Some people incorrectly assume that drunk driving is an administrative offense. However, a DUI is a crime, and like other crimes charged in Florida, it needs to be established beyond a reasonable doubt. A DUI conviction can result in onerous penalties. If you are charged with a DUI, you should take the charges seriously and retain a seasoned criminal defense attorney. Miami DUI lawyer Ivette Gonzalez Petkovich may be able to help you. As a former prosecutor, she understands how the other side builds its case, so she can craft strong defense strategies on your behalf.DUI Penalties
To obtain a conviction for drunk driving, a prosecutor either needs to show that your normal abilities were impaired or that your blood alcohol level was .08 or higher while you were operating a vehicle. If you are convicted of a DUI, you can face jail time, fines, a license suspension, community service, and probation. You may be ordered to go through an alcohol or drug treatment program. Generally, a first DUI is punished less harshly than a subsequent offense. Certain circumstances can result in harsher punishments. For example, if your drunk driving caused injuries or death to someone else, you may face particularly harsh penalties.First DUI
If you are convicted of a first DUI, in addition to license revocation, you can face a maximum of six months in jail, $500 to $1,000 in fines, and a possible six months of installing an ignition interlock device. For a first DUI conviction, your license may be suspended or revoked for 180 days to one year. However, you can apply for a hardship license with the assistance of a DUI attorney in the Miami area.Subsequent DUIs
Subsequent DUI convictions are punished more harshly. For a second conviction, you may face up to nine months in jail. You also face the possibility of $1,000 to $2,000 in fines, and the fines will be increased if your blood alcohol content was .15 or more, or if there was a minor traveling with you in the car. For a third conviction, you can face up to 12 months of incarceration and a $2,000-$5,000 fine. When a third conviction occurs within 10 years of a prior conviction, you can face felony charges that result in 30 days to five years’ incarceration and a 10-year driver’s license revocation. For a fourth DUI conviction, you can face five years in prison and a fine of $2,000-$5,000, as well as a lifetime revocation of your driver’s license.Implied Consent
If you are lawfully arrested for a suspected DUI, Florida law provides that you have given implied consent to a chemical test of your breath, urine, or blood to figure out whether there is alcohol or drugs in your system. Your driver’s license can be revoked if you refuse testing, and the refusal can be used to show culpability at trial. If you have a prior refusal, you can be charged with a misdemeanor.Defenses
Miami DUI attorney Ivette Gonzalez Petkovich can examine the circumstances surrounding your arrest to determine whether your constitutional or procedural rights were violated. The police must have had a reasonable suspicion of criminal wrongdoing to detain you and must have had probable cause to arrest you. For example, if the police officer pulled you over on a hunch, rather than because of a reasonable suspicion of criminal wrongdoing, it may be possible to get the evidence obtained during the illegal stop suppressed. Sometimes it is not possible to get all the evidence suppressed, but it may be possible to get critical evidence suppressed so that the prosecution cannot meet its burden of proof. There are also certain procedures that need to be followed regarding chemical tests, as well as field sobriety tests. When the procedures are not followed, this may be a basis to suppress or otherwise challenge the evidence.Retain a Knowledgeable Defense Attorney
Florida prosecutors and courts take drunk driving seriously. A conviction may result in substantial criminal penalties, as well as civil and administrative repercussions. Attorney Petkovich represents drivers throughout South Florida. Call us at 305-358-8003 or contact us via our online form to speak with a DUI lawyer in the Miami area.