Will I go to jail for a first time offense?
It depends on the circumstances surrounding your case. For a first time DUI or misdemeanor drug offense, you most likely will not have to serve any time in jail. However, in a subsequent DUI charge, or one that results in an accident that causes serious property damage, severe injury, or death to another person, your case may be tried as a felony and/or you could face a severe jail sentence. In addition, should you concurrently be charged with drug possession, you could potentially face jail time.
Will I lose my driver’s license?
When you are arrested for DUI, the law enforcement officer will automatically suspend your license, and you will be given a temporary permit. You have ten days from the date of your arrest to schedule an administrative hearing with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. This hearing will determine whether your driving privileges will remain suspended or if they will be reinstated. If you are found at fault, you may lose your license for up to one year or more, depending on how many prior DUI offenses you have, your BAC level (Blood Alcohol Content), or if you refused a chemical test. You may also have your driver’s license suspended or revoked if you are found guilty in criminal court of committing a DUI.
What should I say to the police if I am arrested?
Many people make the mistake of thinking they have to answer every question a police officer or detective asks them. This is not true. When law enforcement officers ask you questions, they are looking for evidence to use against you in court at a later date. You have the legal right to abstain from answering any questions and should politely say, “I would like to speak to my attorney before I answer your questions,” even though, oddly enough, you don’t have a right to an attorney at that point. The practical reality is, juries go nuts when they see someone presumably denied their constitutional rights.
Can I refuse chemical testing, and if I do, what are the consequences?
Yes, and it is less evidence they can use against you in the future. However, any subsequent refusals can result in a separate criminal charge in Florida. Note: Refusing to take a chemical test will result in the immediate suspension of your driver’s license for one year on a first DUI offense, and 18 months for repeat offenses. In addition, your refusal will be considered evidence at your criminal trial as a sign of guilt to be used against you. Finally, you are required to take a chemical test, and/or give blood if you caused an accident that resulted in the death or serious injury of another person.
Can I fight my arrest?
Absolutely! Just because an officer arrests and charges you with a DUI, does not mean it was done lawfully and does not mean you are a criminal. If you believe the means by which a police officer arrested you were unlawful, you can fight your charges at both the driver’s license hearing and in DUI court. In addition, if you took a breath test, you can challenge the accuracy of the machine. Most breathalyzer machines are not 100% accurate, and human error often occurs. Let attorney Jerry Roden help you fight your charges, challenge the state in court, and work towards a favorable outcome.