A DUI charge can destroy your personal and professional life, and has serious consequences on your future. DUI is an abbreviation for Driving Under the Influence and can be used interchangeably with the term DWI or Driving While Intoxicated. They most commonly apply to alcohol, though impairment from other mind-altering substances can earn you the same charges.
If you have been found guilty of DUI/DWI, know that you could incur severe fines and penalties depending on the exact circumstances of the situation. One of the first things you would want to do is contact your DUI attorney for assistance in building a strong defense.
Several Factors Can Influence the Charges
DUI is a serious offense in Florida and several factors can influence the charges and consequent penalties you’ll incur. Here are some of them:
- You’ve consumed alcohol or any other controlled substance, legal or otherwise.
- You have a Blood Alcohol Level of 0.08% or higher. You can get charged with a DUI offense even if you didn’t feel drunk.
- Your faculties were impaired because of the influence of the substance.
- You have been charged with a DUI before.
Even if you’re taking a legally prescribed drug such as an opioid, you can still be charged with DUI if it affects your driving.
“Implied Consent” Laws May Suspend Your License
If a law enforcement official stops you and tells you to take a test, Florida law does not permit you to refuse. Under the “implied consent” rule, the court could order suspension of your driving privileges.
However, you can apply for a “hardship license” after 90 days where you will be allowed to drive to and from work, school, or a religious institution. The court may also permit you to drive for medical care.
Be Aware of the Long-Term Fallout of a DUI Conviction
Many people are under the impression that a DUI charge can have implications like a suspended license, fines, higher insurance premiums, community service, or even a jail term. While these penalties may seem like minor inconveniences, it is advisable to be aware of the long-term fallout of the charges. Here are some of the possible effects on your life and future.
- A first-time DUI charge can carry a license suspension of up to two years. Not being able to drive to work can result in losing your job or unable to perform well.
- When you apply for a job, your prospective employer is likely to conduct a background check. A DUI charge may affect your chances of landing the position. Colleges processing your admission or scholarships and banks where you’re applying for a loan or mortgage may not approve your request because of the charges. A DUI can also earn a rejection on your application for leasing property for living or conducting business.
- Insurance companies typically refuse coverage to applicants who have DUI charges on their records. If you do get approval, expect to pay higher insurance premiums.
- If you’re holding a job, a DUI can disrupt your entire life. You’ll have to take time off work to attend hearings or complete the court-mandated community service hours. If you get a jail sentence, finding employment after release can become complicated. Most employers are unwilling to hire people who have gone through a jail term.
- A DUI charge can also affect your family and personal relationships.
If you are caught driving with a felony after your license privilege has been revoked, you’ll experience another layer of more legal consequences–even if you were not impaired during this latest incident. A DUI attorney will be able to help.
The law takes DUI offenses very seriously. A single conviction can effectively ruin your life. A smarter option is to take a cab or get a friend to drive you – even if you’ve only had one small drink.