First Time DUI
Jacksonville Attorneys Advising People Facing Drunk Driving Charges
At Ellis and Bryant, our attorneys represent Jacksonville residents charged with drinking and driving, as well as a wide range of other traffic violations and criminal offenses. Florida law imposes strict penalties for a DUI conviction, including heavy fines, the loss of your license, and possible jail time. Our Jacksonville DUI lawyers work aggressively to get these charges dropped or reduced whenever possible. We understand how law enforcement officers and prosecutors often approach first-time DUI cases, and we know how to build comprehensive defenses for the people whom we represent.
The Consequences of a DUI Conviction
If you get caught behind the wheel while intoxicated, you are facing some potentially harsh consequences that may affect both your family and you. State law makes it a crime to operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated, a standard usually measured by chemical, blood, breath, or urine tests. If your blood or breath alcohol level is .08 percent or higher, you are considered intoxicated and unfit to drive. The penalties increase for a driver whose blood or breath alcohol content is 0.15 percent or higher.
Even if it is your first offense, a DUI conviction means significant consequences. First-time DUI offenders face up to six months in jail, as much as $1,000 in fines, and 50 hours of community service. They also need to give up their right to drive a car for at least six months. Some drivers may be able to get a “hardship” license under certain circumstances. But even then you must first finish DUI school before you can legally get behind the wheel again. The penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs increase for drivers with multiple convictions, as well as people involved in an accident while driving drunk.
Ways to Fight a First-Time DUI Charge
The good news for a person charged with DUI in Florida is that state and federal laws offer a number of possible defenses. It is important to consult an experienced DUI defense attorney as early as possible in the process to explore those defenses. Even if you have not yet been charged with a crime, it is vital to start building your defense so that you are fully prepared.
Many of the most common defenses in DUI cases focus on how the cops came in contact with you in the first place. Police officers need to have a reasonable suspicion that you are committing or have committed a crime or traffic infraction to stop your car. Reasonable suspicion means more than just a hunch.
A police officer can establish a reasonable suspicion by pulling over a driver for speeding, swerving, driving erratically, or disobeying traffic laws. Still, the officer needs a separate reasonable suspicion that you have been drinking and driving in order to ask you to take a sobriety test. If the cops fail to meet that standard, any evidence obtained during the stop may be excluded from the case against you.
Talk to a Knowledgeable Jacksonville Attorney About Your Drunk Driving Charge
At Ellis and Bryant, we are committed to fighting for clients in their times of need. We understand how stressful it can be to face criminal charges, both for the person charged and for their family, especially if you have never been involved in the criminal justice system before. Our Jacksonville lawyers work diligently to try to resolve these matters on optimal terms. We are dedicated to guiding clients through the criminal justice process with experience and personal attention. But there is no need to just take our word for it. Our firm’s recent successes include positive outcomes for clients in a number of criminal matters. Our office is conveniently located at 207 N. Washington St. in Jacksonville. We serve people across Duval and Clay Counties, including in Jacksonville Beach, Orange Park, and Middleburg. Call us at (904) 551-4120 or contact us online to speak with an experienced lawyer about your situation today.