Experienced Jacksonville DUI Attorneys
DUI Lawyers in Jacksonville
If you have been charged with DUI, you need an aggressive DUI lawyer from an expert criminal defense firm to handle your case.
At Wood, Atter & Wolf, for over 62+ years we have represented clients arrested or charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of alcohol, drugs or other substances.
Likewise, we know that police make mistakes every day and charge people with a crime they didn’t commit. So, we want to hear your side of the story.
Furthermore, Michael Atter has a proven track record of successful DUI defense and can answer any questions you might have about your case.
Rather than just searching for Best DUI attorney near me or best DUI lawyer near me, look at the DUI defense attorney track record, client reviews, and years of work in the field.
This way you will find a truly experienced DUI law firm such as Wood, Atter & Wolf to defend your case to maximize the opportunity to reduce your charges or receive an acquittal.
First of all, when charged with a DUI, you actually have two cases against you, one criminal and one civil. For example, the first case involves the criminal charges that exist under Florida Statute 316.193.
Likewise, the second case is an administrative case with the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles.
An arrest or conviction may also result in higher insurance costs, loss of work, the loss of certain civil liberties and the inability to operate work or personal vehicles.
Therefore, it is essential to seek the help of the best Jacksonville criminal defense lawyers to help you understand your case and all of the effects it can have on your life.
What Are Your Options?
If you have been arrested and charged with a DUI you don’t have much time to act before your license is suspended.
Michael Atter can help you request a formal administrative hearing to keep your license or get a hardship license after any required suspension time has passed.
Also, a very important question is how and why were you charged with a DUI? In other words, for the police to stop you they either have to have reasonable suspicion that a offense has been committed (for example, it can be something as simple as having an expired tag, running a red light or speeding) or they must be conducting a lawful DUI checkpoint stop, during which the police must abide by certain rules.
For instance, announcing the checkpoint ahead of time and having a predetermined search criterion such as giving sobriety tests to determine whether or not drivers are driving under the influence of alcohol, a chemical substance or another controlled drug.
Under Florida law you do not have to consent to a search or participate in a field sobriety test.
However, you are legally bound to submit to a breath test and, under certain circumstances, a blood test if you have been lawfully stopped or arrested.
Some Frequently Asked Questions are Outlined Below:
What is Driving Under the Influence (DUI)?
DUI is defined unders. 316.193, F.S.(Driving Under the Influence of Alcoholic Beverages, Chemical Substances or Controlled Substances). So, under Florida law, DUI is one offense proven by impairment of normal faculties or unlawful blood alcohol or breath alcohol level of .08 or above.
Likewise, the penalties upon conviction are the same, regardless of whether you were impaired from alcohol or drugs.
What are the financial penalties of DUI?
Fines are based on the statutorily–identified minimum and maximum amounts for the offense with which you are charged as well on any previous convictions you may have for the same offense.
Consequently, judges can apply these fines as they see fit within the limitations of the statute.
Fine Schedules. 316.193(2)(a)–(b), F.S.
Can the Judge require me to complete community service?
Absolutely. Likewise, when the defendant cannot pay fines, court costs, or probation supervision fees, the judge may substitute more community service hours in exchange for reducing those costs.
Community Service –s. 316.193 (6)(a), F.S.
First Conviction: 50 hours of community service or additional fine of $10 for each hour of community service required.
For how long can the Judge place me on probation?
Probation –s. 316.193 (5)(6), F.S.
First conviction, total period of probation and incarceration may not exceed 1 year.
Can I go to Jail for DUI? What are the penalties?
Yes. However, it is not common that you will go to jail for a first offense. In contrast, the possibility still exists.
Above all, the Judge in your case is given a fair amount of latitude in sentencing you somewhere between the minimum and maximum penalty periods, depending on your case.
Likewise, if you cause an accident with personal injury or are uncooperative with the arresting officer, you may serve a period of time behind bars even after a first offense.
The time periods in the statute are listed below.
