DUI & Criminal Traffic Offenses
helps people charged with DUI & Criminal Traffic Offenses
Shorstein, Lasnetski, & Gihon has Jacksonville DUI defense attorneys with experience prosecuting and defending DUI and Criminal Traffic cases. With extensive knowledge gained from both sides, our Jacksonville criminal defense lawyers have a unique perspective on how these cases are investigated, prosecuted and defended.
Timing is critical in any driving offense, including DUI, Reckless Driving, Driving with a Suspended License, and more. If you do not act quickly, your license could be suspended without having the opportunity to obtain a hardship license. If this is a first DUI, you can either appeal the suspension or waive your right to appeal the suspension and request a hardship license right away.
There are two completely separate, but interrelated systems in play: the criminal court and DHSMV. If found guilty, the criminal court can sentence you to jail, probation, fines, and more, including a driver’s license suspension. The DHSMV can suspend your license. The criminal court usually takes longer. The DHSMV does not require as much evidence to take your license as is required in criminal court to find you guilty of DUI. The courts have ruled that driving is a privilege and not a right, so the burden of proof is lower than in criminal courts.
Give our experienced Jacksonville DUI lawyers a call today to discuss the DHSMV process, the DUI criminal process, what defenses may be available in your case, and what we can do in defense of your case.
What should I do if I was just arrested for DUI?
If you are arrested for DUI, the police officer probably took your license and issued you a citation. Typically, for a first time DUI, you will be able to drive for hardship reasons for ten (10) days after your arrest. You must make an election within ten (10) days with the DHSMV. You should contact an experienced DUI attorney to discuss how this process works so you can make an educated decision on whether to appeal the suspension or whether you should waive your right to appeal the suspension.
In some cases, it may make sense to appeal the suspension. If there is a legal or factual issue with the stop, detention or arrest, a hearing officer may overturn the suspension. However, if you appeal the suspension and the hearing officer sustains the suspension, you would be facing a period of thirty (30) days (if you blew over a .08) or ninety (90) days (if you refused the breath test) without being able to drive for any reason. This is referred to as hard time. After the thirty (30) days, you would be able to request a hardship license to drive for work, church, and other hardship reasons. Most people are unwilling to risk not being able to drive to work for thirty (30) or ninety (90) days and if the evidence appears to be sufficient to sustain the low burden of proof required to uphold a license conviction, it might be in a person's best interests to waive the appeal. However, you should consult with an experienced Jacksonville DUI attorney before making this decision. That attorney knows which appeals have been successful in the past and which appeals have more likelihood of success in the future.
You should never plead guilty to a DUI without consulting an experienced Jacksonville DUI attorney. No matter how strong the evidence appears to be against you, you should never plead guilty to a DUI without consulting an attorney. There is often a lot of pressure put on people to plead guilty the first time they appear before a judge. But the truth is that if you plead not guilty, you will be able to have time to consider all of your options. DUI investigations are highly regulated by statute. An officer must follow certain procedures. Case law dictates what an officer can and cannot do. Call an experienced DUI attorney to talk to them before you plead guilty. Most criminal defense attorneys offer free consultations, so even if you decide not to retain an attorney, you will have more knowledge and information than before and you can make a more informed decision.
How do I challenge my DUI license suspension?
Within ten (10) days of your arrest, you must make an election with the Administrative Review Office of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles office. This has nothing to do with the criminal case. This directly relates to your driver’s license only. If you do nothing, your license will be suspended for six (6) months if submitted to a breath test, or twelve (12) months if you refused. You will not be able to obtain a hardship license for the first thirty (30) days if you submitted to a breath test, or the first ninety (90) days if you refused the test. We typically refer to this as “hard time.” However, if you waive your right to appeal the suspension, you will be able to apply for a hardship license with no “hard time”. If you decide to appeal the suspension, you will typically be given a hardship license for up to thirty (30) days after the arrest. Your attorney can subpoena the officers and obtain testimony before an administrative review officer. If the review officer sustains the suspension, you will have thirty (30) days of hard time and a six month suspension if you submitted to the breath test, and ninety (90) days of hard time and a one (1) year suspension if you refused the breath test. If the review officer determines that the suspension was improper, you would be able to reinstate your license. However, this would not affect the criminal case. If you were later convicted of the DUI in criminal court, your license would then be suspended upon that conviction. If you are found guilty of the DUI in the criminal court, you may be eligible to apply for a hardship license with no hard time. The important thing to remember is that the criminal court and DHSMV are two completely separate entities and the license suspensions are independent of each other.
What can I do if my license is suspended?
If your license is suspended because of points or multiple driving with suspended license convictions, you may be able to reopen one or more of those cases. Give us a call to discuss your driving record.
Please click a link below to read more about the different DUI and Criminal Traffic Offenses in the State of Florida. You can learn about the particular offenses, the requirements, the potential consequences , possible defenses and more.