When you’ve been arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence and aren’t sure where to turn, contact a qualified DUI lawyer in Sarasota for help protecting your future.
A driving under the influence (DUI) conviction could have a devastating impact on your life. Florida law employs harsh punishments for those convicted of DUIs, and you’ll want to do everything possible to avoid a conviction. Your Sarasota DUI lawyer will work diligently to build a powerful criminal defense strategy so you can return to your life.
Michael Fayard, Attorney at Law has years of experience representing individuals who have been arrested on suspicion of drugged or drunk driving. If I am able to take on your case, I will do everything possible to help you avoid a DUI conviction that could negatively impact your life for years to come.
What Is Implied Consent?
Implied consent is a law in Florida that states that any driver who gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle has given their implied consent to have their urine or breath tested to determine their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels when pulled over for a suspected DUI.
If you think you can avoid being found guilty of a DUI by refusing to submit to BAC testing, you couldn’t be more mistaken. If anything, when you refuse to submit to chemical testing, the judge will likely suspect your guilt. Not to mention that refusing to submit to BAC testing results in an immediate one-year license suspension, regardless of whether you are innocent or guilty of drunk driving.
If you refuse to consent to testing a second time, you can expect to have your license suspended for a minimum of eighteen months. Beyond that, a second refusal is considered a first degree misdemeanor in Florida. In addition to having your license suspended, you could also be required to pay a $1,000 fine, spend up to one year in jail, and be on probation for one year.
Keep in mind these penalties apply only to your refusal to consent to BAC testing. The consequences for being found guilty of a DUI are more severe.
Consequences for a DUI Conviction in Florida
Being found guilty of a DUI will follow you for the rest of your life. The penalties you will face for a DUI conviction will largely depend on what your BAC levels were and whether anyone was injured or killed due to your impaired driving.
For example, a first-time offender whose BAC levels were 0.15 or higher could expect to pay a maximum fine of $2,000 and spend up to nine months in jail. But a first-time offender whose BAC levels were below 0.15 but above 0.08 would pay a $1,000 fine and spend up to six months in jail.
Habitual DUI offenders face more serious penalties. For example, someone who has been convicted of four or more DUIs could expect to spend up to five years in prison, pay fines of up to $5,000, and have their license permanently revoked.
In addition to these legal consequences, if you are found guilty of a DUI in Sarasota, you could also be expected to complete community service hours, participate in a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program, enroll in DUI school, have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed at your expense, and have your vehicle impounded for a period of time.
Defending Sarasota Drunk Driving Allegations
There are several different options you could use to defend yourself after being charged with a DUI in Sarasota. One of the most common defense strategies is to argue that law enforcement did not have probable cause to pull you over.
This is known as an unlawful stop. Police must have just cause to pull you over in the first place. Even something as small as failing to use your turn signal could be grounds to pull you over, so this defense can only be used if the circumstances of your case warrant it.
Another possible defense strategy could be to question the validity of the blood alcohol test results. Maybe at the time that you were pulled over your BAC levels were much lower, but they continued to rise after the fact. If you hadn’t been pulled over when you were, you would have made it home safely with your BAC levels still under the legal limit.
It’s also possible that the tests were not administered correctly or that the results were not handled correctly. Your Sarasota criminal defense lawyer will thoroughly investigate to determine which defense is most likely to benefit you during this difficult time.
Sarasota DUI FAQ
Being charged with a DUI can be overwhelming. You probably have many unanswered questions regarding your case and what you can expect to happen next.
To help ease your concerns, I’ve provided a compilation of the most frequently asked questions former clients have wanted answers to regarding DUIs. If you have other questions that haven’t been answered on this page, contact the office to schedule a complimentary consultation.
Can a Sarasota DUI be expunged from my record?
Unfortunately, no. DUI convictions will remain on your criminal record indefinitely, and are not eligible for expungement. This makes it even more critical that you do everything you can to avoid a Sarasota DUI conviction.
In some cases, it may even be in your best interest to plead guilty to lesser charges and accept a plea agreement with the prosecuting attorney so you can ensure that your record does not permanently reflect such damaging criminal charges.
Do I have to go to court to clear my name?
It is certainly possible you must go to court to deal with your DUI charges. It is very unlikely you will be found not guilty if you don’t go before the judge and plead your case.
If you accept a plea agreement, it’s possible you could avoid having to go to court, but remember that DUIs cannot be expunged from your criminal record, so clearing your name of all charges would likely be the better option.
I need to drive so I can work. Will my license still be suspended?
That depends on the details of your case. Almost all DUI convictions result in license suspension, among other penalties. However, if you drive for a living or need to drive to commute from your job, you may be able to obtain a hardship license.
To do so, you must enroll in a court-approved DUI school. Only certain individuals qualify for a hardship license, so you will need to discuss your case with your DUI lawyer in Sarasota to learn more about your eligibility.
Reach Out to a DUI Lawyer in Sarasota
If you have been arrested and charged with a DUI and need legal representation to defend yourself, get in touch with experienced Sarasota DUI lawyer Michael Fayard, Attorney at Law. Call my office at 941-306-1310 or submit the online contact form provided below when you are ready to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.