Millions of people visit Florida every year. Whether they are in the state on business, to take a vacation, or to see relatives, many drive during their time here. And as with any other driver in the state, getting behind the wheel after having a few drinks can result in a DUI charge.
The DUI laws in Florida are very tough, and a conviction can have a significant impact on your life in many ways. If you're from out of state, it's important to know how these laws can affect you and what to do if you are facing charges.
A DUI conviction can have serious consequences
The penalties for a first-time DUI (Driving Under the Influence) offense in Florida include:
- Fines ranging from $500 to $1,000, and possibly additional court costs and fees
- Up to six months of jail time
- Suspension of your driver's license for a period of 6 to 12 months
- A requirement to have ignition interlock devices installed in your vehicles that prevent them from starting if alcohol is detected on your breath
- The impoundment of your vehicle for a period of up to 10 days
- A certain number of community service hours
- Participation in a substance abuse treatment program
It's important to understand that these penalties can vary based on the specific circumstances of the DUI case, any aggravating factors, and the judge's discretion during sentencing.
Still, if you lose your driving privileges in Florida, that doesn't affect your driving privileges in your home state, right? Wrong.
How a conviction in Florida can impact you at home
Florida is a member of the Interstate Driver's License Compact (IDLC), which is an agreement among participating states to share information about traffic violations. If you are convicted of a DUI in Florida, the state's Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) will report the conviction to the National Driver Registry (NDR) database.
In addition, Florida is a member of the Non-Resident Violator Compact (NRVC). This is an agreement among 45 U.S. states (and the District of Columbia) for the enforcement of traffic violations.
That means your home state will receive information about a DUI conviction in Florida and is likely to enforce a driver's license suspension and possibly other penalties.
That's another reason it's crucial to get legal advice.
Arrested in Florida? Call an experienced DUI attorney
A lawyer will know the DUI laws and how they can impact out-of-state drivers. An attorney can:
- Explain the charges against you, the potential penalties you may face, and your legal options
- Review the evidence, including police reports, breathalyzer or blood test results, and identify any weaknesses in the prosecution's case
- Challenge evidence that may be inadmissible or unreliable, such as improperly conducted field sobriety tests or faulty breathalyzer equipment
- Negotiate with prosecutors to reduce the charges or penalties, such as seeking a plea bargain to a lesser offense
- Represent you in court and, if needed, present your defense to a judge or jury
- Help you challenge an administrative license suspension and represent you in a hearing to potentially retain your driving privileges
- Work to minimize the impact of the charges on your life, such as advocating for reduced fines or alternative sentencing options.
And if the prosecutor wants to take your case to court, attorney Grajek will be ready to fight for you. He is comfortable in the courtroom and knows how to build a strong defense that gets results.
Thomas C. Grajek has been a criminal defense attorney for more than 25 years. He knows the legal system in Polk County and will work quickly to respond to the DUI charges you are facing.
If you are facing DUI charges in Polk, Hillsborough, or Pasco County, learn more about how Attorney Grajek can help. Contact us to schedule a free consultation. Don't delay – there's too much at stake.