Individuals who are arrested for a DUI in Florida can expect to deal with stiff fines, community service, an interlock ignition device and the possibility of jail time. Additionally, they will also face a long list of other financial and personal issues that can make it very difficult to bounce back quickly from the arrest. In other words, if you ever find yourself trying to decide whether or not you are sober enough to drive home, it is always best to put your keys away and find an alternative way to get home.
Penalties for a First Time Offender
Every state has its own specific guidelines for prosecuting a DUI arrest, and the state of Florida has a blood alcohol content (BAC) scale that helps judges determine how to sentence first time offenders. For example, if you are pulled over for drunk driving and the breathalyzer indicates that you have a BAC that is between .08 and .15, you will face the possibility of up to six months in jail, a $1,000 fine, a license suspension of 180 to 365 days, community service. According to one Hillsborough County DUI Lawyer, your vehicle can be impounded for up to 10 days. An interlock ignition device can also be installed in your vehicle for up to six months. If you are arrested with a BAC that is over .15, you will be facing a fine increase of up to $2,000, a maximum jail time of nine months, the hardship reinstatement application process to get your license back and every other penalty that first time offenders are subject to.
OK to Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?
Even if you are not actually intoxicated, it is necessary to take a breathalyzer test if an officer asks you to. Failure to comply with this request will cause you to lose your license for a minimum of 12 months, regardless of whether or not you are acquitted of the DUI charge.
Tell Me About the Financial Issues
A DUI can cost as much as $15,000 once all of the applicable lawyer fees are added into the equation. For this reason alone, it is imperative for most people to avoid drinking and driving. After all, the majority of Florida residents will not have an extra $15,000 to spare, and a DUI offense can end up forcing the convicted individual to file for bankruptcy.
Your car insurance provider is also likely to either increase your premium or cancel your policy altogether. Unfortunately, the odds are high that your current policy has a rider in place that allows them to do this, and if they decide to cancel your policy, it will be extremely difficult to obtain new coverage at an affordable price.
Is My Job at Risk Because of a DUI?
Although most people believe that their personal and work lives are separate, this is not actually true in many instances. For example, your company can legally have an employment clause that gives them the right to terminate anyone for being convicted of a DUI. There are several financial reasons that your company might opt to do this, but if you lose your job, it could become impossible for you to take care of all of the necessary fines and legal fees.
If you are arrested for a DUI, it is important to contact an attorney right away. Even if you were intoxicated at the time of your arrest, you still have legal rights, and it is also possible to get an acquittal if the police officer did not follow all of the proper procedures.
Author Anthony Joseph enjoys writing about legal issues that impact the heart of our country, such as this contributed article. Drinking and driving is a terrible choice that people sometimes make, and could happen to anyone at any time. Having a Hillsborough County DUI Lawyer on your side after a DUI can ensure help with your protection in such a situation.