First DUI Offense
Miami DUI Defense Attorney
Being charged with a first DUI offense in Florida is an unsettling experience, and a conviction can have long-lasting consequences. In addition to fines, a suspended license and potential jail time, a drunk driving record can tarnish your reputation. With so much at stake, it helps to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side.
Located in Miami, Valiente Law represents clients who are facing DUI charges for the first time in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and throughout the state of Florida. Knowing that driving is a necessity, our experienced DUI attorneys will work to achieve the best possible outcome for you.
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What are the penalties for a First DUI Offense in Florida?
In Florida, a first offense DUI is considered a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in jail, 1-year probation, fines up to $500, mandatory community service and DUI school, and a 10-day vehicle impoundment. The penalties are enhanced, including potential imprisonment, under the following circumstances:
- Having a BAC over .15
- Driving under the influence with a minor passenger in the vehicle
- Causing injuries and property damage
What is the implied consent rule?
Like most states, Florida has an “implied consent rule” which means that all licensed drivers agree to be chemically tested — usually by a breathalyzer — when stopped by law enforcement for suspicion of DUI. If you refuse to submit to BAC testing, your license may be automatically suspended for one year.
Defending Against First DUI Charges in Florida
At Valiente Law, we leverage our legal knowledge and experience to defend our clients against first DUI charges. After an arrest, law enforcement will confiscate your driver’s license and the citation itself acts as a temporary license. You have a right to request an administrative hearing before the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) to contest the charges. You must do so within 10 days of your arrest, otherwise, your license will be automatically suspended for 6 months.
Valiente Law will represent you at the administrative proceeding and work to protect your driving privileges. It is worth noting that a license suspension hearing is separate and apart from any criminal proceeding that you may face. In order to prevail in court, the state of Florida must be able to prove that you had a BAC of .08 or more or were under the influence of alcohol or a chemical or controlled substance. It is also necessary to show that you were in actual physical control of the vehicle, which the law defines as having the apparent ability to immediately operate the vehicle while intoxicated.
Our attorneys will pursue the best line of defense against your DUI charges. If you allegedly failed a breathalyzer test, for example, we will aggressively attack the accuracy of the results. Inaccurate results can occur if the breathalyzer machine is not properly calibrated or maintained, the arresting officer failed to properly administer the test, the evidence was corrupted or other factors such as a medical condition contributed to a false positive result. Additionally, we will also work to contest the results of field sobriety exercises conducted by law enforcement. Above all, our objective is to have your first DUI charges dismissed or reduced.
Alternative Sentencing Options to First DUI Charges
Depending on the circumstances, there is an alternative sentencing option for first DUI charges in Miami-Dade County through a diversion program known as Back on Track. The program provides a way to reduce a first DUI conviction to a reckless driving charge, provided that certain rigorous conditions are met, including:
- Random alcohol and drug testing
- Completion of DUI school within 3 months
- 40 hours of community service
- Installation of an ignition interlock device for 3 months
- Payment of fees and court costs
Rather than a dismissal, the DUI charges are reduced to reckless driving, with adjudication withheld by the court, which means that the arrest and criminal record may eventually be sealed.
Finally, Florida DUI law also provides for a “hardship” license — a specific driver’s license that limits driving privileges to necessary driving to maintain a livelihood, such as commuting to and from work, on-the-job driving, or driving for educational, medical or church purposes. In sum, hardship licenses may be available when a complete license suspension would cause a serious hardship that prevents an individual from earning income to support his or her family.
First DUI Defense Attorney in Miami, Florida
The capable attorneys at Valiente Law understand that a conviction for a first offense DUI can have serious consequences for your livelihood and lifestyle. We have extensive experience representing clients in administrative and criminal proceedings and a proven track record of achieving successful outcomes. When your driving privileges, freedom and good name are on the line, we can help.