Being charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can bring up many mixed feelings. You may feel regret, fear, and even uncertainty about what happened. Maybe you thought you were okay to drive, but your blood alcohol concentration was too high or you knew you were not capable yet, so you fell asleep behind the wheel.
Whatever your situation, a qualified criminal defense attorney can help you navigate your rights and legal options for your unique case. The laws surrounding Florida DUIs are specific, and your lawyer will work alongside you to craft the best possible defense for your DUI charges.
3 Myths About Florida DUIs Every Driver Should Know
Television has painted a specific picture of what the DUI process looks like, and over time this has perpetuated certain myths and misconceptions. In order to clear up any falsehoods and ensure our Florida drivers understand the ins and outs of driving under the influence, here is a guide to debunk some DUI myths:
Myth 1: You Have To Be Caught Driving
If you are caught in your vehicle, awake or asleep, while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you may be arrested for a DUI. Even if you are there to sleep off the buzz before driving your vehicle back from the happy hour, if the officer investigates and concludes with reasonable suspicion you were going to drive, you can be charged.
If you need to get home but are still a little drunk, it’s best to call a rideshare or have a friend or family member pick you up. If you do happen to fall asleep in your car with your keys still in your possession, the officer immediately has reasonable cause.
Myth 2: You Can Only Get a DUI If Your Blood Alcohol Level is 0.08 Or Above
In the Sunshine State, your blood alcohol concentration does not have to read 0.08 or above to make an official charge. A breathalyzer is commonly used to officially document and solidify an officer’s suspicion. However, this is not necessarily a qualifier to make an arrest.
If the officer has reason to believe you are too impaired to drive, they may make the executive decision to arrest you for a DUI. Common reasons may be sporadic or dangerous driving, slurred speech, or incoherent thoughts or speech. After all, everyone’s BAC is different, depending on their size and tolerance.
Myth 3: A DUI Is a Felony Charge
Florida considers a DUI charge a “wobbler charge,” meaning it can range in severity from a Class A misdemeanor to a felony charge. If it is your first time being arrested for a DUI, you are likely to receive a first-time misdemeanor. This comes with up to a $1,000 fine and a possibility of up to six months in jail.
When you add in extra factors, like it being your second or third offense or if there were injuries to another person or property, you may be at risk for a felony charge. If you are unsure what you have been charged with or why, your criminal defense attorney can investigate and review the specifics with you.
Consult With a Florida DUI Attorney Today
Robert H. Hanaford of The Law Office of Robert H. Hanaford has dedicated the last 38 years of his professional career to ensuring his community’s rights are protected. If you have been charged with DUI, his criminal defense experience will allow him to conduct a full investigation and begin crafting the best possible defense for your case. It’s possible the stop was unlawful or that your breathalyzer results were faulty.