Florida Felony DUI Charges
Representing Clients Facing Felony DUI Charges in Miami
Driving under the influence is a serious offense in Florida that may lead to felony DUI charges if you have a prior history of DUI or your case involves serious bodily injury or death. Not only does a felony DUI charge carry severe penalties, including prison time, fines and probation, the stigma of being a convicted felon can damage your reputation for years to come. When your freedom and good name are hanging in the balance, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney in your corner.
Valiente Law handles all types of DUI cases in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and throughout the state of Florida, including felony DUI. We deftly navigate the complexities of felony DUI cases with well-conceived defense strategies. Our legal team will help you explore all of your options and work to achieve the best possible outcome.
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What is the difference between a misdemeanor DUI and a felony DUI?
In Florida, most DUI arrests are charged as misdemeanors. However, felony DUI charges apply to cases involving serious bodily injury or death and/or to individuals with a history of prior DUI convictions. In particular felony DUI may be charged under the following circumstances:
- A third DUI conviction within the last 10 years
- A fourth or subsequent DUI conviction
- Causing serious bodily injury to another while driving under the influence
- Causing the death of another, including an unborn child, while driving intoxicated
Related Felony DUI Offenses
Under Florida Law, when a death occurs as a result of driving under the influence, the crime can be charged a DUI manslaughter, punishable by up to 15 years in state prison and a fine of not more than $10,000. The minimum mandatory sentence for DUI manslaughter is 4 years in prison. The penalty can be elevated to a first-degree felony if the driver knew, or should have known, that an accident occurred and failed to render aid or provide information, punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine up to $100,000.
In order convict you of felony DUI, prosecutors must be able to show that the you (1) were driving under the influence and (2) caused or contributed to the death of another person or unborn child. It is worth noting that prosecutors also have the discretion of bringing vehicular homicide charges, and a conviction can result in a 15-year prison sentence.
Defenses to Felony DUI
If you have been charged with felony DUI in Florida, our experienced DUI attorneys know how to build a successful defense. One approach is to challenge the results of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) tests. Because of Florida’s implied consent rule, all drivers agree to be chemically tested when stopped by the police for suspicion of DUI. The arresting officer must follow specific procedures and be trained in administering the test. If the breathalyzer machine was not properly calibrated or maintained, the test was not properly administered, or a medical condition caused an erroneous result, the BAC test may be challenged.
Depending on the circumstances, it may also be possible to show that the traffic stop was improper, or that law enforcement violated your rights by failing to read you the Miranda Warnings (“You have a right to remain silent….”). In short, if law enforcement fails to conduct a thorough investigation or follow proper procedures, the evidence may not be admissible.
Miami Felony DUI Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with felony DUI, turn to the dedicated team at Valiente Law. We are keenly aware that a conviction for felony DUI can have serious consequences, including lengthy prison sentences, significant fines, and probation. Moreover, a felony conviction can follow you for the rest of your life, jeopardizing potential employment opportunities, making it more difficult to find a place to live, and damaging your standing in the community.
We will conduct a thorough investigation and analyze all of the state’s evidence against you, including the police report and results of any blood alcohol or field sobriety exercises. While we are dedicated to securing your freedom and protecting your driving privileges, we will always be honest with you about your options. Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to arrange for a reduction of the charges. It is important to remember that every felony DUI case is different and the outcome of your case hinges on several factors.
In any event, we will work diligently to obtain the best possible outcome for you, whether that’s an acquittal, a dismissal, or a favorable plea. Above all, we will put your best interests first and provide you with a superior level of personal service. Our team is always available to respond to your questions and concerns and will keep you fully informed about the status of your felony DUI case. When your freedom and your reputation are on the line after a DUI arrest, Valiente Law will stand by you.