DUI & Criminal Traffic Charges
Understanding DUI & Criminal Traffic Charges
FREE DUI SURVIVAL GUIDE
The Law Office of Brian H. Mallonee offers premier DUI (Driving Under the Influence) and BUI (Boating Under the Influence) defense for people facing a DUI or BUI charge in Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach, Jensen Beach, Stuart, and Okeechobee, Florida. You will find him when searching for the top best DUI lawyers in Fort Pierce or when searching for the best criminal defense attorney anywhere in Indian River and St Lucie Counties. Our formula for success is to investigate a person's defenses thoroughly by conducting pre-trial discovery, including the DMV hearing, and filing creative pre-trial motions. This is the type of case best handled by a criminal lawyer.
Challenging the validity of the vehicle stop is something we always take a hard look at. If the court rules that the stop was unconstitutional, then all the evidence gathered by the police after the stop is thrown out. An exhaustively researched and well choreographed Motion to Suppress hearing in the courtroom can save someone accused of DUI or BUI from the very burdensome repercussions that come along with a DUI or BUI conviction in Florida.
We have experienced success time after time by skillfully locking police officers into their testimony at the DMV hearing and ordering the transcript of the sworn testimony. This will either 1) deter the officer from changing their testimony at the suppression hearing or 2) allow us the opportunity to impeach the police officer's testimony after the officer is coached by the prosecutor and "modifies" his or her testimony in order to legally justify the original stop of the vehicle.
If a DUI or BUI case in St Lucie, Indian River, Martin, and Okeechobee Counties cannot be resolved through pre-trial motions, then we prepare for trial. It may be that the State can't prove who was driving the vehicle. Or it may be necessary to discredit the officers "opinion" that the driver of the vehicle was impaired. There are dozens of ways to accomplish this, and featuring the mistakes made by the arresting officers in establishing this "opinion" of impairment is paramount to a successful defense of a DUI or BUI charge.
It may be that a favorable negotiated plea deal results from your DUI lawyer's reputation. Prosecutors are human, some are lazy and none of them like to lose. When they fear that they've been outworked and are flat-out overmatched, they may want to avoid the risk of getting beat and will make a favorable offer to the accused. Brian Mallonee is a Board Certified Criminal Trial Lawyer who has successfully handled 100's of DUI cases.
If you or someone you care about is in need of a premier DUI defense attorney or DUI criminal attorney in St. Lucie (Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie,), Martin (Jensen Beach, Stuart), Indian River (Vero Beach, Sebastian), or Okeechobee, Florida, calland set up an appointment with Brian Mallonee today.
Frequently Asked Questions about DUI's :
- What constitutes a DUI in Florida?
- What are the potential penalties for a DUI conviction?
- What will happen to my driver's license after I am arrested for DUI?
- Is there a mechanism for challenging this suspension?
- If my license is suspended, for how long do I lose my license?
- Will my insurance rates go up if I am convicted?
- What can I expect if I call Brian Mallonee concerning my DUI arrest?
- What constitutes a DUI in Florida?
A person is guilty of driving under the influence if the person is driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle within this State while under the influence of alcohol or any chemical set forth in Section 877.11, or any substance controlled under Chapter 893 of the Florida Statutes when effected to the extent that the person's normal faculties are impaired or has a blood or breath alcohol level of 0.08 or greater.
What are the potential penalties for a DUI & Traffic Charges conviction?
A first offense is punishable as follows: fines of $250.00 to $500.00; driver's license revocation of 6 months to 1 year; imprisonment of not more than 6 months; 10 day vehicle impoundment or immobilization; mandatory reporting probation not to exceed 1 year. Mandatory conditions of probation include attendance at an approved alcohol safety education class with a substance abuse evaluation and any treatment recommended, not less than 50 hours of community service. A second offense (including any out of state convictions), if the date of the offense is outside 5 years of the prior conviction, is punishable as follows: Fines of $500.00 to $1,000.00; driver's license revocation of 6 months to 1 year; imprisonment of not more than 9 months; 30 day vehicle impoundment or immobilization; mandatory reporting of probation with the same conditions.
If the date of the offense for the second conviction is within 5 years of the prior conviction the person is subject to a mandatory 10 day jail term and a 60 month driver's license revocation.
A third offense (including out of state convictions), if the date of the offense is outside 10 years of a prior conviction is punishable as follows: fines of $1,000.00 to $2,500.00; driver's license revocation for 6 months to 1 year; imprisonment of not more than 1 year; 90 day vehicle impoundment or immobilization; mandatory reporting probation with the same conditions.
If the date of the offense for the third conviction is within 10 years of the date of the prior conviction, the person can be prosecuted for felony DUI (see below).
