Drunk Driving / DUI
Despite efforts by countless awareness programs, drunk driving remains a prominent issue in the state of Florida. Though progress has been made since the rampant DUI problem of the 1980s and early 1990s, Florida still has a massive amount of drunk drivers addressed by the court system every year, with 55,722 DUI tickets and 33,625 DUI convictions occurring in 2011. In 2010, Palm Beach County alone saw over 1500 drunk driving convictions.
Because of the serious penalties that come with DUI, it is best not to drive if you have consumed alcohol or are under the influence of another substance. However, if you are arrested for DUI in the West Palm Beach or Boca Raton area, no matter if it was a mistake on your part or a misunderstanding, an experienced Palm Beach County criminal defense attorney can fight to protect your rights and your future from DUI conviction.
West Palm Beach DUI Defense Attorney
Florida DUI convictions come with serious penalties, and defending against the DUI charges takes someone with in-depth knowledge of the many facets in a DUI case. If you have been arrested for DUI in West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Greenacres, Jupiter, Lake Worth, Palm Beach Gardens, Riviera Beach, Royal Palm Beach, or Wellington, take the important first step in your Palm Beach County DUI defense strategy and call Andrew D. Stine, P.A. immediately.
Skilled and knowledgeable West Palm Beach drunk driving defense lawyer Andrew Stine has over 10 years of experience defending clients like you, and is a former public defender and army medic. His life and legal experiences give him an in-depth understanding of DUI charges and militant attention to detail that he can apply to building a strong, comprehensive defense for your West Palm Beach area DUI case. To find out more about what Andrew D. Stine, P.A. can do for your drunk driving case in Palm Beach County, call 561-832-1170 today and schedule your free initial case consultation.
Palm Beach County Drunk Driving/DUI Information Center
- Florida Drunk Driving Definition
- Actual Physical Control and Florida DUI
- Florida Implied Consent and Palm Beach County DUI
- Florida Administrative Proceedings for DUI in Palm Beach County
- Palm Beach County Drunk Driving/DUI Charges
- Florida DUI Penalties
- Resources for Florida DUI
Drunk driving, known as driving under the influence or DUI in Florida, is governed by Fla. Stat. § 316.193. This statute defines the offense as when someone is driving or in actual physical control on Florida roads while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, inhalants, or a combination of them to the extent that his or her normal faculties are impaired, or when that person’s blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) is at or above the legal limit of .08. Normal faculties are defined by Fla. Stat. § 316.1934 as the elements of function, such as balance, needed to perform various general acts of daily life like walking, talking, or speaking.
The normal faculties clause of Florida’s DUI law means you can be arrested and charged with drunk driving in Palm Beach County even if your BAC is not at or over the legal limit. If your BAC is over the legal limit of .08, you are considered to be charged with what’s known as “per se” DUI and will automatically be arrested. The type of DUI most affected by the normal faculties clause is driving under the influence of drugs such as oxycodone or marijuana, or inhalants, as there is no statutory level of intoxication for these substances. A prescription for a controlled substance is not a valid DUI defense. An experienced West Palm Beach DUI defense lawyer can work to build a defense against these various elements of DUI and fight to get your charges reduced or dismissed.
One of the most common misunderstandings about DUI charges is the belief that in Florida you must actually be driving to receive a charge of drunk driving. However, this is not the case. The definition for DUI in Florida includes not just when a person is driving a motor vehicle, but when he or she is in actual physical control of a vehicle. Actual physical control is determined by a number of factors, none of which require you to be driving, including the following:
- Location of the vehicle
- Location of defendant in or around the car
- Whether location enables easy operation of the motor vehicle
- If the keys were in the ignition
- Whether the defendant had actual or constructive possession of the keys
- If the engine was on or if it had recently been operated (i.e. the hood was warm)
- Whether the car was able to be driven
This means that even if you were trying to be responsible and sleep off the effects of the alcohol, but were using your car for shelter, you could still be arrested for DUI in the West Palm Beach area. An actual physical control DUI in Palm Beach County has a number of complicated legal factors, so working with an experienced drunk driving defense attorney is strongly recommended.
In Florida, you can receive a driver’s license suspension under Fla. Stat. § 316.1932 when you refuse a DUI BAC test, with or without conviction. This is because Florida is an implied consent state. Implied consent is the legal concept that says you have given your consent to a blood or breath test for DUI just by driving on Florida roads. However, under your Fourth Amendment rights, you can’t be forced to submit to these tests except for in rare, exigent circumstances, so even with implied consent you still have the right to refuse.
Refusing a BAC test under implied consent means there will be consequences. For a first refusal, the DUI defendant faces an administrative license suspension of one year. For a second or subsequent BAC test refusal, he or she faces an 18-month administrative driver’s license suspension and a misdemeanor charge. Additionally, the refusal of the DUI BAC test can be used against you as evidence of your guilt in court.
DUI test refusal is not without its perks, though. Refusing the test gives the prosecution even less evidence to start with, and the administrative penalties can be challenged and fought. Whatever the circumstances of your DUI arrest, it is best to contact an experienced DUI defense lawyer in Palm Beach County as soon as possible during or after your arrest, ideally before consenting or refusing to a blood, breath, or urine test to determine BAC.
There are two circumstances in Florida for which you will receive an administrative license suspension for DUI: when you are charged with per se DUI, and when you refuse to submit to a DUI BAC test. These administrative penalties are applied separately to your license from any criminal penalties, meaning an administrative driver’s license suspension for refusing a DUI test will be in addition to any driver’s license suspensions issued during sentencing after your DUI criminal conviction. For a test refusal, this penalty is one year for a first refusal, and 18 months for a subsequent refusal.
