Get Serious Representation for Serious Criminal Charges
If you’re facing a first-time DUI charge in St. Petersburg or Pinellas County, FL, you are probably wondering whether you will go to jail and what will happen to your driving privileges. You may also be overwhelmed and scared at the prospect of jail or losing your license after a DUI arrest. At The Denson Firm, we provide you with answers and quality legal representation to help ease your fears and ensure that you understand your rights.
You must take action with the DMV within 10-days of being charged with DUI or DWI (drunk driving), or you will automatically lose your driving privileges!
First DUI in Pinellas County: What to Expect
First-time DUI/DWI offenders in Pinellas County can go to jail for up to 6-months. Additionally, you can lose your driving privileges for a minimum of 180-days and up to 1-year.
You need to enlist the assistance of a DUI/DWI defense lawyer to ensure that your rights are protected. At The Denson Firm, we have over 20+ years of experience defending individuals charged with drunk driving (DUI/DWI) in Pinellas County, FL. We take the time to explain the law, criminal process (for your DUI charges), civil process (for your administrative hearing about your driver’s license suspension or revocation), and outline your options.
We’ll also provide you with advice and recommendations based on our experience and history of successfully defending individuals charged with a Florida DUI.
Did you know there are DUI diversion programs available in some parts of Florida? At The Denson Firm, we’ll explore whether a DUI diversion program may be available to defer prosecution and avoid a DUI conviction in your case. If you were arrested in Manatee or Sarasota, you might qualify for The Driver Enhanced Treatment Education & Rehabilitation Program (DETER).
What Happens to My Driver’s License & Driving Record?
When you are charged with a first-time DUI, a law enforcement officer will typically take your driver’s license. However, if your driver’s license was valid at the time of the DUI charge, you will be eligible for a BPO (Business Purposes Only) permit/license, which will be shown at the bottom of the citation if you are eligible.
If you blew over .08 on the blood alcohol test, your license would be suspended for six months, a civil matter done by the DMV. Additionally, if you refused the blood alcohol test or a urine test, your license would be suspended for 12 months, which is also a civil matter controlled by the DMV. Depending on the circumstance, these matters may be utilized to develop your defense by your attorney, but these suspensions are separate from a criminal DUI charge.
It’s highly recommended to go to the DMV Office of Administrative Reviews within 10-days to apply for a waiver review hearing. Doing so allows you to meet certain conditions to receive the BPO license, so you can drive for the remainder of the suspension for business purposes. A BPO license is only available for first-time DUI charges.
Florida takes DUIs very seriously. If you are convicted of DUI, it will stay on your criminal record for 75 years. DUI charges can’t be sealed or expunged. Still, multiple strategies can be taken to prevent a conviction, including potentially pleading to a lesser charge or by entering a pretrial diversion program if you qualify.
Due to the seriousness of a DUI conviction, if you’re facing charges, you should contact a skilled DUI attorney to determine your best strategy.
First-Time DUI Penalties in Florida
Florida statutes detail the penalties for a first-time DUI conviction.
Florida First-Time DUI Penalties
- Jail Time: up to 6 months; if BAC is .15 or higher, up to 9 months max
- Fines: up to $1,000; if BAC is .15 or higher, up to $2,000 max
- Community Service: 50 hours; “buy-outs” can be made at $10/hour, with a typical max of one-half of the hours
- Probation: up to 12 months; probation of 12 months may be ordered instead of jail time, with an option of early termination after 6-months if all conditions are met
- Vehicle Impoundment or Immobilization: required for 10-days; not concurrent with incarceration; may be dismissed if the vehicle is driven only by employees of the defendant’s business
DUI school, alcohol or substance abuse counseling, victim impact panels, and investigative fees are commonly associated with DUI cases. Interlock ignition devices are required to be installed for a minimum of 6-months if the BAC was .15 or higher.
Why Hire an Attorney for My First DUI
A DUI conviction not only has immediate effects but also can have long-lasting effects too. It impacts your freedom and your future, and it can affect your personal and family life, as well as your career.
Do not simply plead without an attorney. A DUI attorney will thoroughly review the details of your case to develop the most appropriate strategy for your particular situation, working hard for the best outcome possible, such as:
- get the charges dismissed,
- reduced charges to reckless driving, or
- reduced charges to careless driving, which amounts to a civil infraction.
It’s important to contact an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible after a DUI arrest in Pinellas County, FL. A strategy can be implemented quickly and can make a huge difference in multiple factors of your case, including whether you can drive, have to face jail time, and more.
At The Denson Firm, we have the skills and experience to strongly advocate for you when facing prosecutors and judges. We work diligently through each aspect of the process, communicating with you regarding each step.
Contact a Pinellas County First-Time DUI Attorney Near Me
If you’re facing first-time DUI charges in Pinellas County, contact a DUI attorney you can trust. Contact Bruce Denson at The Denson Firm today to schedule a free consultation. As a Florida native with over 20+ years of experience handling criminal defense and DUI cases throughout St. Petersburg and Pinellas, he understands the process. He knows how to handle the legal issues you’re facing.