If the person is convicted and has an alcohol level of .15 or more or there was a person 18 years or younger in the vehicle, the above fines are doubled and the maximum imprisonment for the first offense is 9 months and 12 months for a second offense. There is also a manditory ignition interlock requirement if the persons' blood alcohol level registers over a .15.
A DUI causing non-serious injury is a first degree misdemeanor.
FELONY DUI - PRIOR CONVICTIONS
If a person has three prior convictions for DUI (including out of state convictions) the person may be prosecuted for "Felony DUI". It is a third degree felony, level 6 offense, subject to five years in the State prison. Florida's sentencing guidelines apply. The mandatory minimum fine is $1,000.00 and cannot exceed $5,000.00. A fourth or subsequent conviction will result in a mandatory permanent driver license suspension. As of July 1, 2002, a third conviction for DUI is a felony if the date of the current offense is within 10 years of the second conviction.
FELONY DUI - SERIOUS INJURY OR DEATH
If a person is DUI as described above and causes or contributes to the cause of a crash involving serious injury, the person is subject to being charged with a DUI - Serious Injury. It is a third degree felony, level 7 offense, subject to 5 years in the State prison. The Florida Sentencing Guidelines apply. The maximum sentence is 5 years in the State prison. The minimum mandatory sentence is calculated based on various factors including victim injury points. The mandatory fine is the same as Felony DUI. There is a mandatory minimum 3 year driver's license revocation. If the person is DUI, as described above, and causes or contributes to the cause of a crash involving death, the person is subject to being charged with DUI manslaughter. It is a second degree felony, level 8 offense, subject to 15 years in the state prison. The Florida Sentencing Guidelines apply. Without going into the details, a single death carries a minimum of 10 years in prison. There is a mandatory permanent revocation of the driver's license.
What will happen to my driver's license after I am arrested for DUI?
A law enforcement officer in St Lucie, Indian River, Martin, and Okeechobee Counties may seize your driver's license if you are arrested for DUI with an unlawful blood alcohol level or refuse to submit to a breath, blood or urine test. The officer will seize your license and issue a DUI citation, which acts as both a temporary driver's license and your notice of suspension. This ticket is your license for 10 days after your arrest. You must go to the Department of Motor Vehicle Driver Improvement Office within 10 days of the date of your arrest to request a formal review hearing to contest the suspension of your driver's license, or you lose the right to do so. If you do not request a hearing the suspension of your driver's license will begin at midnight on the 10th day after your arrest.
Is there a mechanism for challenging this suspension?
Yes! You may request a review of the driver license suspension by the Department of Motor Vehicles with a DUI criminal attorney at your side, within a specified number of days following your arrest. If you fail to request a review hearing, the Department will not conduct any type of review of the license suspension. At a formal review, the hearing officer is authorized to administer oaths, examine witnesses and take testimony, receive relevant evidence, issue subpoenas, regulate the course and conduct of the hearing, and make a ruling on the suspension. Both you and the Department may subpoena witnesses to attend. If you request an informal review hearing, it shall consist solely of an examination by the Department of the written materials submitted by the arresting officer, as well as any thing you wish to submit. You may not attend such an informal hearing.
If my license is suspended, for how long do I lose my license?
If you have refused to submit to a lawful breath, blood or urine test your driving privilege will be suspended for 1 year for a first refusal or for 18 months if you have previously refused to submit to such a test. If you have an unlawful blood alcohol level your driving license will be suspended for a period of 6 months for the first offense or for 1 year if your driving privilege has been previously suspended for this reason. You are eligible for business purposes or a hardship license after serving 90 days of a "hard suspension", if you refuse the breath test providing it is your first offense. If you have a previous conviction you are not eligible for a hardship license at all. You are eligible for a hardship license after a 30 day hard suspension if you took the breath test, providing you do not have 2 prior convictions.
Will my insurance rates go up if I am convicted?
Yes, your insurance rates are likely to rise a great deal if you are convicted of DUI.
What can I expect if I call Brian Mallonee concerning my DUI arrest?
You can expect: A free initial consultation with Brian Mallonee. Personalized attention. We will return your phone calls promptly, keep you informed, and answer all questions to help you put the pieces back together. Reasonable Fees. You will know in advance how you will be charged. Experience - Brian H. Mallonee has handled 100's of DUI cases. Aggressive Representation. Brian Mallonee will zealously guard your rights throughout the entire process. So, if you want a BUI or DUI criminal attorney in Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach, Stuart, or Okeechobee that you can talk to, who understands what you want, who is interested in you and your situation, and who fights to get you results, contact BUI and DUI criminal attorney Brian Mallonee at (772) 464-1991 for a criminal defense lawyer free consultation.