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FAQs about DUI

Frequently Asked Questions about DUI in Ocala

Is DUI and DWI the same thing?
Yes, Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) are different names used for the same driving offense in the state of Florida.

What does BAC mean?
BAC or Blood Alcohol Concentration is a measurement taken to show how much alcohol is in your system at the time you are pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence. This measurement is most commonly taken from a breath test (breathalyzer) or a blood test. You can be charged with DUI if either test shows a reading of .08 percent or higher, which is the legal limit in Florida. If you are under the age of 21, then the BAC reading cannot be higher than .02 percent. Commercial drivers in the state of Florida may not show a BAC reading of .04 percent or higher.

My BAC was within legal limits but I still got a DUI ticket. Why?
Law enforcement officers observe driver behavior and act. If while driving, you displayed erratic or strange driving ability, an officer will investigate. Anyone shown to have abnormal or impaired abilities may be issued a citation. If the officer obtains evidence that you were impaired as a result of drinking alcohol or using drugs, then a Driving Under the Influence citation may be issued. A breath or blood test is one piece of evidence. People may have other reasons for having less-than-normal driving abilities such as being overly tired, stressed, having a medical condition or some other explanation. The officer investigates each incident and gathers information related to that specific situation.

I wasn't even driving and I got cited for DUI. How can they do that?
In Florida, the law states that if you are physically in control of your vehicle, then you are subject to all driving requirements. In more simple terms it means that if you are in the driver's seat and the keys are in the ignition, you are in control of the vehicle. The engine does not have to be running. If an officer suspects you are legally intoxicated and found in this situation, you may be questioned and issued a DUI citation.

Do I have to take a breathalyzer test?
No, you can refuse to take a breathalyzer test. This will have serious repercussions however. If you have refused the breath test, you will face a year of driver's license suspension automatically. However, if you decline the test and are still convicted of DUI, then the courts may assign a higher level of punishment in addition to having your license suspended for one year.

How accurate are breathalyzer and field sobriety tests?
In reality these tests are not that accurate making them unreliable, inconsistent and affected by subjective influences. Because they are not 100% accurate, the evidence is often challenged in court. No test is 100% accurate, and field sobriety tests are known for having a huge margin of error.

If I am arrested for DUI, will I lose my license?
In Florida, the rules are clear. If you are arrested for DUI, your license is automatically suspended for 6 months. Your citation (ticket) serves as a temporary license for 10 days. Within those 10 days, you must schedule a hearing with the Florida Department f Motor Vehicles. You have the opportunity to challenge the suspension and try to regain your driving privileges. An Ocala DUI attorney being present with you at this hearing may be advised. The hearing is held by a DMV representative who will evaluate facts, evidence and testimony to determine the status of your license - suspended or reinstated.

How long will a license suspension last?
Typically, a first time DUI offender will have their license suspended between 6 months to one year. Circumstances and other evidence may alter that decision. The number of DUI arrests and convictions made will greatly impact suspensions. Ultimately, receiving 4 DUI convictions will permanently revoke any and all driving privileges.

How do I get to work if my license is suspended for DUI?
In certain circumstances you may request a hardship license. This license classification permits you to drive to work, school, medical appointments and important errands such as food shopping or transporting your children. A judge may consider a hardship license if the DUI is your first offense. If granted, then strict guidelines are assigned to using the hardship license. If you are caught misusing or breaking the rules set by the judge, you risk losing your license (complete revocation) as well as facing other penalties.

Will a DUI conviction affect my car insurance rates?
Considering that insurance companies base their rates on risk, a DUI conviction probably will mean higher insurance rates for you -- the higher the risk, the higher the coverage premium. Many factors are considered by insurance companies, but illegally driving under the influence demonstrates high risk behavior within their complicated pricing structures.

Do all DUI convictions come with fines?
Yes, fines are part of the punishment. The punishment gets more severe with more DUI arrests and convictions. In general, fines range from $500 up to $5,000, but can go higher if applicable.

Will I have to serve time in jail for my DUI?
The facts of your case and previous criminal history will impact the final sentence of a DUI conviction, which might include jail time. Of course, the more serious the details of your case, criminal history and prior DUI convictions will greatly enhance that possibility.

My DUI conviction applies to my commercial driving license. What can I expect?
Commercial drivers are subject to tighter control and more strict regulations. If you received a DUI conviction, it doesn't matter if the BAC was 0.4 percent or higher or not. The conviction disqualifies you from driving a commercial vehicle for one full year. Your license is basically suspended during that time. You are not eligible for a hardship license either, so you cannot legally drive a commercial vehicle under any circumstances. If you were hauling hazardous waste at the time of your DUI arrest and a conviction results, then the disqualification will last for 3 years. At the end of the disqualification period, you may pay the disqualification reinstatement fee and restore your commercial driver license.

Why do I need an ignition interlock device?
If your license has been suspended and you have approved for a hardship license or are otherwise eligible, then an ignition interlock device is required. This device is installed in the dashboard of your car. It is connected to the ignition. You are required to breathe into this device and verify that you are not above the BAC limit or other limit imposed by your suspension or conviction. It works similar to a breathalyzer and measures blood alcohol concentration in your breath. If you are within limits, then the ignition will start the car. If not, your engine will remain off.

While in transit, the ignition interlock device will randomly require you to again breathe into it, recording another measurement and permitting you to continue driving. If you fail to breathe into the device when indicated or your BAC is above the legal limit, then an alarm will go off until you turn off the engine. All activity and measurements are logged in the device. When requested, you must allow authorities to print out the log. If any violations are recorded, you will face additional penalties and the possibility of having driving privileges suspended or revoked.

DUI Defense Lawyer in Ocala

If you are facing DUI charges, requesting a hearing or have other legal concerns regarding driving in Florida, do not hesitate to request our assistance. Kinsell Law Firm are very experienced with DUI cases and urge you to contact us immediately after an arrest for DUI.

Contact an Ocala DUI Defense Attorney in our firm today.

108 N. Magnolia Avenue, Ocala, Florida 34475
(352) 702-0596
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Kinsell Law Firm - Ocala DUI Lawyer
Located at 108 North Magnolia Avenue, Suite 600 Ocala, FL 34475. View Map
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