Being convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) can have serious consequences, especially if it is not your first offense. Not only can you lose your driving privileges, temporarily or permanently, but you can also face significant monetary penalties and/or serve time in prison. Even if you should get your license reinstated, you will almost always need an SR-22 and the cost of insurance will skyrocket. If you are charged with driving under the influence, the very first thing you should do is hire the services of a Florida DUI defense attorney. Here is some of what you need to know.
First, a Frightening Statistic
So, you’ve gone to the shop holiday party and you’ve had a drink or two. You don’t feel impaired and foolishly get behind the wheel to drive home. Not only are you putting your own life in jeopardy but the lives of others as well. Did you know that in the year 2014, there were 676 traffic fatalities as the direct result of drunk drivers? Sadly, this is something which could have been avoided.
If those drivers hadn’t have gotten behind the wheel, perhaps their reaction time would have been quicker or they would have simply had better control of the vehicle. Hopefully, you have not been charged with manslaughter as the result of drunk driving, but if you have, you need the best legal representation you can afford. There may be no beating the charge, but a good lawyer may be able to win you a significantly reduced penalty.
Beating the Odds
Alcohol is hard to dispute if you’ve failed the breathalyzer tests, but again, a good attorney can often get a more favorable outcome if found guilty. Marijuana, on the other hand, is still one of the easiest charges to dispute at the current time. The reason for this is simply because reliable testing is yet to be ‘invented.’ It is hard to determine legal limits of THC, the intoxicating substance in cannabis, and thus makes it easier to counter in a court of law.
A good attorney can often offer into evidence the fact that legal limits have not been established and there is no reliable test to determine whether or not you are over a legal limit which has yet to be set. Why is marijuana a new issue in the state? The recent legalization of medical marijuana will most likely see more drivers being charged with a DUI.
Fines Are No Laughing Matter
Finally, a good attorney can sometimes be instrumental in getting DUI fines reduced or waived. Fines in Florida are hefty, to say the least. Consider for a moment that a second-time offender, if found guilty, can be given up to six months in jail along with a fine ranging from $500 to $2,000. A third-time offender may see an entire year in jail along with a fine ranging from $2,000 to $5,000, and a DUI manslaughter conviction is a 2nd-degree felony punishable by a jail sentence up to 15 years. You do not want to be convicted of any DUI, but DUI manslaughter will ruin your life.
Why do you need a great lawyer if charged with driving under the influence of any substance whatsoever? The outcome can impact the rest of your life. Bear that in mind before you get behind the wheel, but if you’ve been foolish enough to do just that, get yourself a good lawyer as soon as you’re charged with the offense. It’s your only chance of beating the odds.