The Consequences of Driving Under the Influence
Lakeland, FL (Law Firm Newswire) January 9, 2013 - Drinking and driving in Florida has many consequences.
“People in Florida may not understand that under the law here, DUI is one offense that covers driving under the influence of alcoholic beverages, chemical substances or controlled substances. This offense is proven by the level of impairment of the driver’s faculties at the time they are stopped,” explained Thomas Grajek, a Lakeland criminal defense attorney. “For a deeper understanding of the law, a good reference page to visit is here."
The first conviction for Florida DUI is a fine of not less than $500 or more than $1,000. If the blood alcohol content is .15, or higher, or if a minor is also present in the vehicle at the time, the fine is not less than $1,000 or more than $2,000. “For those who are faced with a second conviction, the fines run from not less than $1,000 or more than $2,000, and again, if the blood alcohol content is .15 or higher and a minor is present, the fine would run between $2,000 and $4,000,” said Grajek.
The more convictions over a period of time, the higher the fines, the longer the community service and the longer the jail term served. “One thing should be made clear though, and that is that not everyone charged with DUI is guilty. This is why a criminal defense lawyer is a vital asset to someone about to be charged with DUI, or has already been charged with DUI,” Grajek stated. “Being charged with an offense does not mean the person is guilty. It only means they have been charged with something. There are many situations where a charge for DUI does not ultimately stand up in court.”
The circumstances under which a driver was stopped and asked to perform field sobriety tests is always something to carefully scrutinize, as is the competence of the roadside breathalyzer operator. Additionally, the roadside, and law enforcement in-house breathalyzers, have come under fire for not being properly calibrated, thus producing inaccurate readings.
Then there is the fact that there is a margin of error of 50 percent when comparing breathalyzer “estimates” of blood alcohol content to “actual” blood alcohol content. In other words, a breathalyzer reading of 1 percent would represent a blood alcohol content of about .05 percent to .15 percent, which is hardly precise, accurate or fair.
Suspected DUI drivers are under no obligation to speak to the police when they are stopped. “In fact, my advice to them would be to just remain silent, and save your explanation for driving while possibly drunk or under the influence of something else, for your criminal defense lawyer. And, make no mistake, you will need a criminal defense lawyer, as this is not a situation you want to deal with on your own,” added Grajek.
Thomas C. Grajek
206 Easton Drive, Suite 102
Lakeland, FL 33803
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