Chronology of a Florida DUI Case
If you were arrested for violating Florida’s drunk driving laws, there is a long way to go through the process of actually being convicted for DUI. The proceedings are quite complex, so it can be a challenge to understand the timeline and rules that apply at different stages. Unless you have a legal background, you may not understand your rights and how to protect them. Working with a knowledgeable drunk driving defense attorney is the best way to defend drunk driving charges, but reviewing the chronology of a DUI case should be useful.
Police Pull You Over: An officer may pull you over for various reasons, such as speeding, violating traffic laws, swerving with your lane, and other acts. Law enforcement may also pull you over pursuant to a sobriety checkpoint, which is common in Florida around the holidays. In either situation, police may observe, slurred speech, the smell of alcohol, or bloodshot eyes when they interact with you. This suspicious conduct may give them probable cause to believe that you were driving drunk.
- Arrest and Testing for Blood Alcohol Concentration: Once police have probable cause, they have grounds to formally arrest you for DUI. Being charged does not mean you are guilty of drunk driving, but an arrest triggers Florida’s implied consent law. You must agree to a blood, urine, or breathalyzer test to measure your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). A refusal can lead to considerable penalties, including an immediate driver’s license suspension for one year.
The results of a chemical test affect your driving privileges based upon the level of BAC. Therefore:
- BAC .08 Percent or Higher: When your BAC is at or above the legal limit of .08 percent, an automatic suspension applies. If you have a valid license, police will issue a temporary driving permit that is valid for 10 days from your arrest.
- BAC Under .08 Percent: You can still face charges for driving while impaired, which carries the same criminal sanctions as driving while over the legal limit. The basis for the charges is that your normal faculties are affected by alcohol, even when your BAC is under .08 percent.
- Hearing on Administrative Suspension: You can dispute your DUI arrest if you file the proper forms within the 10 day period that you are driving on a temporary license. In most cases, you can only contest probable cause and the officers’ reasonable suspicion that you were driving drunk.
- Criminal DUI Charges: In addition to the administrative proceedings regarding your driver’s license, drunk driving is a separate criminal case. If you are convicted, you may be sentenced to jail time, fines, probation and community service. Plus, you may have a criminal record, which can be a big problem for your current job, future employment opportunities, immigration status, and in other situations.
A Florida DUI Defense Attorney Can Assist with Drunk Driving Charges
For more information on drunk driving cases and the timeline of Florida DUIs, please contact criminal defense attorney Kevin J. Kulik. Our office serves clients in Fort Lauderdale, FL, Broward County, and throughout the surrounding area in all types of criminal cases. You can reach our firm to schedule a consultation by calling 954-761-9411.