A Lakeland Attorney for Felony DUI Charges
Protect your legal rights against serious penalties
DUI charges in Florida are always serious, but when they’re escalated to the felony level, the potential consequences for your future can be especially harsh. If found guilty, you will be a convicted felon with everything that entails. You may be looking at a long jail sentence, as well as fines and long-term or permanent loss of your driving privilege. If a Polk, Pasco, or Hillsborough County prosecutor chooses to charge you with a felony, you know you’re in for a real fight.
Fight back with a Lakeland DUI defense attorney on your side who knows how to win. I have a proven track record of taking on cases other lawyers thought were unwinnable and getting my clients acquitted in Polk County and throughout Florida.
When is DUI a felony in Florida?
DUI is usually charged as a misdemeanor in Florida. However, there are several situations that can cause a DUI to be charged as a felony:
- Your third DUI offense can be charged as a third-degree felony if it occurs within 10 years of your second DUI conviction. This applies even if your previous convictions were in another state.
- A fourth or subsequent DUI can always be charged as a felony regardless of the time between convictions.
- A DUI can always be charged as a felony if the drunk driver causes serious bodily injury to another person.
- A drunk driver involved in an accident that causes the death of another person (including loss of a fetus) can be charged with DUI manslaughter, which is a violent felony. Vehicular homicide, sometimes called “DUI murder” if the driver in question is drunk, is also a violent felony.
In Florida, a felony is an offense where the maximum sentence can exceed 365 days in jail. As such, if you’re facing felony DUI charges, the effect on your future can be significant. Moreover, you will be a convicted felon and lose certain civil rights as a result of the conviction.
How to beat a felony DUI charge
Even more so than in other situations, taking prompt action is key in a felony DUI case. An experienced attorney can review the evidence against you and find holes in the prosecution’s case, such as problems with the breathalyzer device used to measure your BAC or inconsistencies in the arresting officer’s testimony. A lawyer who has handled and won DUI cases in Polk County understands the rules police have to follow and can identify places where they failed to do so, whether that’s in the traffic stop, field sobriety test, chemical test, or other parts of the DUI investigation.
If you’re facing felony charges because of previous DUI convictions, an experienced attorney may be able to get some of those prior convictions disregarded for the purposes of enhancing your current charge, especially if they’re old or out of state. Likewise, it’s sometimes possible to get evidence excluded via a Motion to Suppress. In some situations, this can lead to the prosecution dropping the charges because they don’t have enough evidence to proceed.
The key is to get an attorney who knows your options – and knows how to fight for a Not Guilty verdict at trial if that’s what it takes.
Exercise your right to an attorney immediately
The clock starts ticking immediately after a felony DUI arrest. You have just 10 days to contest your driver’s license suspension, and the prosecution has to make important decisions about your charges within just a few weeks. The sooner an attorney intervenes, the better positioned you will be to win your case and protect your future.