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13 Things You Need to Know About Your First DUI Conviction in Florida

A DUI or DWI arrest in Florida can be a stressful, and scary experience. The impact of a DUI may not only affect your life, but the lives of people around you.

You risk imprisonment and losing your license among other serious consequences.

Attorney Russell A. Spatz of the Spatz Law Firm, PL, in Miami, Florida, put together a list of facts you will want to know about getting arrested for a DUI in Florida.

  1. If you do refuse to take a breath, urine or blood test, know that the Florida Statute holds that this refusal is admissible as evidence in DUI criminal proceedings.
  1. Refusal to submit a DUI test will result in an automatic suspension of the driver license for one year (on a first refusal).
  1. The administrative suspension can be contested and/or mitigated with a work permit in most instances BUT there is a requirement that action be taken quickly and documents filed with DMV within 10 days of the arrest.
  1. Forceful withdrawal of blood may be thrown out as evidence in a hearing unless properly administered and obtained.
  1. You do not have to be driving to be arrested for a DUI. Florida law states that you only need to present that you have physical control of the vehicle. So for example, if the car is parked and the engine is running, you may be charged based up on the fact that the car was recently driven.
  1. After you are arrested, you will only be released once these conditions are met:
  • The person is no longer under the influence and;
  • The person’s normal faculties are no longer impaired
  • The person’s blood/breath alcohol level (BAL) is lower than 0.05; or
  • Eight hours have elapsed from the time the person was arrested.
  1. You can be sentenced to imprisonment with your first DUI conviction.
  1. If there is a minor in the car or if your BAL is .15 or higher, or other special circumstances inure to your detriment there are stricter penalties.
  1. Individuals under the age of 21 have a different set of penalties under the “Zero Tolerance” law.
  1. Your driver’s license may be revoked for a minimum of 180 days and a maximum of 1 year for a first conviction of simple DUI.
  1. You will have to complete a DUI school.
  1. If your BAL was .15 or higher, you will be required to have an ignition interlock device on your vehicle for up to six months.
  1. Unless the family of the defendant has no other transportation, your vehicle can be impounded for 10 days.

If you’re arrested for a DUI in Florida, it’s critical that you contact an attorney immediately. An experienced attorney will be able to determine if any of your constitutional rights were violated. If evidence is collected in violation of your Miranda rights or under duress, a DUI defense attorney may be able to get that evidence suppressed and therefore may be able to have your charges dismissed.

Bio: Russell A. Spatz, Esq. has been practicing law for over 40 years. Having served as an Assistant State Attorney and Division Chief to two State Attorneys, Richard E. Gerstein, (1975) and Janet Reno, (1978) and as an Adjunct Criminal Law Professor at St. Thomas Law School.  Mr. Spatz understands the complexities that are involved in defending a criminal case, and how to put his knowledge and experience to work for his clients as their trial lawyer. He can be reached at (305) 442-0200 or www.spatzlawfirm.com.

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