For a per se DUI citation, it’s six months for a first citation, and one year for any subsequent per se DUIs. The benefit of these administrative penalties being separate from the criminal penalties is that they are also fought separately. The administrative license suspension is handled by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Under Fla. Stat. §§ 316.2615 & 322.64, you can request one of two different reviews of your suspension. The first is an informal review where a FDHSMV hearing officer reviews the evidence and materials submitted by you and your arresting officer to determine if procedures were followed and if the DUI suspension is justified.
The second type of Florida DMV DUI administrative license review hearing is a formal review, where you and your West Palm Beach drunk driving defense attorney can present witnesses and evidence, as well as cross-examine any witnesses or evidence presented by your arresting officer. The formal administrative license review makes for a good test run of your qualified Palm Beach County DUI lawyer’s defense strategies in addition to possibly increasing your chances of having the DUI administrative suspension overturned.
You only have 10 days after your DUI arrest to request a formal or informal DMV administrative hearing for DUI from the appropriate clerk. Since the administrative hearing is held separately from any criminal procedures, you also have nothing to lose. Contact an experienced drunk driving attorney in West Palm Beach as soon as possible after your arrest so that you can immediately begin building a defense for your administrative license suspension review in Palm Beach County.
Due to the many facets involved in Florida DUI cases, it is strongly recommended you work with an experienced DUI defense lawyer to fight to protect your rights and work for a favorable outcome in your case. Certain case circumstances can upgrade your drunk driving offense to a higher class with more severe penalties, and subsequent DUI cases become even more punitive and complicated. Andrew D. Stine, P.A. is proud to serve any instance of DUI in Palm Beach County, including the following:
- First DUI
- Second DUI
- Third DUI
- Fourth DUI
- Drugged DUI
- DUI with Serious Bodily Injury
- DUI Manslaughter
- DUI Leaving the Scene
- DUI with Property Damage
- Commercial DUI
- DUI Under 21
What penalties you will face depend on the factors involved in your specific DUI case, and if there are any sanctions required by statute. Some circumstances can make a West Palm Beach drunk driving case even more legally complicated that others when it comes to building a solid defense. However, all DUI charges should be taken equally seriously as they can impact you for a long time. Andrew D. Stine, P.A. can work with you on a customized, comprehensive DUI defense even if your Palm Beach County DUI case involves the following:
- DUI Reduction
- DUI Test Refusal
- DUI Intoxilyzer 8000
- DUI Field Sobriety Tests
- DUI Blood Test
- BUI Breath Test
- DUI Checkpoints
- DMV Administrative Hearing for DUI
- FR-44 Insurance for DUI
The penalties a person faces for a DUI conviction in Florida depend on whether this is the first or a subsequent conviction, and if any aggravating circumstances like a car accident are present. Generally, a first DUI is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by $500-$2,000 in fines and up to six to nine months in jail. A second DUI is usually a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by $1,000-$4,000 in fines and up to nine months in jail with possible mandatory minimum jail time.
A third or subsequent DUI conviction is considered a felony offense and comes with penalties like $2,000-$5,000 in fines and up to a year in prison with the possibility of mandatory minimum prison time. DUI with property damage is a first-degree misdemeanor, and a DUI with death or serious bodily injury to another person is a felony charge, with classification depending on the severity of the injury. All DUI convictions can also come with any of the following other sanctions:
- Criminal driver’s license suspension
- Vehicle impoundment
- Ignition interlock device installation
- Community service
- DUI school
- Alcohol or drug treatment
Additionally, felony DUI charges come with the consequences Florida issues to convicted felons, such as the loss of certain civil rights and the inability to pursue certain educational and professional opportunities. All drunk driving convictions can have a serious impact on your future. Working with an experienced DUI defense attorney in Palm Beach County could be the difference between you facing penalties like these and achieving a more favorable outcome like reduced or dismissed charges in your Boca Raton area DUI case.
Palm Beach County DMV Guide – Follow this link to the Palm Beach County DMV Guide on the Florida DMV website, where you can find information regarding your vehicle, your license, and certain traffic offenses like DUI. This site is also a good resource for searching DUI schools licensed and approved by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office – With over 3,941 people on staff, including 1,492 sworn law enforcement officers, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office is committed to providing protection, crime prevention and other community services in a safe, professional manner. Click this link to visit the homepage of the PBSO’s website. The sheriff’s office can be contacted at:3228 Gun Club Road
West Palm Beach, FL 33406
Phone: (561) 688-3000
MADD - Mothers Against Drunk Driving – MADD is a national organization committed to fighting drunk driving and the impact it has on countless family, friends, classmates, an coworkers of both offenders and victims, as well as the $132 billion financial impact. Visit this link for MADD’s drunk driving statistics page for Florida on their main website.
Andrew D. Stine, P.A. | Defense Lawyer for Palm Beach County DUI
If you have been arrested and charged on a DUI offense anywhere in Palm Beach County, including West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Greenacres, Jupiter, Lake Park, Lantana, North Palm Beach, Pahokee, Palm Beach, Palm Springs, Tequesta, and the surrounding areas, contact Andrew D. Stine, P.A.. When considering an attorney as a part of your DUI defense strategy in the West Palm Beach area, it is best to contact him as soon as possible after your arrest.
Andrew Stine is a skilled and knowledgeable Palm Beach County drunk driving defense attorney with over 10 years of criminal experience and a militant attention to detail learned from his time in the army. Your first consultation with Andrew D. Stine, P.A. is free, so call 561-832-1170 today and schedule yours.