Driving Under the Influence
Have you been arrested for driving under the influence in West Palm Beach? Florida Statute 316.193 makes it illegal to drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. West Palm Beach Criminal Lawyer Roger Foley will make every effort to successfully defend your DUI case.
An individual is returning home from a party, but the police turn on their lights because they notice something peculiar about the car. The police officer walks over to the car and talks to the driver. The driver smells like he had some alcohol, but is he under the influence? The police officer does not know so he asks the driver to do field sobriety exercises. Not only is the driver nervous because a police officer has pulled him over, he most likely is tired because he was on the way home from a party that evening. Sometimes these field sobriety exercises are performed next to a busy road with car noise. All of these factors are against the driver in completing the exercises. As the driver is completing the exercises, the officer says, “You are under arrest.” This same scenario happens many times each week throughout South Florida.
In 2012, there were 56,664 arrests in the State of Florida for driving under the influence of which 28,689 resulted in convictions. These convictions are serious because they result in job loss, license revocations, insurance rates going up, etc. It is extremely important to contact a competent attorney such as Roger Foley who is member of the National College of DUI Defense and has successfully defended many clients with DUI cases.Florida Statute 316.193(1) - Driving Under the Influence
This is your basic DUI where the individual was maybe just swerving and a police officer pulled him over. No one was hurt and the driver did not have a blood alcohol level over .15%.What the State Prosecutor has to Prove to Convict a Defendant of This Crime
The state prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The defendant drove or was in actual physical control of a vehicle; and
- While driving or in actual physical control of the vehicle, the defendant either:
- Was under the influence of alcohol, a chemical substance, or a controlled substance to the extent that his normal faculties were impaired; or/ and
- He had a blood or breath-alcohol level of .08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or 210 liters of breath.
The prosecutor is going to determine if your normal faculties are impaired by showing a video of you conducting field sobriety exercises and/or the results of your breath, urine, or blood testing. It is easier to defend a client who refused to submit to testing than one who was tested because the prosecutor is going to have to prove the defendant was under the influence based upon the walking, talking, driving, etc. alone. Sometimes, especially for alcoholics, individuals can hold their liquor and not appear as if they are under the influence which makes a defense attorney’s job much easier.
Most people associate DUIs with alcohol but individuals taking drugs can be prosecuted as well. The drugs have to be detected by either the blood or the urine of the defendant.Punishment
A first time basic driving under the influence conviction where the blood alcohol level is below .15% is a misdemeanor which is punishable up to 9 months in jail and a $500 to $1,000 fine.
There is a minimum of 50 hours of community service, probation of up to a year, and 10 days of impoundment or immobilization.Florida Statute 316.193(3)(a),(b), & (c)1- Driving Under the Influence Causing Property Damage or Injury
This is the same as the DUI above but something was damaged or someone hurt. The punishments for this crime can be more severe.
The prosecutor has to prove the same elements from the basic DUI above but also that the defendant caused the injury or damage beyond a reasonable doubt.Punishment
There is a minimum of 50 hours of community service, probation of up to a year, and 10 days of impoundment or immobilization.
If a person or property is damaged, the crime is a first-degree misdemeanor which is punishable up to 365 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
If a person is seriously injured, the crime is a third-degree felony which is punishable up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine. It is also ranked a level 7 under the Florida Criminal Punishment Code.
If any unborn child or human died as a result of the crash, it is considered DUI manslaughter which is a second-degree felony. The punishment is a 4 year minimum mandatory prison sentence all the way up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. It is ranked level 8 under the Florida Criminal Punishment Code.
If the defendant knew the crash happened and left the scene, then it is a first-degree felony which is punishable up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. It is ranked as a level 9 offense.Florida Statutes 316.193(2)(b)1 or § 316.193(2)(b)3 – Felony Driving Under the Influence
This crime is targeting individuals who have been convicted multiple times of DUI. Statistics show that DUI drivers are repeat offenders which is why the punishment is more sever here.Punishment
Anyone who commits three DUI’s within a 10 year period commits a third degree felony which is punishable up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Additionally, the defendant shall also have a 2 year period of an ignition interlock on his or her vehicle when the person qualifies for a restricted or permanent license. There will be a minimum 30 day jail sentence and 90 days of vehicle immobilization or impoundment. This crime is ranked as level 4 under the Florida Criminal Punishment Code.
If the individual commits a fourth DUI ever, the individual commits a third-degree felony which is punishable up to 5 years in prison and a minimum $2,000 fine. This crime is ranked as a level 6 under the Florida Criminal Punishment Code.Florida Statute 316.193(4) – Enhanced DUI
This is a DUI but the blood alcohol level is .15% or higher or the individual had a minor in the car while driving under the influence.Punishment
This crime is a misdemeanor which is punishable up to 9 months in jail and a $1,000-$2,000 fine for the first conviction. There is a minimum of 50 hours of community service, probation of up to a year, and 10 days of impoundment or immobilization.
For a second conviction, the crime is punishable up to 12 months in jail, a $2,000 to $4,000 fine, 30 days of immobilization or impoundment, and a minimum of 10 days in jail.Other Consequences
Committing anyone of these crimes will have repercussions for a lifetime. Insurance rates will go up. Life and medical insurance can go up. Educational opportunities will cease. Licenses can be revoked.
There will also be financial consequences because you will be required to have an ignition interlock, impoundment or immobilization, and missed days of work each of which will cost you money.Contact The Law Office of Roger P. Foley, P.A.
Anyone arrested and charged with driving under the influence should call our law offices. Roger Foley is a member of the National College of DUI Defense and has taken classes at the college’s conferences at Harvard Law School. He has experience in dealing with DUI cases and can represent you. He has successfully represented clients in West Palm Beach in DUI cases.
Call our law offices to schedule a free 20 minute phone consultation. We need to hear your story of what happened. From your information, we will develop a defense strategy to defend you. We can take depositions of the officers and request evidence from the prosecutor. We will look at that evidence and inform you of your options on how to proceed. We can take the case to trial or resolve it with a plea deal. In either situation, we will aggressively strive to get you the best solution to your case. Call today so we can get to work helping you.