Help from Skilled, Compassionate Pensacola DUI Attorneys
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a serious offense with negative consequences that extend to every area of your life. As with any criminal prosecution, you face fines and jail time if convicted. But in addition to that, you must deal with the loss of your driver’s license, having your car impounded, being required to perform community service or even ordered into residential treatment. On top of all that, a drunk driving arrest can cause embarrassment and stigma that damages your reputation in the community and can cost you your job or professional license.
A DUI arrest is in many ways worse than being prosecuted for more “serious” crimes. The criminal defense attorneys at Whibbs Stone Barnett have experience defending people accused of all types of crimes, including DUI. From our offices in Pensacola, Fort Walton and Mobile, we can help you and provide you with advice and representation designed to minimize any negative consequences that may result from your drunk driving arrest.
Florida Drunk Driving Laws Contain Harsh Penalties
DUI is generally a misdemeanor offense, although it can be charged as a felony if it is your third conviction within ten years, your fourth conviction ever, or if you were involved in a crash which caused serious bodily injury. Even for a first offense misdemeanor DUI, however, the penalties can be quite severe. You can be fined up to $1,000, or more if there was a minor in the vehicle or if your blood alcohol content was .15% or more. You can be sentenced to 50 hours of community service, with a ten dollar fine for every hour not completed. You can also be sentenced to jail or ordered into residential treatment for up to six months, or up to nine months if penalty enhancements apply.
In addition to the criminal penalties, you will also have your car impounded for ten days and have your driver’s license revoked for a period of six months to a year. All of these consequences arise just from a first offense. The penalties increase greatly on conviction of a second or subsequent offense.
Help is Available for DUI Arrests
Even if you tested with a Blood Alcohol Content of .08% or more, there may still be many defenses available to a DUI prosecution. For instance, the testing procedures and equipment used can be carefully investigated to determine whether an error may have been made. Another important question that can be raised concerns whether the police had probable cause to pull you over and test you in the first place. Often times the police will try to establish cause for a blood or breath test by requiring you to perform various field sobriety tests, like walking in a straight line or reciting the alphabet backwards. Only a couple of these tests are generally accepted as reliable, and the way they are administered and interpreted can be very subjective and nonscientific, leading to misinterpretation and inaccurate results.
Our lawyers aggressively pursue all available defenses and legal theories to have the charges dismissed or test results suppressed, or to secure an acquittal or judgment of not guilty at trial. If a plea agreement is in your better interests, we can often negotiate a plea to reckless driving or some lesser charge that minimizes any negative consequences that can accompany a conviction and help you get on with your life.
Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys for Your Florida DUI Arrest
Driving Under the Influence is dangerous, and police and prosecutors zealously seek to identify and punish drunk drivers. Sometimes law enforcement can be overzealous, though, and the police can make mistakes or seek to punish people more harshly than they deserve. Having the advice and help of skilled, knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorneys is key to protecting and exercising your rights and getting the best result possible. In Pensacola, Fort Walton/Destin, and Mobile, Alabama, contact Whibbs Stone Barnett for help from experienced Florida and Alabama DUI lawyers.