Imprisonment– s. 316.193 (2)(a) 2, 4(b), (6)(j), F.S. Imprisonment for certain periods of time is always possible. Similarly, there are some circumstances where imprisonment is required, upon a conviction for DUI. In addition, a required jail term may be served in a residential alcoholism or drug abuse treatment program, credited toward the term of imprisonment.
Can my car be impounded for DUI?
Yes. However, there are some exceptions as listed below:
Impoundment or Immobilization of Vehicle –s. 316.193 (6), F.S.
Unless the family of the defendant has no other transportation, use of a vehicle can be suspended for different periods of time. However, this depends on the final judgement.
Likewise, if you are convicted, there are periods for which your vehicle can be suspended.
If I am taken to jail after being stopped for suspicion of DUI, how long can they hold me?
Conditions for Release of Persons Arrested for DUI –s. 316.193 (9), F.S.
First of all, they may require 8 hours to have passed since the arrest and release. Hence, it is believed that it takes at least that long before the person arrested is no longer under the influence.
However, even after your release is authorized, it can taken several more hours for the paperwork to be completed and processed before you are free to go.
What is the penalty for causing an accident when convicted of DUI?
DUI Misdemeanor Conviction:(Accident Involving Property Damage or Personal Injury) –s. 316.193 (3), F.S.
A person who is convicted of causing property or personal injury is guilty of a first–degree misdemeanor (penalty: not more than $1,000 fine or 1–year in jail).
Under what circumstances can DUI be charged as a felony?
There are several cases where a DUI can be charged as a felony. They are listed in the statute. They involve multiple previous convictions for DUI and/or serious bodily injury.
DUI Felony Conviction:(Repeat Offenders or Accidents Involving Serious Bodily Injury) –s. 316.193 (2),(3) F.S.
What are the penalties for causing a death during a DUI?
They are listed in the statute and involve serious penalties. Furthermore, a person charged with one of these crimes will likely face steep fines and periods of jail time if convicted.
Manslaughter and Vehicular Homicide –s. 316.193 (3), F.S.
Can the DMV suspend or revoke my license for DUI?
Yes. First of all, upon being charged with a DUI, you may receive a driving permit. This is good for thirty days.
However, if you took a breath test and your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) was over .08, your license will be suspended for thirty (30) days.
As a result, you will have ten days to request a formal hearing or an informal hearing to dispute your suspension.
Likewise, the statute lists the required suspension periods. Also, refusing to take a breath test will result in automatic suspension of your license, even if you are ultimately cleared of the DUI charge.
If I am charged or convicted of DUI while operating a commercial vehicle, how will it affect my ability to operate commercial vehicles in the future?
You may not be allowed to drive a commercial motor vehicle for a period of one year. Furthermore, in the case of a subsequent conviction, you may be permanently disqualified.
Also, there are no terms for a hardship license of this type.
Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMV) – Alcohol–Related Convictions/Disqualifications –s. 322.61, F.S.
What is a hardship license, and how do I get one?
First of all, a hardship license allows you to drive for reasons of employment and business only.
Hence, this rule was designed to allow people who are convicted of a DUI, have a license suspension for having a BAC above .08 while operating a motor vehicle, or refusing a breath test when lawfully required to submit to one, drive to work.
Most noteworthy, you can only obtain a hardship license after any mandatory periods of suspension have been served (ie. 90 days for test refusal) and you have complied with the below requirements.
This type of knowledge is why you need an expert DUI lawyer to minimize the downside and the impact on your life that a DUI charge can cause you.
Other areas you should know about DUI criminal cases are:
When is DUI school required?
The traffic school for DUI is required in all DUI cases where the person is convicted.
Therefore, it may be a good idea to enroll in DUI school even before you go to court. Because it will show that you took the charges seriously and put yourself in a better position to bargain for a lesser punishment in the event of a conviction.
Are there penalties for refusing to submit to a chemical test for blood alcohol content? Likewise, if I refuse to submit to the test can this be used against me in court?
First of all, the answer to both questions is yes, it is called “implied consent”.
So, by having a Florida Driver’s License, when a police officer has probable cause to arrest you for suspicion of DUI and you are placed under arrest, you have given implied consent to submit to a test to determine your BAC.
