There are more than 113,000 individuals in Florida who have been convicted of three or more DUIs, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Someone is injured in a drunk driving accident every 90 seconds in Florida. Both receiving a third DUI within a 10-year period and seriously injuring someone while driving intoxicated are ways that the charge of DUI is reclassified from a misdemeanor to a felony.
When individuals are charged with a felony DUI, they face consequences that can alter their lives forever. A felony DUI is a serious charge that should be handled by an attorney who will aggressively fight for you in court. If you have been charged with a felony DUI, contact a Sarasota DUI defense attorney of Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. at (941) 363-7900 right away.
Florida Felony DUI Law: Bodily Injury & Repeat Offenders
While first-time misdemeanor DUIs can be handled quickly, felony DUIs are looked at more harshly by courts.
The basic requirements of a DUI are the same whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony. If you are found to be driving impaired because of alcohol, drugs, or any combination of the two. You may be charged with a DUI even if you don’t have a BAC above 0.08 percent.
However, there are times when a DUI is more serious than a misdemeanor crime. If someone drives drunk and seriously hurts or kills another person, the driver can be charged with a felony. The existence of prior DUI convictions is not required.
If a driver causes serious bodily injury to another, it is a third-degree felony. If the driver kills another person, it is a DUI manslaughter and a second-degree felony. However, this charge can be raised to a first-degree felony if the driver knew the crash occurred and didn’t provide information or aid when needed.
A second type of felony DUI exists for habitual offenders. People are deemed habitual or repeat offenders if they’ve committed three DUIs within a 10 year period or four DUIs within any time frame. Such individuals may be charged with a third-degree felony.
If you are caught breaking the law numerous times, you will face harsher penalties. Judges are not likely to look upon repeat offenders kindly, making it even more important for defendants to have strong and experienced legal counsel like Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. by their side.
Potential Consequences of a Felony DUI
A felony DUI conviction can bring with it serious penalties, which is why you need the Sarasota criminal defense attorneys of Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. by your side.
Consequences of a felony DUI conviction can include:
- A fine no less than $2,000 and up to $5,000
- Up to 5 years imprisonment
- A 10 year or permanent license revocation
- An ignition interlock device for multiple years after license suspension
- Probation or house arrest
- Community service hours
- Alcohol or drug abuse treatment
- Court and other administrative fees
- A permanent criminal record
- Loss of voting rights
The consequences of a felony DUI conviction are serious and can follow you for the rest of your life. A felony is an offense that can make it difficult to obtain a job, loans, and affordable housing. An experienced attorney can fight for the minimum consequences upon conviction, helping you get back to your life as soon as possible.
Defenses to Felony DUI
If you are charged with a felony DUI, the situation is not hopeless. The potential consequences are severe, but an experienced attorney can push to minimize the consequences of a felony DUI conviction.
Potential defenses include:
- Whether the police had probable cause to stop you
- Whether you were stopped at a legal sobriety checkpoint
- The accuracy of a breathalyzer or other chemical test
- Warrantless blood test
- Whether you were given a standardized field sobriety test
- If you were on prescribed medications or have a medical condition
- If you were properly arrested and read your rights
A Sarasota DUI Defense Attorney Can Help
There are many ways for an attorney to defend you against a felony DUI charge. While no attorney can guarantee an innocent verdict, a skilled lawyer can negotiate a beneficial plea bargain or push for a fair sentence upon conviction. Don’t give up a hope. Instead, call Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. at (941) 363-7900 to fight. A Sarasota DUI defense attorney at Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. have years of experience in helping their clients avoid harsh punishments.View All Blogs