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Pinellas County Criminal Defense Attorney Discusses What You Should Know About Being Arrested for a DUI in the State of Florida

Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

I have reviewed hundreds of Internet sites to find out what information is being provided regarding DUI law in the state of Florida. What I have found is that the discussions are lengthy, detailed and filled with complicated legal terms that are often times difficult to decipher for the non-attorney. This is my attempt to provide individuals who have been arrested for a DUI with a short and simple MUST KNOW list.

  • Do not drink and drive, a taxi is much cheaper.
    • With this being said, if you find yourself in the situation where you have been taken to jail for a DUI, hire a DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible. If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, seek the advice of the public defender’s office. It is important to know that Assistant Public Defenders will not begin work on your case until they have received a file. Additionally, they do not represent individuals for administrative hearings.
  • The legal limit in the state of Florida is .08.
    • This means that there is a presumption that you are under the influence of alcohol to the extent that your normal faculties are impaired. This does not mean that your case is over. Consult an attorney about possible motions and legal defenses you may have even if your blood alcohol level is over the legal limit.
  • You have ten (10) days from the date of your arrest to request an administrative hearing.
    • The officer who arrests you will take your driver’s license. He will issue you a citation and this citation will act as a temporary driver’s license assuming you are otherwise qualified to drive. It is only good for ten (10) days. You may request an administrative hearing within the ten (10) days. During the time period that you are waiting for your hearing, the Department of Motor Vehicles may provide you with an extension on your ten (10) day license up to 4-5 weeks or until your hearing date.
  • Although you may represent yourself at an administrative hearing, it is not recommended.
    • The purpose of an administrative hearing is to determine whether law enforcement’s evidence complies with the requirements for an administrative license suspension. In other words, can you have your license back?  This is also an opportunity for your attorney to gather and inspect all documents relating to your arrest.
  • Your ten (10) day license has no restrictions; the extended license that you are given pending your hearing date has restrictions.
    • The ten (10) day license acts just like a normal driver’s license. You may drive without restrictions. The extended temporary license limits your driving. Your attorney should review these restrictions with you.
  • If there is no evidence to support an administrative suspension and you are otherwise eligible to drive, the hearing officer will allow for your license to be returned to you. You may drive pending the resolution of your case.
  • Speak to an experienced attorney in person about DUI defenses and evidentiary motions to ensure your Constitutional rights are protected.

Florida DUI laws are very complicated. It is important to hire an attorney who has experience litigating DUI’s, especially if the charge is accompanied by a manslaughter or serious bodily injury. The Law Offices of Powers Sellers & Finkelstein, PLC will provide you with a free consultation at our office or in the jails of the Tampa Bay Area. We are criminal defense attorneys who have represented hundreds of individuals who have been arrested for misdemeanor and felony DUI’s, including DUI manslaughter, DUI with Serious Bodily Injury, and DUI with property damage.