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The Watson Firm, PLLC The Watson Firm, PLLC
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Drug-Based DUI Lawyer

Jail cell

When many people hear the term “DUI,” they imagine a police officer administering a driver a breathalyzer test after having too much to drink. But DUI stands for driving under the influence, which doesn’t necessarily mean someone needs to have consumed alcohol to receive a DUI. Several types of substances can impair someone’s ability to drive, both legal and illegal. Marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines, heroin, PCP, fentanyl, and a litany of drugs can decrease reactions and make someone dangerous behind the wheel. Some prescription medications can also create intoxicating effects. Therefore, someone shouldn’t be confident that they won’t be arrested for DUI just because the drug they consumed wasn’t alcohol. Anyone facing drug DUI charges in the state of Florida needs to begin prompt work on a legal defense that can mitigate the negative impact on the defendant’s life. For your free consultation with The Watson Firm, PLLC, call 850-607-2929 or contact us online.

Drug DUI Fines

There is no reduction or increase in penalties when someone is convicted of DUI because of drugs rather than alcohol. However, fines for DUIs are based on prior DUI convictions, the BAL (breath alcohol level), and the presence of a minor in the vehicle.

First DUI

  • Base: $500 to $1,000
  • BAL 0.15+ or minor in vehicle: $1,000 to $2,000

Second DUI

  • Base: $1,000 to $2,000
  • BAL 0.15+ or minor in vehicle: $2,000 to $4,000

Third DUI

  • Base: $2,000 to $5,000
  • BAL 0.15+ or minor in vehicle: $4,000 minimum

Fourth DUI And Onwards

  • Base: $2,000 minimum
  • BAL 0.15+ or minor in vehicle: $4,000 minimum

Drug DUI Jail Time

Someone convicted of driving under the influence of drugs in Florida could spend a serious amount of time in jail. Additionally, the penalties could be increased exponentially if someone is injured or killed as a result of someone driving under the influence of drugs.

First DUI

  • Base: 6 months maximum
  • BAL 0.15+ or minor in a vehicle: 9 months maximum

Second DUI

  • Base: 9 months maximum
  • BAL 0.15+ or minor in a vehicle: 12 months maximum
  • Second conviction within 5 years: 10 days mandatory, 48 hours consecutive

Third DUI

  • Within 10 years: 30 days mandatory, 48 hours consecutive
  • Not within 10 years: 12 months maximum

Fourth DUI And Onwards

  • 5 years maximum

Drug DUI Defense Strategies

Plea Bargaining

Given the right circumstances, the prosecution may be willing to work with a defendant to come to a plea bargain. This means the defendant pleads guilty to the crime, and the case does not go to trial. With a plea bargain, a defendant may be able to plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for not fighting the charges. This could mean less jail time, the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony, and more. If the defendant cannot plead down, the defendant may at least be able to make sure their penalties remain on the low end of the sentencing guidelines. This can be crucial if the defendant has prior convictions or other extenuating circumstances that could cause the court to penalize the defendant more strictly. Not every lawyer will be able to reach the same plea agreement given the exact same circumstances. A high-quality lawyer can negotiate penalties that will have less impact on the defendant's life and even give the defendant realistic expectations about what can be achieved.

Proactive Treatment

Sometimes, a judge may be more lenient with a defendant who has already completed drug or alcohol treatment before going to court for a DUI. This could be rehab, joining alcoholics or narcotics anonymous, or any other recognized method of substance abuse treatment. This is no guarantee that anyone will “go easy” on a defendant for completing treatment, but it can’t hurt the situation. Additionally, seeking substance abuse treatment can help reduce DUI recidivism.

Evidence Exclusion

Sometimes, the prosecution can’t be convinced to drop or reduce charges. In these circumstances, it can be helpful to work piece by piece, getting evidence deemed inadmissible in court. When evidence is deemed inadmissible in court, it is essentially useless to the prosecution. Constitutional violations, including the failure to read Miranda rights, can help a defendant keep evidence and statements out of the courtroom. Defendants who believe their rights have been violated in the pursuit of evidence for the charges against them should seek advice from an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible.

Actual Physical Control

Florida DUI law requires that a driver is in “actual physical control” of a motor vehicle while under the influence to be convicted of DUI. Someone could succeed in an actual physical control defense if they were simply waiting in their vehicle for a different ride, or even “sleeping it off.” The court will look at all the surrounding factors to determine whether the driver had actual physical control of the vehicle or intended to take physical control of the motor vehicle while intoxicated. Someone who is arrested while their keys are in the trunk and they are sleeping in the backseat could prevail from this defense, while someone who was arrested with their keys in the ignition, sitting in the driver’s seat with navigation pulled up, may not be so successful.

Our Florida Defense Team Can Help With Any DUI-Related Charges

A defendant facing DUI charges in the state of Florida needs to move swiftly to protect their rights and privileges like driving. A DUI conviction could mean jail time- even the shortest jail sentence could permanently mar someone’s life. A DUI conviction will also come with expensive fines, which can be difficult to pay when someone’s auto insurance rates double and they are missing work due to imprisonment. Florida DUI defendants should explore all of their options for their cases, including those beyond court-appointed attorneys. The cost of hiring a private defender could end up saving a defendant so much more in legal costs and life opportunities in the long run. To schedule your free defense consultation with The Watson Firm, PLLC, call 850-607-2929 or contact us online.