DUI Defense Lawyer in Lakeland — Fighting Back Against Impaired Driving Charges

Any criminal conviction can lead to significant difficulties. However, DUI charges are particularly problematic. In addition to potential jail time and a criminal record, an individual can lose their driver’s license and face significant fines and fees. Driving under the influence is taken very seriously in Florida, and in some instances, this means people are wrongfully convicted or treated unfairly by the system. If you’re facing these serious charges, it’s important to speak with a DUI defense lawyer in Lakeland to understand your rights.

At DeMichael Law, our legal practice has seen what an impaired driving conviction can do to a person’s life. Prosecutors will often frame plea deals as nothing more than a short stint without a license and a few classes. The reality of the situation is that you could lose thousands of dollars in fines, DUI classes, license reinstatement fees, and more. And while the financial impact is great, it’s often nothing compared to the potential loss of freedom a person can face. Don’t risk your future. Contact a Lakeland DUI attorney today.

What Can Lead to a DUI Arrest in Florida?

If you’re pulled over under suspicion of impaired driving, a police officer will need probable cause to make an arrest. There are various ways they can obtain this. In most DUI cases, a breath test is utilized to measure blood alcohol content (BAC). If a person’s BAC is over 0.08%, it’s assumed that they’re too intoxicated to drive. For commercial drivers, this threshold is 0.04%. For individuals under the age of 21, it’s only 0.02%.

However, any Florida criminal defense lawyer can tell you that a breath test isn’t necessary for a conviction. We often see this when individuals refuse to take a breathalyzer. Probable causes can also be gathered through the administration of a field sobriety test. If an officer believes you performed badly on these roadside tests, they may make an arrest even in the absence of a breath test. This can help police identify individuals who are under the influence of street or prescription drugs — or those who refuse to take a blood alcohol test.

What Are the Penalties for Drunk Driving in Florida?

While most DUI charges are misdemeanors, this doesn’t mean that the penalties aren’t severe. Even a first-time conviction with no property damage or harm to others can result in a jail sentence of nine months, license suspension, vehicle impoundment, mandatory drug tests, and thousands in fines. Remember, this is for a first-time conviction. If you’re facing a second or subsequent DUI case, the potential consequences of a conviction are even more severe.

For instance, a second conviction can result in similar fines and jail time — but a person can also lose their license for five years and face a mandatory ignition interlock device when they are allowed to drive. A second offense with aggravating factors can even result in a full year in jail. Subsequent offenses could eventually result in a felony and land a person behind bars for five years. And if someone is convicted of a DUI offense involving property damage, their very first offense could result in a year in jail.

Clearly, penalties will vary based on circumstances — but they’re always quite serious. This is why you should speak with a DUI defense attorney in Lakeland today.

Is It Possible to Avoid a DUI Conviction?

Individuals charged with driving under the influence often think a conviction is unavoidable. After all, how can you argue against a breath test — or video of you performing poorly on field sobriety tests? However, never just assume that your DUI case is “open and shut.” There are a variety of legal defenses to these charges, and a Lakeland DUI defense lawyer can help you understand if these could potentially apply in your case.

Consider these common defenses:

  • Constitutional violations: Officers must follow specific rules regarding probable cause and arrests.
  •  Improper field sobriety test administration: When administered improperly, field sobriety tests can be misleading.
  •  Faulty alcohol breath tests: Tens of thousands of DUI convictions in America were recently called into question due to faulty breathalyzer tests.
  •  Extraneous factors: Certain medical conditions, health impairments, and other factors can affect the accuracy of alcohol tests (both breathalyzers and field sobriety).
  •  Rising blood alcohol level: It’s possible to claim that a person’s BAC was under the limit while driving — but a breath test was conducted too long after the stop.

Experienced DUI lawyers in Lakeland can explain these potential defenses to you and whether they might apply to your case. Keep in mind that these are only the most common defense strategies. Depending on the circumstances of your case, there may be other options. Make sure you discuss your case with a legal professional before making any decisions on a plea arrangement or disposition.

Should You Just Plead Guilty and Move On?

When facing DUI charges, the prosecutor will likely offer you a plea deal. Put simply, they want to get your case concluded as quickly as possible. They’ll frame their offer as a way to avoid more serious consequences and to “get on with your life.” They may even tell you that the effect on your life will be negligible as long as you don’t commit a future DUI offense. Unfortunately, many people learn the hard way that this isn’t true.

While a plea deal may be in your best interest, you should first discuss this with a Florida criminal defense lawyer. Prosecutors and police do not have your best interests in mind. As such, you should have a legal advocate on your side fighting for you. A DUI defense attorney in Lakeland will review your case and help you understand all your options. An impaired driving arrest can follow you for a lifetime, but with a legal professional on your side, it may be possible to avoid this.

Contact a DUI Defense Lawyer in Lakeland Today

Whether you’re facing the loss of driving privileges or years in prison, the stakes of a DUI conviction are always severe. If you have no prior record, the prosecutor might try to convince you that a plea deal is in your best interest. However, previous convictions might result in an attempt to “throw the book” at you with the highest possible penalties. Regardless of the situation you’re in, a legal professional can help you understand your options and fight back. Don’t try to take on a DUI case on your own.

At DeMichael Law, we’ve spent years defending individuals charged with impaired driving in Florida. Perhaps your blood alcohol content was deemed too high, or maybe field sobriety tests were used to assert your guilt. The important thing to remember is that none of this evidence is necessarily beyond reproach. Our law firm has been able to secure not-guilty verdicts, negotiate fair plea deals, and even have charges dropped in their entirety. Let our DUI defense lawyer in Lakeland review your case and help you decide how to move forward.

Contact us today by calling (863) 216-1831. We’re here to assist.