What You Should Know About Florida DUIs During COVIDPublished: Jul 14, 2020 by Erika Valcarcel
Drinking and driving in the state of Florida can lead to significant consequences. Not only do you run the risk of being involved in a serious car accident, but you could also be charged with a DUI, which can lead to jail time and a loss of license.
While much of the country is currently on hold, your pending DUI charges could take longer than expected. If you are awaiting DUI charges in the state of Florida, speed up your case by working with a DUI lawyer. Call Erica Valcarcel at (941) 363-7900 or use our online contact form.
An Increasing Number of DUI Cases
Just because there are strict restrictions on social gatherings and outings does not mean that DUI charges are also on hold. You can still be charged with a DUI in Florida if:
- You are above the legal Blood Alcohol Content limit of 0.08%.
- Under the influence of a controlled substance if that substance impairs your driving ability
Legal BAC limits are even lower if you are a truck driver, or according to Florida’s zero tolerance for underage drinking, under the age of 21.
Being charged with a DUI during COVID-19 adds an additional level of risk because you can still be arrested and arraigned. This could put you at greater risk of getting the virus when in jail.
Because cases are slower to make it through the system, you could also be required to await trial for a longer period of time. This can be difficult if you are awaiting trail while in jail.
Expect Delays in the Process
Social distancing requirements and closures have led to a delay in court proceedings all over the state of Florida. The Workgroup on the Continuity of Court Operations and Proceedings During and After COVID-19 was created to monitor and ensure safety in Florida’s courts. This committee is responsible for determining when courts can open and what types of proceedings will go first, based on the current risk phase.
When you can expect your DUI case to proceed will depend on many factors, including the charges and how you intend to plea. DUI defendants who want their case to go in front of a jury can expect other extensions. With stricter jury selections to keep jury members safe, it is taking longer to complete the jury process. Just a few of the changes regarding jury selection include:
- There will be a reduced number of jurors at each stage of jury service
- There will be an increase in jurors who are excused due to being high-risk
- Courts will minimize the exchange of physical documents
- Courts will complete frequent sanitization between each jury meeting
- There will be an increase in courthouse staff training
- Masks may be a requirement
- The court will enforce social distancing
- There will be restricted access in the courthouse
These guidelines are constantly changing with new recommendations and changing levels of Coronavirus risk. Your DUI lawyer can be a valuable addition to your case as you navigate your proceedings in COVID-19 times. They can also negotiate your bail while you await a trial hearing.
What This Means For Your Sarasota DUI Case
If you are currently awaiting charges for a DUI, you can expect some slowdowns. It can take longer for the court to schedule a hearing. Many Florida cities are working toward virtual hearings. This pilot program will allow for remote hearings. Others are completing hearings via telephone, when possible. While you cannot control how fast your case goes through the system, you can work with a knowledgeable DUI defense lawyer who can file documents in a timely manner and encourage the local court to move your case.
Discuss Your Case With an Experienced DUI Lawyer Today
Depending on the details of the offense, a DUI in Florida carries strict legal charges and consequences, including potential jail time. In today’s COVID-19 times, it can feel like you are putting your life on hold as you await your hearing. Working with an experienced lawyer who is familiar with Florida’s updated proceedings can ensure that your proceeding is timely.
At Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A., Erica Valcarcel understands the many challenges that a DUI presents in today’s times. In addition to court delays, clients might also have concerns about safety and consulting with a lawyer during the pandemic. You can consult with Erica via phone at (941) 363-7900 or use our online contact form. If you are awaiting DUI charges or you have a family member who is stuck in jail awaiting charges, you need an experienced and diligent lawyer.