DUI/DWI Attorney in Clermont, Florida
It is true that many people in Florida are arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated or impaired (DWI). However, just because these offenses have become commonplace does not mean they are not serious.
A drunk driving conviction has a long-lasting negative impact on your life and your future. Employment, professional licensure and certification, housing opportunities, child custody and visitation, and personal relationships all suffer as a result of a criminal record. You should never take a DUI arrest lightly.
For more than 20 years, our criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of D.D. Archer, PA has been helping clients charged with DUI defend their rights and protect their futures. If you live anywhere in Clermont, Florida, as well as Polk County, Sumter County, Lake County, or Seminole County, contact us today. We are here to help.
What Should I Know About
DUI Charges in Florida?
As is true in all states, to drive legally in Florida requires a blood alcohol content (BAC) of less than .08. If your BAC is .08 or above, you are guilty of what is referred to as “per se DUI.” That means you do not need to demonstrate impaired driving—your BAC alone is enough to convict you. If you are under the age of 21, a BAC of only .02 or more is a per se DUI.
You may also be arrested for DUI if you exhibit impaired driving ability after consuming or using alcohol or drugs, including prescription or over-the-counter medications. The law was established to protect others by prohibiting the operation of a vehicle by those who should not be operating one due to drugs or alcohol.
Keep in mind that in Florida, you need not be actually driving a vehicle to be charged with DUI. Whether the engine is running or the keys are in the ignition, where you are seated in the vehicle, and whether you are awake or asleep when law enforcement arrives are all factors in determining if you were in actual physical control of a vehicle. Actual physical control is the legal standard applied.
What Are My Rights
If Stopped for DUI?
Law enforcement often set up sobriety checkpoints in Florida to randomly check drivers for signs of driving under the influence. These checkpoints must be published in advance. If you are stopped, the officer has only three minutes to let you go or arrest you for DUI. Moreover, if you see a sobriety checkpoint ahead, you can turn off the roadway so long as your turn is legal. That means you can’t make a U-turn, but you can turn onto a different street at an intersection before you get to the checkpoint.
If you are otherwise stopped for DUI, law enforcement must have probable cause for pulling you over, such as crossing the center line, running a light, or having a broken taillight. In any case, when you are stopped, you will be asked for your license, registration, and proof of liability insurance. You should be courteous and produce these items for the officer.
You are not, however, required to answer any questions asked by the officer, such as: how much have you had to drink? Where are you going? Where are you coming from? You should politely decline to answer any questions without having an attorney present. That is your right under the constitution, and you should exercise it.
Can I Refuse a Sobriety Test?
The officer may ask you to perform one or more field sobriety tests. These include walking a straight line and turning, focusing your eyes on a moving object, or counting backward. You can and should refuse to take any field sobriety tests. They are not reliable, and you run the risk of a poor performance based on physical limitations or disability, fear, flashing lights, uneven surfaces, and more. A poor performance can be used as evidence against you but refusing to take a field sobriety test may not.
You may not refuse to take a test of your breath, blood, or urine without consequence. As a driver on Florida’s roadways, you have given law enforcement implied consent to undergo drug and alcohol tests upon request from law enforcement so long as there was probable cause for the stop. If you refuse, you will lose your driver’s license immediately for one year for a first refusal and face more serious consequences for subsequent refusals. Any penalties you face for the refusal are in addition to any you face if you are convicted of DUI.
What Are the Penalties for
a DUI Conviction in Florida?
A suspension of your driver’s license, fines, completion of substance abuse programs, victim impact panel participation, community service, and incarceration are all possible penalties you face for a first DUI conviction. You may also be required to carry high-risk auto insurance and install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. You will pay steeper penalties for subsequent DUI convictions, including the possibility of prison rather than jail and permanent revocation of your driver’s license.
Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you in a DUI charge may help you avoid a DUI conviction. If you are convicted, your lawyer may be able to mitigate the severity of the penalties ordered by the judge.
What Is an Ignition Interlock Device?
An ignition interlock device (IID) is a breathalyzer installed in your car that requires you to blow into it for a reading before your vehicle will start. Data from the device is recorded, stored, and reviewed to monitor compliance with the terms of your conviction penalties. With most convictions, you are not allowed to consume alcohol for a period of time.
You are responsible for the cost of installing, maintaining, calibrating, and monitoring the IID. You will also be required to purchase SR-22 auto insurance. Because it covers high-risk drivers, the premiums are significantly more expensive than regular insurance.
DUI/DWI Attorney Serving Clermont, Florida
If you’ve been arrested for DUI in and around Clermont, Florida, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed. Remember, you don’t have to go through this alone. Put a seasoned criminal defense lawyer in your corner. Reach out to our team at the Law Offices of D.D. Archer, PA right away for a one-on-one consultation. We’ll help you strategize a strong defense and move forward with confidence.