The serious charge of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is usually a misdemeanor, but depending on the circumstances may be charged as a felony. To be considered as a DUI, the driver needs to be found with a Blood Alcohol Content of .08 percent or higher and be in control of a vehicle. Other than that, each state differs in their charges and laws.
A DUI may be a felony charge if bodily harm is inflicted onto another person, having a child in the vehicle, having prior DUI convictions, or if driving on a restricted, suspended, or revoked license… Again, these laws do differ from state to state. There are too many unknowns for a person to try to fight a DUI conviction alone, so please don’t attempt to defend yourself. If a person cannot afford to hire an attorney, the court will appoint one for you.
Because of the differences from state to state and that the ramifications of a DUI charge are very severe, it is extremely important to hire a good criminal defense attorney in the state of the offense. Attorney Travis Koon is a member of the Florida and Georgia Bar. ***We encourage each individual to hire an attorney experienced with the laws in the State the person is accused of committing the crime.***
Florida law states that if a person is driving a vehicle, they have given consent to submit to a chemical test to determine the blood alcohol content, this is known as implied consent; but the driver does also have the right to refuse the test. If the driver refuses the test, the driver could lose his license for up to one year. On the other hand, if the driver does refuse to submit to the breath, blood, or urine test, Attorney Travis Koon can assist the individual and help the person obtain a business purpose license in specific circumstances. Just because a person fails to blow or provide a blood and/or urine sample does not mean the person is automatically going to jail and/or will not be able to drive forever. Contacting a criminal defense attorney to advise you of your rights is highly recommended because the process is difficult to understand, the procedure is complicated and being properly advised as to how to fight your case are important.
REMEMBER… There are consequences when refusing a breathalyzer test. The following are a possibility:
1st offense of refusal
Driver’s license suspended for 1 year (you can obtain a business purpose permit to driver to and from work, to and from school and to and from church but you must follow a very strict procedure to do so in Florida)
2nd offense of refusal
Driver’s license suspended for 18 months and minimum 10 days jail time (no hardship allowed in Florida.)
3rd offense of refusal
Driver’s license suspended for 18 months and minimum 30 days jail time (no hardship.)
Arraignment – when the defendant appears before a judge to be formally charged with a crime and have the court appoint an attorney if the person cannot afford one on their own. It is at this time the defendant, or their attorney, can enter a plea of either guilty, ask for a trial by judge, ask for a trial by jury, or try to plea bargain down the charges.
In some circumstances, a DUI can be pleaded down to a “wet reckless” charge. This is considered a reckless driving involving alcohol charge and has less severe penalties than a more serious DUI conviction. On the flip side, if you are pulled over and the officer has the suspicion of DUI but you know you have not been drinking alcohol, it is well within your right to ask for a breathalyzer test to assert your innocence!
A DUI conviction can have very harsh and long lasting repercussions; it is in your very best interest to hire a qualified criminal defense attorney. We are defense attorneys in Lake City, FL with offices located in Lake City, Gainesville, and Miami. Before you tell your side of the story, always call and attorney and tell it to us first.