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PRACTICE AREA

 

 

          The Law Office of Lee Meadows has over 41         years of experience assisting people needing guidance regarding potential DUI and BUI penalties.

 DUI & BUI CASES

Each DUI case is different and experience counts.

Successfully defending a DUI charge takes more than just calling the state attorney and ending your case with a plea bargain. As a Tallahassee attorney, I believe in practicing uncompromising defense strategies while focusing my personal attention to every aspect of your DUI case. The Law Office of Lee Meadows will make sure ALL possible defenses are explored. This will allow me to work for the best possible outcome and help protect your future.

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense in Florida, as it is in other states. In Florida, if a person is found driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle while impaired by alcohol, chemical substances, or controlled substances, they can be charged with a DUI. The penalties for DUI depend on several factors, including the number of prior offenses, the blood alcohol content (BAC) of the driver, and whether the DUI incident caused injury or death.

Penalties for DUI

DUI PENALTIES AS OF JANUARY 2022:

 

First Offense:

  • Fine: $500 to $1,000

  • Community service: 50 hours (or an additional fine of $10 for each hour of community service required)

  • Probation: Not more than 1 year

  • Imprisonment: Up to 6 months; if BAC is 0.15% or higher or if there's a minor in the vehicle, up to 9 months

  • License suspension: Minimum of 180 days

  • Mandatory 12 hours of DUI school and possible follow-up treatment

  • Vehicle impoundment: 10 days

Second Offense (within 5 years):

  • Fine: $1,000 to $2,000

  • Imprisonment: Up to 9 months; if BAC is 0.15% or higher or if there's a minor in the vehicle, up to 12 months

  • Mandatory imprisonment of at least 10 days if the second conviction is within 5 years

  • License suspension: Minimum of 5 years (can apply for a hardship license after 1 year)

  • DUI school and possible follow-up treatment

  • Vehicle impoundment: 30 days

Third Offense (within 10 years):

  • Fine: $2,000 to $5,000

  • Imprisonment: Up to 12 months

  • Mandatory imprisonment of at least 30 days if the third conviction is within 10 years

  • License suspension: Minimum of 10 years (can apply for a hardship license after 2 years)

  • DUI school and possible follow-up treatment

  • Vehicle impoundment: 90 days

Fourth or Subsequent Offense:

  • Fine: At least $2,000

  • Imprisonment: Up to 5 years

  • Permanent license revocation

  • Designation as a habitual/violent offender

DUI Manslaughter/Death:

  • Second-degree felony charges

  • Fine: Up to $10,000

  • Imprisonment: Up to 15 years

DUI Serious Bodily Injury:

  • Third-degree felony charges

  • Fine: Up to $5,000

  • Imprisonment: Up to 5 years

It's also important to note that there are other consequences and additional penalties, such as increased insurance rates, ignition interlock devices, and more.

These penalties can change based on legislative actions, and additional local ordinances might also apply. Always consult the current Florida Statutes or a local attorney for the most up-to-date and specific information regarding DUI penalties in Florida.

For more information please visit:

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0300-0399/0316/Sections/0316.193.html

FELONY DUI:

As of January 2022, in Florida, a DUI offense can become a felony under certain circumstances:

Third DUI within 10 years:

  • If someone gets their third DUI within a 10-year period of a prior conviction, it's classified as a third-degree felony. This comes with penalties that could include a fine of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 5 years.

Fourth or Subsequent DUI:

  • Regardless of when the prior DUI convictions occurred, a fourth or subsequent DUI offense is also classified as a third-degree felony in Florida. This can also lead to a fine of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 5 years.

DUI resulting in serious bodily injury:

  • If someone drives under the influence and causes another person serious bodily injury, it's a third-degree felony. This can be punished with a fine of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 5 years.

DUI Manslaughter:

  • If a death occurs as a result of the DUI, it is considered DUI manslaughter, which is a second-degree felony. This can lead to a fine of up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 15 years. If the driver knew, or should have known, there was a crash and failed to give information or render aid, it can be upgraded to a first-degree felony, which can be punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

Penalties for BUI

Florida's boating under the influence (BUI) laws are designed to deter and punish individuals who operate vessels while impaired by alcohol or drugs, similar to the way DUI laws apply to motor vehicles on land. A person is considered to be under the influence if their normal faculties are impaired due to the consumption of alcoholic beverages, controlled substances, or other drugs, OR if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more.

