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Can a second DUI conviction be fought in Sarasota?

Posted by attorney David Haenel

DUI laws throughout the state of Florida are harsh, and the penalties for repeat offenders are severe. Even though these cases are still possible to defend, it is important to hire a Sarasota DUI attorney immediately. The attorney will work hard to defend your case, but they will need to gather important information from you first. This preliminary information gathered will help them build your current case.

Questions you could be asked:

  • What were the circumstances of this DUI arrest?
  • How many years has it been since your previous DUI arrest?
  • What were the circumstances of your first DUI arrest?

How DUI Punishments Are Determined

In order for a minimum mandatory punishment to be determined, two factors must first be addressed:

  1. Was the second DUI arrest within five years of your first conviction?
  2. Was the second DUI arrest outside of five years from your last conviction?

If the Second DUI Falls Outside of Five Years

According to Florida State Statute 316.193, the minimum fine for a second DUI conviction is a minimum of $1,000 and a maximum of $2,000. However, if the driver blows a breath test reading higher than 0.15, stiffer penalties can be imposed, including fine increases of a minimum of $2,000 and a maximum of $4,000. This penalty is an example of where it might not be recommended to take the breath test because the results can be used against you in court.

The driver will be required to serve at least fifty hours of community service if they are convicted of a second DUI. However, they are granted the option of buying those hours back for a fine increase of $10 per hour. Your DUI attorney can challenge this penalty by proving hardship and your need to work.

A second DUI conviction means probation and incarceration requirements must be met for a period of up to one year. If your DUI attorney can reduce the charges and eliminate jail time, the judge typically orders one year of probation.

If the Second DUI Falls Within Five Years

In addition to the penalties listed above, drivers can expect their vehicle to be impounded or immobilized for a period of thirty days. However, if the second DUI occurred outside of five years, only a ten day impoundment or immobilization is required. The DUI attorney can challenge this ruling if the vehicle is driven by employees for a business that the defendant owns.

Other Ways a Second DUI Can Be Challenged

An experienced DUI attorney in Sarasota could negotiate with the judge for a lesser charge like reckless driving, for example. This is beneficial for the driver because, once a DUI conviction is made; there is no way to erase it from a driving record. The DUI attorney will also look at all the evidence gathered when building your case such as:

  • Were any open containers in the vehicle during the DUI arrest?
  • Were any minors present during the arrest?
  • Was this DUI arrest in conjunction with a traffic accident?
  • How cooperative was the driver during the traffic stop and DUI arrest?

All of these factors play into how the DUI can be challenged by the attorney. Each of these allegations must be proven and, if they can't be, then the DUI attorney can seek lesser charges.

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