The criminal aspects of a DUI
One of the most well known criminal traffic cases is driving under the influence, or a DUI. Under Florida law, a DUI is an offense that’s punishable in multiple ways – including jail time. In order to prove the offense, the driver must display an impairment of function and a blood alcohol content above .08. The repercussions of a DUI offense depend on various factors – especially if the driver has committed a DUI previously, in which case the penalties spike in severity.
While a drunk driving charge is extremely serious, an experienced attorney like Joseph Knape can provide tremendous counsel in building a solid defense, especially if it’s the first time a driver has committed a DUI offense.
Attorney Joe Knape is a DUI specialist with years of experience dealing with all levels of DUIs. He aggressively represents clients and makes sure they get the best defense available.
Penalties and jail time for DUI charges
Given the seriousness of a DUI, it’s common knowledge that the penalties are steep. Some potential punishments for a first-time offense are jail time, fines, community service or suspension of the driver’s license. The exact determinations depend on the driver, for example the penalties for a first-time offense are significantly less severe than a second-time charge, which not only carries jail time or fines, but can also lead to vehicle impoundment. In the event that the driver faces a third DUI, the case is now considered a felony DUI, which can be prosecuted by the state attorney and land the driver in prison for multiple years and in thousands of dollars in fines.
Convictions on a DUI
Like mentioned, for first- and second-time offenders, DUI convictions typically mean jail time, license suspension, community service and fines. In the case of a third DUI,the driver would face a mandatory conviction, lose civil rights and be classified as a convicted felon if charged with a felony DUI. The driver could lose the case either by plea bargain as charged or by trial.
Enhanced and minimum mandatory sentencing
When it comes to sentencing, a court will often take into account the history and prior convictions a defendant has accumulated. Enhanced sentencing does just this, and it means that sentencing is increased due to examining past convictions. According to USLegal.com, enhanced sentencing can also take into consideration the serious nature of the charge. Enhanced sentencing is determined by federal and state laws.
For DUI convictions, the court will have standards for minimum mandatory sentencing, typically if the driver has committed a DUI in the past. The exact sentence varies on the particular case and the time passed between charges. A third DUI, also known as a felony DUI, carries a mandatory conviction.
DUIs and reputation
While a driver who has committed a DUI faces serious legal consequences for the offense, one of the most damaging is their reputation. A “double-edged sword,” a DUI will not only damage a person’s driving record, but it will also affect their criminal record. Not only will the driver now have it on their record, but committing the offense, especially if it results in a felony charge and conviction, can make it difficult for them to land a job in the future, since many employers require job applicants to indicate if they’ve ever been convicted of a felony.
Are you or someone you know facing a DUI charge? You need an experienced attorney by your side to fight for you and build a solid defense. Call us at the offices of attorney Joseph Knape at 850-225-5563 or set up a free consultation online.