First Offense:

  • Fines ranging from $500 to $1,000 and potential imprisonment for up to 6 months.

Second Offense:

  • Fines ranging from $1,000 to $2,000 and potential imprisonment for up to 9 months. If the second offense occurs within 5 years of a prior conviction, mandatory imprisonment of at least 10 days is imposed.

Third Offense:

  • If it occurs within 10 years of any prior conviction, it's considered a third-degree felony. This may involve fines up to $5,000 and imprisonment for up to 5 years.

Fourth or Subsequent Offense:

  • Regardless of when prior convictions occurred, it's considered a third-degree felony with potential penalties similar to the third offense.

Aggravating Factors:

  • If a person is found guilty of BUI and has a BAC of 0.15% or higher, or if there was a minor on the vessel at the time of the offense, the penalties can be enhanced, resulting in higher fines and longer imprisonment.

BUI Involving Property Damage or Personal Injury:

  • If someone operating a vessel under the influence causes property damage or personal injury, they can be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor, which can lead to up to 1 year in jail, fines up to $1,000, or both.

BUI Manslaughter:

  • If someone's BUI results in the death of any human being or unborn child, they can be charged with BUI manslaughter, which is a felony. The penalties depend on the specifics of the incident, but they can be severe, including substantial imprisonment.

Chemical or Physical Test Refusal:

  • Like with DUI laws, there are consequences for refusing to submit to a breath, urine, or blood test when suspected of BUI. Refusal can result in a fine and the suspension of any boating certification or license.

Education and Prevention:

  • To prevent BUI incidents, Florida emphasizes boating safety education. In many cases, offenders are required to complete boating safety courses.

It's essential to note that the details provided are a general overview and might be subject to changes or updates. Always consult local or state resources or a legal professional for the most up-to-date and specific information. Boating under the influence is dangerous and can lead to severe consequences, both legally and in terms of human safety. Safe boating practices are always encouraged.

Intoxilyzer Errors

Can Breathalyzers Be Wrong?

Breathalyzers are not perfect. It is important to understand that these devices can

malfunction or be misused, resulting in inaccurate results. Sources of breathalyzer errors:

 

Device Calibration: Like many instruments, breathalyzers need regular calibration to ensure they provide accurate readings. If not calibrated correctly or regularly, the device may give skewed results.

Residual Mouth Alcohol: The breathalyzer is meant to measure alcohol from deep lung air. However, if there is residual alcohol in the mouth from a recent drink, mouthwash, or some medications, it might result in an inaccurately high reading.

Interfering Compounds: Some products and substances, such as certain mouthwashes, medications, or even some foods, contain compounds that could be detected by the breathalyzer and result in false positives.

Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions like acid reflux, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or diabetes can influence the breathalyzer readings. For instance, someone with diabetes might have elevated levels of acetone in their breath, which could interfere with some devices.

Breathing Patterns: Holding your breath or hyperventilating before blowing into a breathalyzer might affect the results. Deeper breaths can pull alcohol from the mucous membranes and result in a higher reading.

Temperature: Both the subject's body temperature and the surrounding environment can influence the breathalyzer results. For instance, an elevated body temperature can elevate the BAC reading.

Device Quality and Technology: Not all breathalyzers are created equal. Lower quality or older devices might be less accurate than state-of-the-art models.

Operator Error: If the officer or person administering the breathalyzer test isn't adequately trained or doesn't follow the correct procedures, it could result in inaccurate readings.

Radio Frequency Interference: Some sources suggest that interference from electronic devices like radios or cell phones could impact breathalyzer readings.

Partition Ratio: The device assumes a blood-to-breath partition ratio, usually set at 2100:1. This means for every 2100 parts of alcohol in the blood, there's 1 part in the breath. However, this ratio can vary among individuals, leading to potential inaccuracies.

Time since Last Drink: It takes time for alcohol to be absorbed into the bloodstream and reach its peak level. If someone takes the test shortly after drinking, the BAC might not yet reflect their peak intoxication level.

It's important to note that while these factors can influence breathalyzer readings, the devices remain a valuable tool for estimating BAC. However, these potential sources of error underscore the importance of proper training, device maintenance, and calibration.

TESTIMONIAL

"I am very grateful that Mr.Meadows was able to get my DUI dismissed. He was very professional. With my case result, he helped me keep my job. I recommend Mr.Meadows highly."

I.M., Tallahassee, Florida

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