A DUI offense can have a significant impact on your life, and it only takes one drink too many to lead to an arrest. Any driver can be arrested for a DUI, whether they have had too much to drink or simply taken too much prescription medication.
Is a DUI a Felony or Misdemeanour?
The law will be determined by the state of the offense. For example, in Florida, driving under the influence will be treated as a criminal charge, not a traffic offense. However, there will also be administrative penalties, such as the loss or suspension of a driver’s license.
A first or second offense will be commonly treated as a misdemeanour; however, a third DUI within ten years of a previous offense will most likely be treated as a felony. However, if a minor was in the vehicle, or if the offense resulted in a serious or fatal injury to another person, an offender may receive a more serious charge.
Loss of License
Again, the penalty for driving a vehicle under the influence will be determined by the state. In Florida, a DUI will result in license suspension or revocation, in most circumstances. The loss or suspension can last from 180 days to one year for a first offense; however, a fourth DUI can result in the loss of a driver’s license for up to five years. What’s more, if a driver is under the age of 21, they will receive an automatic suspension of six months following a conviction. In some cases, it is possible to receive a restricted or hardship driver’s license in the state of Florida, which is why you should consider consulting a West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney, such as Hutchinson and Huffman, who cannot only fight your case, but can maintain or restore their client’s driving privileges.
Driving Without Being Under the Influence
Every defendant is innocent until proven guilty, and it is up to a talented lawyer to ensure a client is not convicted of a crime they did not commit. For example, there have been many cases where a driver has been arrested for driving under the influence after recently consuming a prescription drug, which is why many senior citizens could receive a DUI arrest.
It is also possible for an officer to suspect a driver has been drinking if they smell alcohol on their breath, which could have been caused by using mouthwash before the driver entered a vehicle.
Field Sobriety Tests
While a police officer will more than likely state that you are required to take a field sobriety test, a driver is not legally required to do so. However, it is important to note that your refusal to take the test will be used against you in court; however, it can reduce the evidence authorities need to convict you of the crime. If you are arrested of a DUI, it is important to request your right to counsel and utilize your right to remain silent.