Florida drivers can be charged with a DUI if their blood alcohol content is .08 or above. After being arrested, these individuals will be brought to the police station and then placed in a drunk tank until they become sober. In most cases, an arraignment takes place the next morning, at which time the charges will be read to the defendant and then bail is set.
At the time of an arrest, the defendant's vehicle may have been towed to an impound yard. An individual's driver's license is normally suspended at the same time as well. In order to regain driving privileges, it will be necessary to undergo an administrative hearing before the Department of Motor Vehicles. During this hearing, an administrative law judge will determine whether an individual can receive a hardship license to drive to and from work or be restricted from driving altogether. This can depend upon one's blood alcohol content and whether he or she has previously been convicted.
A court hearing is generally scheduled for around six months after the arrest. During this time, the evidence will be presented in order to prove whether an individual was driving under the influence. If this is found to be the case, the presiding judge will also issue an immobilization order for the vehicle that was involved at the time of the arrest. This order requires the defendant to take measures to ensure the vehicle cannot be driven for a specified period of time. The amount of time is as follows:
- First offense-immobilized for 10 days
- Second offense within 5 years-immobilized for 30 days
- Third offense within 10 years-immobilized for 90 days
All that's required under Florida law is that the vehicle be disabled so that it cannot be driven. This can happen in one of two different ways:
- Storing in a state-approved facility for the requisite period of time
- Hiring an outside agency to install a club device on the vehicle's steering wheel
A judge can elect not to issue an immobilization order in a few situations. If the vehicle is jointly-owned and the other party has no other means of transportation, a hardship exception can be granted. Likewise, if the automobile is a company car that other employees use, a judge may override the immobilization requirement. Other exceptions can be granted based upon:
- The fact that a vehicle was stolen at the time of the offense
- Defendant purchased a vehicle after the arrest
- Defendant owned but was not operating his personal vehicle when arrested
Individuals are required to pay the cost of immobilization. This ranges from $150 to $300 depending upon the length of time and how the immobilization takes place. This fee is in addition to any additional court costs, fines, or mandatory counseling fees.
Many people who have been arrested recommend hiring an Orlando DUI lawyer rather than choosing a public defender. Those who have quality representation in court from a DUI attorney in Orlando are less likely to be convicted, thereby reducing the odds that immobilization will eventually be required.