Furthermore, if you refuse to submit to a breath test upon a lawful arrest you may be subject to additional periods of license suspension and even additional misdemeanor charges if it is not your first refusal.
The penalties are listed in the statute.
- Portable Alcohol Breath Testing Devices: Authorized bys. 322.2616, F.S., for persons under the age of 21. Reading is admissible as evidence in any hearing conducted unders. 322.2616, F.S.
Can I get a withhold of adjudication on a DUI?
The short answer is no. However, in some cases, the Prosecutor may amend the DUI charge to a Reckless Driving charge that is alcohol related. Also, it is possible to get a withhold of adjudication in a reckless driving case.
Judges cannot deviate from the administrative suspension/revocation periods mandated by statute. Similarly, the courts are prohibited from withholding adjudication in DUI cases; or from reducing a DUI charge if the defendant’s blood alcohol was .15 or greater.
Are there different suspension laws for persons under the age of 21 for driving under the influence?
Certainly, the rules are very different concerning under 21 DUI charges.
For example, an officer with probable cause that a person under the age of 21 is in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol to any extent may take that person into custody and request that they submit to a test to determine their alcohol level.
Also, more information regarding this type of stop is available in the statute.
Administrative Suspension of Persons Under the Age of 21 for Driving With an Alcohol Level .02 or Above,s.322.2616, F.S.
How long are the suspension periods for DUI?
First of all, the first suspension for driving with BAC of .08 or more is 6 months. Likewise, a second or subsequent suspension for driving with a BAC of .08 or above is 1 year.
Similarly, a first suspension for refusal to submit to breath, urine or blood test is 1 year. Likewise, a second or subsequent suspension for refusal to submit to test of BAC is 18 months.
Finally, the suspension occurs immediately upon arrest.
Therefore, you will be issued a temporary driver’s permit which is valid for ten days from your arrest. Likewise, if you request a formal hearing to contest the suspension you will be granted a temporary permit which lasts longer than ten days.
Can I request a review of my license suspension for purposes of having it reinstated?
Certainly, you have to request the hearing within ten days of your initial suspension which is the same date as your arrest for DUI most likely.
So, you can request either an informal or formal administrative review as described below.
Review Hearings For Administrative Suspensions And Disqualifications.
Under sections s. 322.2615and s. 322.64, F.S., a driver may request the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) to conduct a hearing for the purpose of sustaining, amending or invalidating administrative suspensions and disqualifications.
The DHSMV’s decision is not admissible for purposes of a trial for a violation of s. 316.193, F.S.
In addition, any written statements for reasons of requesting a formal hearing may not be used at trial. So, if you are convicted at trial or acquitted it does not affect the decision of the DHSMV regarding your suspension.
This is another reason you need an expert DUI Attorneys at your side.
What are the mandatory suspension periods prior to becoming eligible for a hardship license?
Business or Employment Reinstatement:
- Suspension for DUI with BAC .08 or above or refusal to submit to a blood alcohol test:
- Proof of enrollment in DUI traffic course.
- Unlawful BAC = 30 days without license prior to eligibility to receive hardship license.
- Refusal to submit to test = 90 days without license or permit prior to eligibility for hardship license.
- Furthermore, 2 or more refusals = not eligible for hardship reinstatement.
- Suspension for under 21 driving with BAC .02 or above
- Must complete Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education course before eligible for hardship reinstatement.
- .05 BAC or higher = must complete DUI program and serve 30 days without license or permit before reinstatement
When are Hardship Licenses Prohibited?
- 2nd or subsequent suspension for test refusal.
- Driver convicted of (DUI) section 316.193, F.S., two or more times.
- Furthermore, persons suspended from driving commercial vehicles cannot get a hardship license to drive commercial vehicles.
The legal process may seem challenging when your are charged with DUI case.
So, that’s why having DUI lawyers with extensive experience pursuing your rights. Above all, this is critical to a positive outcome in your case.
Wood, Atter & Wolf are considered by many to be the best DUI lawyers in Jacksonville. 1400+ positive reviews shows our dedication to our clients success. Call 904-355-8888 to book your consultation now!
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