The criminal offense of driving under the influence (DUI) seems straightforward but is much more complex than people first think. It can be found at Florida statute §316.193. All drivers within the state of Florida should know about the state’s DUI laws, and what they entail, so they do not find themselves facing charges. If you have been charged with a DUI, your Jacksonville criminal attorney can assist you with getting the best result out of a bad situation.
DUI vs Drunk Driving
The Florida Statutes define the offense of DUI as driving or having physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, chemicals, or controlled substance that results in a blood alcohol or at least 0.08 percent, or that impairs a person’s normal faculties. Many people use the terms “DUI” and “drunk driving” interchangeably, but the two are different. While a drunk driver is considered to be under the influence, not all motorists under the influence are drunk, as chemicals and controlled substances can also impair a person. Some people can be impaired taking over-the-counter medications such as Nyquil. Consult your local Jacksonville criminal attorney if you have been charged with driving under the influence.
You Can Be Charged When You Are Not Driving
According to the statute, a person can face DUI charges if they are in physical control of the vehicle, even if they are not driving. For example, if you were impaired while in the driver’s seat, and you had the keys in the ignition, you are in physical control of the vehicle under the statute. As such, you can be charged with a DUI even if the vehicle is not moving.
You Must Submit to Chemical Tests
If a police officer pulls you over and asks you to submit to a chemical test, such as a breath, blood, or urine test, you must submit to it. State law recognizes the fact that driving is a privilege and to enjoy that privilege, all drivers provide implied consent to take these tests every time they get behind the wheel. This underscores that driving is a privilege not a right as most people think it is. If you refuse to take this test, you will lose your driver’s license for one year the first time, and 18 months if you refuse a second time. Also, a refusal to submit to these tests can also be used against you in any criminal proceeding. So, while a refusal may save you from getting a DUI, you will nonetheless lose your license to drive for at least a year. Contact your local Jacksonville criminal attorney for a consultation if you have been charged with a DUI or refusal to submit to chemical tests.
Conviction Does Not Necessarily Mean Jail Time
Being arrested for a DUI is scary, and it is normal to be worried about your future. You may also wonder if you will have to serve jail time. Fortunately, you may not be sentenced to jail time after your first DUI conviction. However, if you are convicted again within five years of your first DUI conviction, you will have to serve a mandatory jail sentence of at least ten days. If you are convicted a third time within ten years of a previous conviction, the minimum mandatory jail sentence is 30 days. A jail sentence of just ten days could cause you to lose your job. It is possible sometimes with the assistance of your Jacksonville criminal attorney to get the Court to agree with weekend jail time which may keep you from losing your job.
Your Jacksonville Criminal Attorney Can Assist You in Defense of Your Charges
If you have been arrested for a DUI, do not face the charges alone. Your Jacksonville criminal attorney is skilled and knows the strategies that will help you beat the charges and retain your freedom. Call us today for a free consultation.
About the Author
B. Elaine Jones is a licensed Florida attorney who has been practicing family law, guardianship law and criminal law for over 25 years in Florida. Ms. Jones is an associate with the Law Office of David M. Goldman in Jacksonville, Florida. Ms. Jones previously had a solo practitioner firm in Hillsborough County and joined Attorney Goldman’s firm in November of 2020. You can contact Ms. Jones at the Law Office of David M. Goldman for a free initial consultation in most cases.