Nobody gets behind the wheel with the intention of getting pulled over for any traffic violation, let alone being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI). Many people who arrested for alleged drunk driving offenses in Florida not only did not have any intent to harm or endanger others, but they can often be shocked to learn that they were operating a motor vehicle while being considered legally intoxicated.
People who have not been previously convicted of DUI are understandably frightened about what punishments may be in store for them when they enter courtrooms, but it is critical to remember that an arrest for drunk driving is not the same as a conviction. Because an alleged offender only has a limited amount of time to request a formal hearing to challenge a possible administrative suspension of his or her driver’s license, immediate action is critical to achieving the most favorable possible outcome.
Attorney for First DUI Arrests in Fort Lauderdale, FL
Were you recently arrested in Broward County for your first DUI? You will want to retain legal counsel as soon as possible. Contact Meltzer & Bell right now.
Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers Lawrence Meltzer and Steven Bell represent clients all over South Florida who were accused of DUI offenses, including Coconut Creek, Coral Springs, Davie, Deerfield Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Hallandale Beach, Hollywood, Margate, and many others. They can review your case and answer all of your legal questions when you call (754) 755-8554 to receive a free initial consultation.
Broward County First DUI Information Center
- When can a person be arrested for DUI in Florida?
- What are the punishments for people convicted of drunk driving for the first time?
- Where can I find more information about first DUI in Broward County?
Florida Statute § 316.193(1) establishes that a person is guilty of DUI if he or she is driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle within Florida and:
- The person is under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substance, or any substance controlled, when affected to the extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired;
- The person has a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood; or
- The person has a breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.
When a person has a breath or blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 of higher, the offense is often called a “per se DUI.” Per se is Latin for “by itself” or “in itself,” and a person can be convicted of DUI if he or she was driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 or more—regardless of any signs of impairment—because Florida Statute § 316.1934(2)(c) establishes that a BAC of 0.08 or greater “is prima facie evidence that the person was under the influence of alcoholic beverages to the extent that his or her normal faculties were impaired.”
In most cases, a person’s first DUI arrest is a second-degree misdemeanor. Under Florida Statute § 316.193(2)(a), first DUI convictions can result in sentences that include any of the following:
- Up to six months in jail;
- Fine of up to $1,000;
- Participate in public service or a community work project for a minimum of 50 hours;
- Impoundment or immobilization of the vehicle that was operated by or in the actual control of the alleged offender or any one vehicle registered in the alleged offender’s name at the time of impoundment or immobilization, for a period of 10 days or for the unexpired term of any lease or rental agreement that expires within 10 days; and/or
- Completion of Level I DUI program.
Convictions can also result in the driver’s licenses of alleged offenders being suspended for up to six months, although cases involving alleged refusal to submit to breath, urine, or blood tests can result in suspensions of one year for first refusals and 18-month suspensions for subsequent refusals. People who are arrested for DUI in Florida only have 10 days to request a formal hearing with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Bureau of Administrative Reviews to avoid an automatic suspension.
If a person is arrested for DUI with an alleged BAC of 0.15 or higher, a conviction can result in enhanced penalties. In addition to possibly facing up to nine months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000, alleged offenders with BACs of 0.15 or more can also be ordered to—at their own expense—install ignition interlock devices (IIDs) for at least six continuous months in all vehicles they individually or jointly lease or own and routinely operate.
DUI (Driving Under the Influence) UNIT | Broward Sheriff’s Office — Visit this section of the Broward Sheriff’s Office website to learn more about its DUI Unit. It is responsible for enforcing DUI laws, processing alleged DUI offenders, and increasing awareness of the hazards of driving or boating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You can find information about the DUI Task Force, DUI/Breath Alcohol Testing (BAT), and BAT Video divisions of the unit.
Broward Sheriff’s Office
2601 W. Broward Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312
Florida Licensed DUI Programs | Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) — On this section of the DHSMV website, you can review all of the types of fees associated with DUI offenses as well as view a list of licensed DUI programs in the state. Certain programs serve multiple counties, but Broward County actually has multiple programs within the county. You can find the address, phone numbers, and related contact information for all these programs.
Meltzer & Bell | Fort Lauderdale First DUI Defense Lawyer
If you were arrested anywhere in South Florida for drunk driving for the first time, it will be in your best interest to quickly seek legal representation. Meltzer & Bell defends individuals in Miramar, Pembroke Pines, Plantation, Pompano Beach, Sunrise, Tamarac, Weston, Wilton Manors, and many surrounding areas of Broward County.
Lawrence Meltzer and Steven Bell are experienced criminal defense attorneys in Fort Lauderdale who may be able to get your criminal charges minimized or eliminated. Call (754) 755-8554 or submit an online contact form today to have our lawyers provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free initial consultation.