If you've never been in trouble with the law before, being arrested for DUI is a shocking, embarrassing, and stressful experience. After you get out of jail, the search for the right attorney for your case begins.
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The stakes are high because a DUI conviction will be a permanent mark on your criminal record. A conviction for DUI means you can never seal or expunge the arrest record.
Additionally, a DUI conviction will cause a dramatic increase in your car insurance premiums as well as cause other expensive indirect consequences that can last a lifetime.
The best way to avoid these consequences is to hire an attorney to contest the administrative suspenion of your driver's license and fight the criminal charges with the goal of avoiding a DUI conviction.
Attorneys for the First DUI in Tampa, FL
At the Sammis Law Firm, our attorneys focus on fighting DUI cases in Tampa and Plant City in Hillsborough County, FL. The best results are getting the charges dropped or at least dropped to the less serious offense of reckless driving.
After a DUI arrest in Tampa or Hillsborough County, FL, you have two cases pending against you.
- Civil Case - The first case is the civil case with the DMV in which they are trying to administratively suspend your driver's license immediately after your arrest.
- Criminal Case - The second case for the criminal accusation is also pending against you in County Court for the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit in Tampa, Hillsborough County, FL.
Call 813-250-0500 today to discuss your case.
The Administrative Suspension After a First DUI Arrest
After the arrest, the officer will seize your driver's license and give you a 10-day driving permit. If you do nothing, your driver's license will be suspended for the following time period depending on whether you took the breath test or not:
- Breath Test: If you took the breath test and blew over a .08, then your Florida driver’s license will be suspended for six (6) months with a thirty (30) day hard suspension; and
- Refused Testing: If you refused to take the breath, blood, or urine test, then your Florida driver’s license will be suspended for twelve (12) months with a ninety (90) day hard suspension.
You can fight this administrative suspension by hiring an attorney to request a formal review hearing within 10 days after the arrest. The request for the hearing will entitle you to a 42-day driving permit so that you can continue driving while your attorney fights the suspension.
If you win the hearing, the suspension is REMOVED from your driving record completely (as if it never happened). On the other hand, if you lose the hearing because the hearing officer refuses to invalidate the suspension, then your hard suspension period will begin once your 42-day driving permit expires.
Find out more about why it might be in your best interest to fight the administrative suspension of your driver's license - How to Demand a Formal Review Hearing within 10 Days of the DUI Arrest.
The Penalties in the Criminal Case for a First DUI
Listed below are the First DUI minimum statutory penalties that must be imposed by the Court unless you avoid the first DUI conviction:
- Jail Time or Incarceration: Up to six (6) months in the Hillsborough County Jail (if the BAL is .15 or higher or a minor was in the vehicle then the jail time is up to nine (9) months);
- Term of Probation: Up to twelve (12) months (however the total period of probation and incarceration may not exceed 12 months);
- Community Service: Mandatory 50 hours of community service (but the court may allow you to buy out a portion of the community service hours at a rate of $10 per hour);
- Fine: The required fine for a first DUI in Florida is between $500 and $1,000 (with a BAL of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle: Not less than $1,000, or more than $2,000. Court may grant community service in lieu of DUI fines if defendant is unable to pay);
- Driver License Revocation Period: Minimum of six (6) months and maximum of twelve (12) months;
- Business Purposes Only or Employment Purposes Only Reinstatements: Requires driver complete DUI school and apply to department for hearing for possible hardship reinstatement;
- Vehicle impoundment or immobilization: Unless the family of the defendant has no other transportation the Court must impose ten (10) days of vehicle immobilization which cannot be served at the same time as the jail term (exception for vehicles operated solely by the employees of the defendant or any business owned by the defendant);
- DUI School: Level I twelve (12) hour class which includes a substance abuse evaluation and requires completion of any recommended follow-up treatment before any hardship reinstatement (if reinstated after revocation period expires, failure to complete DUI school within 90 days after reinstatement will result in license cancellation); and
- Ignition Interlock Device: Not required unless Court ordered (except Court is required to order the ignition interlock device for six (6) months if the BAC was .15 or higher or a minor was in the vehicle).
If you have been arrested for a First DUI in Hillsborough County, FL, contact a Tampa DUI Attorney at the Sammis Law Firm to discuss the particular facts, the best way to avoid the typical penalties, and the circumstances of your case.
Reinstating Your Driving Privilege After a First DUI Conviction in Florida
After a first DUI, at the time you apply for reinstatement of your driving privilege, you must show proof of liability coverage or FR-44 insurance, pay an administrative fee of $115, a reinstatement fee of $60, and a driver's license fee.
You must personally appear at the DHSMV Bureau of Administrative Reviews (BAR) office to obtain a hardship license.
Choosing a Tampa DUI Attorney for a First DUI
If you have been arrested for a first DUI in Tampa, Hillsborough County, FL, contact an experienced lawyer to discuss your case. Call 813-250-0500 to speak with an attorney at the Sammis Law Firm today.
In many cases, the fact that you have no prior DUI conviction or criminal record can be used to your advantage. An attorney can help you decide the best strategy for fighting the accusation against you. Let us put our experience to work for you. Call today for a free consultation.
This article was last updated on Friday, November 17, 2017.