A Pensacola DUI Lawyer Helps You

  • Understand Florida DUI charges & potential penalties
  • Navigate the complex criminal justice system and secure driving privileges
  • Question the accuracy of breathalyzers and unreliable field tests used against you
  • Challenge the legitimacy of your arrest and file motions to dismiss unlawfully obtained evidence
  • Avoid jail by arguing for alternative sentencing options for DUIs

How Mitkevicius Law, PLLC Makes a Difference in DUI Cases

We’re fearless, experienced, and ready for anything

We won’t let your charges define who you are. At our firm, we offer the following:

  • Free consultations
  • 10+ years of legal experience
  • Responsive counsel
  • A trial-ready mindset that doesn’t force you to settle
  • Personal legal guidance that keeps you informed throughout the process

Florida DUI Laws: Charges & Penalties

Florida DUI charges and penalties range depending on several factors, such as your blood alcohol content (BAC), previous DUI convictions, the length of time between prior offenses, and more. We’ll explain how the law applies to your Pensacola DUI charge and what you’re up against.

Florida DUI Laws

According to § 316.193, Fla. Stat., driving under the influence in Florida involves someone in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substance, or any controlled substance that impairs their normal capabilities.

The legal limit for driving under the influence in Florida is 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood. Florida prohibits driving under the influence of a controlled substance listed in Chapter 893, no matter the amount.

DUI – Implied Consent

In addition, § 316.1932, Fla. Stat. states that any person who operates a motor vehicle automatically gives their consent to submit to an approved chemical test or physical test. While failure to submit can result in additional legal trouble and license suspension, the police must have reasonable cause to believe you were driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.

DUI Offenses & Penalties

A Florida DUI conviction may result in the following:

  • Your First DUI Offense – Up to six months in jail and $500-$1,000 in fines
  • A Second DUI – Up to nine months in jail and $1,000-$2,000 in fines. Mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device for one year.
  • A Third DUI Offense – A third offense that occurs within ten years of a previous conviction results in a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device for two years. A third offense that occurs more than ten years after a prior conviction results in up to 12 months in jail, $2,000-$5,000 in fines, and a mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device for two years.
  • A Fourth or Subsequent DUI– A fourth DUI offense results in a third-degree felony, regardless of how long ago the previous offense occurred. This offense is punishable by a five-year prison sentence.

Florida DUI: Aggravating Factors

In addition to the DUI charges and penalties listed, there are also certain factors that could worsen the outcome of a DUI conviction. These DUI aggravating factors include:

  • DUI Causing Damage to Property or Person – This offense results in a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a one-year prison sentence.
  • DUI Causing Serious Bodily Injury – This offense results in a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.
  • DUI Causing Death – Florida law states that anyone who commits a DUI causing the death of a person or unborn child is guilty of DUI manslaughter, which is a second-degree felony punishable by a mandatory minimum four-year prison sentence. An individual could face first-degree felony charges if, at the time of the crash, the person knew that the crash occurred and failed to provide their information or render aid. A first-degree felony conviction results in up to 30 years.
  • High BAC DUI with a Minor – Anyone who has a BAC of 0.15 or higher and is accompanied by a minor must pay $1,000-$2,000 in fines for the first offense, $2,000-$4,000 for a second offense, and $4,000 for a third or subsequent conviction. In addition to fines, a first offense results in up to nine months in jail and 12 months for a second conviction.

"I can honestly say Mr. Josef and his staff are amazing and took great care of me.

They are really great people and they really care about your case. I went to court today and 7 hours later I got a phone call and email saying all of my charges were dropped and I had serious charges against with years hanging over my head. Mr. Josef and your staff, my family and myself thank you very very much. We love you all and thank you all again so so much. I will refer everyone that needs a good lawyer to you guys and ladies of your law firm. God bless you all."

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Your Florida DUI Defense Options

No matter what you’re facing, you should work with your Florida DUI lawyer to assess your case and identify any weaknesses. Here are some examples of potential DUI defense strategies:

The Police Didn’t Have Probable Cause

Police officers must have probable cause, or a reasonable belief, that you were driving under the influence of alcohol. For example, if a police officer witnesses you swerve across lanes or commit other traffic violations, they may have probable cause to assume you’ve been drinking.

Once they approach your vehicle, they may see bloodshot eyes or hear slurred speech that further informs their belief that you’ve been drinking. However, if none of these facts are present, the police cannot pull you over. If they do, any evidence they obtain, including breathalyzer test results, will be thrown out of your case.

Unreliable Field Sobriety Tests

When a police officer pulls you over, they may request that you perform the following field sobriety tests:

  • The horizontal gaze – In this test, the police officer will have you look at their finger or an object to examine your eyes for signs of intoxication
  • Walk and turn – This test determines a driver’s ability to maintain their balance by walking in a straight line
  • One-leg stand – This is another test to measure balance that involves the driver standing on one leg. The officer will look to see if the driver can maintain their balance throughout the test.

Given that these tests are strictly based on observation, they are not 100% accurate. There could be several reasons why a driver might have bloodshot eyes or poor balance, such as an underlying medical condition the officer was not aware of. Further, officers may not administer these tests correctly. If they don’t, their findings can’t be used in court.

Inaccurate Breathalyzer Test Results

Even a breathalyzer is not 100% accurate. For example, if you have an underlying condition, like acid reflux, the results might be skewed. In other cases, the breathalyzer device might not be properly calibrated. Additionally, the police must follow specific procedures when administering the test, and if they fail to do so, the results will not hold up.