendant faces a possible 15-year jail sentence and a $10,000 fine
  • Death and the impaired driver left the scene, they face a first-degree felony charge and up to 30 years in prison

A Belle Isle attorney defending a DUI accident charge could assert the accident reporting privilege as a defense. The law requires a driver to remain at the scene of an accident but someone who has been drinking might incriminate themselves by answering certain questions. The officer responding to an accident scene must inform a driver when they are “changing hats” from investigating an accident to investigating the driver for DUI. Failing to handle the disclosure properly could lead to a court throwing out the evidence the officer collected.

Defenses to DUI Charges

A failed BAC test and an arrest for DUI do not necessarily mean the driver will be convicted of the charges. Sometimes drivers think the most efficient response to a DUI arrest is to plead guilty and face the punishment, but there are multiple ways to defend a DUI charge.

If the DUI arrest resulted from a traffic stop, a Belle Isle attorney could investigate why the police stopped the vehicle. If the police dash cam or other evidence does not show clear indications of driver impairment, the stop might not have been legal. A lawyer could also challenge the accuracy of the BAC reading by questioning whether the police properly maintained the equipment they used and seeking proof the officer had adequate training to carry out the test.

Sometimes the prosecutor has a persuasive case with strong evidence. Enrollment in a diversion program rather than criminal prosecution is sometimes an option in these cases. In others, it could be possible to negotiate a plea agreement that avoids the harshest penalties for the crime.

Contact a Belle Isle DUI Attorney After a DUI Arrest

If you were arrested for DUI, do not admit any wrongdoing. Contact a Belle Isle DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Working with a diligent attorney from The Umansky Law Firm could mitigate the consequences. Place a call to us or fill out a contact form.

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    Belle Isle DUI Lawyer