Tampa DUI Attorney
Representing Drivers in Pinellas & Hillsborough Counties
Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is a serious offense in Florida. As soon as you are arrested for this offense, you should seek legal help from a trusted firm like Buda Law. Our firm can thoroughly explain the charges and the criminal court process you face, answer your questions, and provide you with guidance, support, and a strategic defense from start to finish. Facing the criminal justice system is never easy, but you do not have to navigate this road alone. Instead, turn to our Tampa DUI defense attorney today.
DUI Charges in Florida
You will be arrested for DUI in Florida if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) measures .08% or more or if you exhibit impairment from alcohol or drugs while driving or while merely being in physical control of your car. If you are under 21, you can be arrested with a BAC measuring .02% or more. If your BAC measures .15% or higher or you are found drunk driving with a minor in your car, you will face harsher penalties.
A first-offense DUI carries the following penalties:
- Jail time of up to 6 months
- Up to a year of probation
- Community service
- Fines of $500 up to $1,000
- Loss of your license for 180 days up to a year
- Up to 6 months with a mandatory ignition interlock device
- Vehicle impoundment
Second offenses within 5 years will likely have harsher penalties. A third offense occurring within 10 years of your prior conviction will be charged as a felony with more jail time and a longer license revocation period. Anyone convicted of DUI may also have to complete a substance abuse course and may be subject to alcohol or drug monitoring.
What to do when pulled over for DUI
The ultimate goal, as far as the state prosecutor is concerned, is for you to be found guilty of DUI. And how in the world does she do that? By using evidence against you and applying that evidence to Florida DUI law. And that is what it boils down to. So really the best way to answer that question is to give the state prosecutor as little negative evidence and as much positive evidence as possible.
What is evidence? Evidence is any statement, video, testimony by the police, and any documents that are all gathered during the investigation of your case. In DUI cases, negative evidence includes: any videos, photographs, or other digital evidence of you, taken from the moment you are pulled over until the moment you are released from jail, that would be used to prove that you are more likely to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It also includes every observation that the police officer has made about you including your physical appearance, the way you walk, talk, or smell, and any negative interaction with the officer. Negative evidence also includes how you perform on certain sobriety tests administered by the police at the traffic stop.
- Allowing the officer to monitor your eyes or perform a breathalyzer exam
- Walk a straight line
- Stand on one foot
- Say the alphabet without singing
- Any other modified field sobriety exercises
Positive Evidence is any evidence that is good for your case and that causes the charge to be more easily reduced, dropped, or won at trial. Examples would be being polite in your interactions with a police officer. Politely declining to perform any and all of the field sobriety tests mentioned above. When asked why you are declining, you politely inform the officer that your Tampa DUI attorney (Andrew Buda) informed you not to. Positive evidence is essentially not creating the negative evidence mentioned above. Without the negative evidence, the officers and prosecutors will have a much tougher time proving a case against you.
Please be advised, during a traffic stop, you must still provide the officer with the required driver's license, registration, and proof of insurance.
WARNING: A consequence of the following this advice will almost always get you arrested and booked for a DUI. However, you give yourself a much better chance of fighting the charge if you would have been arrested for DUI regardless.
The reason is that without giving the state prosecutor evidence it makes her life very difficult to prove you were DUI. However, if you know that you are not DUI, it might be in your best interest to do what they ask. If you are close to DUI or think that the police will arrest you regardless, the above would help if you were to be arrested for DUI. If the police ask to look into your eye's to dispel their suspicion of DUI, politely tell them that your Tampa DUI lawyer told you not to do that. When they ask you to step out of the car to do some field sobriety exercises, again, politely inform them that your lawyer told you not to do that.
In addition, refusing to provide a lawful breath sample can and will result in a loss of driving privileges. Our Florida law are constantly changing. Please contact me for a free consultation and for more detailed information on what not to do when you get pulled over for DUI.
We Develop Aggressive Defense Strategies
Just because you have been arrested for DUI does not necessarily mean that you will be convicted. With our Tampa DUI attorney on your side, you stand a chance against the prosecution. Buda Law knows how to analyze all pertinent facts and circumstances from a legal, scientific, and technological standpoint to find flaws in the prosecutor’s case against you. We urge you to contact us immediately following your arrest so that we can get to work building your defense.
If you are facing DUI charges, reach out to us at (813) 544-7024 today.