5 Factors That Can Make Florida DUI Charges Worse
A conviction for violating Florida’s DUI law can make your life very difficult, as it could be months before you can legally drive again, you’ll have to pay hefty fines, and you may even face jail time. Under the circumstances, you want to do everything possible to defend your interests and obtain the best possible outcome. Unfortunately, there are certain factors that could make it tough to overcome drunk driving charges. They’re termed aggravating factors, which may make a DUI a much more serious offense in the eyes of the law when it comes to sentencing.
Still, there are strategies for fighting the allegations and a Fort Lauderdale DUI lawyer can help with all available options. You might also benefit from knowing some of the aggravating circumstances that can lead to harsher sentencing for a DUI.
- Prior Drunk Driving Convictions: If you have a conviction for DUI in your criminal history, your punishment in a subsequent case will be more severe. Florida has a 10-year “lookback” period when it comes to drunk driving cases, which means the court will consider DUI convictions within this timeframe when sentencing you in the present matter.
- Excessive BAC: The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in Florida is .08 percent, but there are special provisions in the law for amounts considered “excessive.” Once you hit a BAC of .16 percent or more, you trigger enhanced penalties.
- Causing an Accident: In Florida, a DUI is considered far more serious if intoxication leads to a motor vehicle crash in which someone is injured or killed. When responding to the call for an accident, police may question if you’ve been drinking – or they may ask you to take a breathalyzer test if they observe any indication that you’re impaired.
- Carrying a Child as a Passenger: When someone drives while drunk and has a minor in the car, they put the young person at risk of serious injury or death. As such, Florida law treats the situation as one of child endangerment.
- Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and Florida DUI: Different laws apply when a CDL holder is charged with drunk driving. If you’re operating a commercial vehicle at the time police pull you over, you could be arrested for DUI with a BAC of .04 percent – half the legal limit that applies to other motorists. As a practical matter, suspension of your CDL means you could be out of work for several months. Plus, some trucking employers won’t hire a driver who has a past drunk driving conviction, so you could experience challenges in finding employment.
Set up a Consultation with a Florida DUI Defense Attorney
Every DUI case is different, but you could face an uphill battle if any of the above aggravating factors was present in your arrest. Instead of just accepting the potential punishment, it’s worthwhile to retain a drunk driving defense lawyer who can develop a strategy to fight the charges. For more information, please contact the Fort Lauderdale offices of attorney Kevin J. Kulik. We can set up a case evaluation to review your case and discuss how to proceed.