To many people, driving under the influence (DUI) charges don’t seem like a very pressing concern until they find themselves in the backseat of a police cruiser. The average driver tends to overestimate their own skill and underestimate their chemical impairment.
You may have felt like you were okay to drive. Maybe you only had two beers and do not understand the high reading that the chemical breath test returned. You probably have many questions about the charges you will face in the Florida criminal courts. The answers to the four common questions below about DUI charges can help you decide what step to take next.
Will I go to jail?
The first question on everyone’s mind after indictment for a criminal offense is whether or not their freedom is at risk. Many people accused of DUI offenses do successfully avoid jail time, but it is a possibility.
Even a first conviction could lead to up to six months in state custody. Repeat offenders and those with aggravating factors present at the time of their arrest could face much longer sentences.
Will I lose my license?
The administrative suspension of someone’s driver’s license is a standard procedure after DUI charges. How long you will lose your license will depend on the previous number of DUIs on your record and whether anyone got hurt this time. If it is your first offense without any bodily injury, you will lose your license for at least 180 days, possibly up to a year. Repeat offenders could lose their licenses for up to five years, while those who cause a death could lose their licenses permanently.
What will the DUI charges cost?
Florida assesses fines ranging from $500 for a first DUI to up to $5,000 for those with multiple convictions on their record. Beyond those fines, you can also expect a substantial increase in what you pay for motor vehicle insurance, court costs and lost wages.
Is it possible to defeat DUI charges?
Many people give up and plead guilty before ever truly considering the possibility of defending themselves. Chemical evidence from a breath test doesn’t necessarily ensure your conviction. Defending yourself could still be possible after a careful review of the evidence and the circumstances of your arrest.
Understanding what to expect when facing DUI charges could help motivate you to defend yourself and avoid a criminal conviction.