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Yes, a DUI Is Worth Fighting Feb. 22, 2024

Law hammer, alcohol and car keys Challenging a DUI charge is definitely worth your time and effort. A DUI conviction can have serious consequences on your life, including a permanent criminal record, hefty fines, a suspended driver's license, and even jail time. In addition to the legal repercussions, a DUI can also impact your employment opportunities and insurance rates. 

It's a common misconception that fighting a DUI charge is futile, but with the right defense strategy and representation, it's possible to have your charges reduced (or even dismissed altogether).  

Sure, there is a cost associated with hiring a DUI lawyer, but the long-term consequences of a conviction far outweigh the financial investment. Plus, many attorneys offer payment plans as well as free consultations to discuss your case and explore potential defense options. So at the very least, we encourage you to give a local lawyer a call and see how they can help you. 

But until them, allow us to convince you why it's worth fighting a DUI charge. 

The Advantage of Reduced Penalties

By hiring a DUI lawyer and fighting your charges, you have a chance of negotiating reduced penalties or even having the case dismissed entirely. This could mean avoiding jail time and keeping your license, which can make all the difference in maintaining normalcy in your life. Depending on the facts of your case, you could even get your case dismissed.  

But to get the full picture of why a DUI is worth fighting, let's discuss the penalties you're up against. For first-time DUI offenders in Florida, a conviction could lead to:  

  • Fines ranging from $500 to $2,000. But if your blood alcohol level is .15 or above, or you have a minor in the vehicle, your fine will be between $2,000–$4,000. This might seem stiff, but financial penalties don’t end there; often, there are additional costs for court fees, DUI school, and other legal expenses that can quickly add up. 

  • Imprisonment for up to six months. Your sentence depends on the circumstances of your arrest, such as your blood alcohol content at the time or whether you were involved in an accident. First-time offenders with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.15% or higher or those with a minor in the vehicle could face enhanced penalties, including up to nine months in jail. 

  • License suspension for a period of 180 days to one year. Without a license, daily activities like getting to work, picking up your kids, or just running errands become significantly more challenging. 

  • Mandated to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for at least six months if your blood alcohol level was 0.15% or more. This not only involves the inconvenience of the device but also the costs associated with its installation and monthly service fees. 

  • Mandatory 50 hours of community service or an additional fine of $10 for each hour of required service. This is a considerable commitment of time and resources that many may find difficult to fulfill due to existing work and family obligations. 

And that's just for your first DUI charge. If you're looking at a reoccurring offense, the penalties are even more severe.

Not to mention, a DUI conviction can also result in job loss, difficulty finding employment, and increased insurance rates. So the penalties really do add up and can impact your life in various ways.

All the more reason to fight a DUI charge.  

But What if I Know I'm Guilty?

Even if you think the case against you is strong, a skilled DUI attorney can offer significant value. Legal professionals in this specialized field understand the nuances of DUI law and can scrutinize the details of your arrest to identify any procedural errors or technicalities that might work in your favor.  

It’s not unheard of for DUI charges to be dropped due to improperly administered field sobriety tests or inaccurately calibrated breathalyzer equipment. An experienced attorney can also question the legality of the traffic stop or the handling of your case, which may lead to evidence being inadmissible in court. Their expertise might reveal aspects of your case that you, as a layperson, would likely overlook. 

Negotiating Plea Deals and Sentencing

Moreover, an attorney can negotiate on your behalf for a more lenient sentence or for alternative penalties. This could potentially result in receiving probation instead of jail time, or perhaps attending an alcohol education course versus having an ignition interlock device installed.  

Attorneys who are familiar with the local court system may have relationships or insights that could inform a strategy to mitigate the consequences of a DUI conviction.  

Ultimately, having legal representation increases the likelihood of a more favorable outcome, even when you believe that you may be at fault. The peace of mind and potential reduction in penalties often justify the cost of hiring a professional. 

Possible DUI Defenses

Another reason to fight a DUI charge is that there are multiple potential pain points in a case that the defense can exploit. Some common defenses that may apply to your situation include: 

Improper Stop by Law Enforcement

One of the fundamental defenses is challenging the legality of the initial traffic stop. Law enforcement officers must have a reasonable suspicion to perform a traffic stop. If an attorney can demonstrate that the officer lacked a legitimate reason for the stop, any evidence obtained as a result may be deemed inadmissible.  

For example, if a driver was stopped without any observable traffic violation or erratic driving behavior, the defense could argue that the stop was unjustified. 

Inaccuracy of Sobriety Testing

Field sobriety tests can be highly subjective and influenced by external factors such as the driver's physical condition or environmental factors. Similarly, breathalyzer tests require proper calibration and maintenance, and if there's evidence to suggest it was malfunctioning, the results could be contested.  

Suppose a breathalyzer was overdue for its scheduled servicing at the time of the test, the defense might argue the accuracy of the BAC readings. 

Rising Blood Alcohol Concentration

The defense of rising BAC is based on the argument that the accused's BAC was below the legal limit while driving but increased between the time of the stop and the administration of the breathalyzer test.  

This can happen because alcohol takes time to be absorbed into the bloodstream. An example of this would be if someone consumed alcohol just before driving and was tested after being stopped; the alcohol might not have fully absorbed at the time of driving. 

Violation of Rights During the Arrest

A DUI charge can also be challenged on the grounds that the defendant's legal rights were violated during the arrest process. This could include failure to read the Miranda rights or not allowing the accused to contact an attorney.  

For instance, if an individual was not informed of their right to remain silent and that their statements could be used against them, any self-incriminating statements might be excluded. 

Chain of Custody and Handling of Blood Samples

When blood samples are taken for BAC testing, there is a strict protocol for how they must be collected, stored, and processed. Any mishandling or break in the chain of custody can be grounds for challenging the blood test results. An example might involve a vial of blood that was temporarily unaccounted for or wasn't stored at the correct temperature. 

Each defense strategy requires careful investigation into the specifics of the case, and the ability to present compelling arguments in court. A seasoned DUI lawyer will be familiar with these defenses and know how to apply them based on the details of the incident and the evidence available. 

Your Best Defense Starts Here

To sum everything up, a DUI charge is a serious matter, but it's worth fighting. By contesting the charge, you can seek a reduction in penalties, protect your future, and even seek a dismissal of the case.  

Our experienced team at strongly urges you to explore your options and consult with legal professionals to determine the best course of action for your unique case. If you're in or near Daytona Beach, Florida, our team is here to assist you. We serve serves clients throughout DeLand, Port Orange, New Smyrna Beach, Palm Coast, Volusia County, and Flagler County.  

Contact us today for a free consultation and let us help you fight for your rights and freedoms.