DUI, driving under the influence, is a charge that comes with severe penalties upon conviction. DUI convictions are on the rise across the country and therefore the penalties are often severe. In 2010 there were more than 1,200 DUI convictions in Orange County, Florida. Most DUI charges are made as part of a traffic stop for another reason, so you may be facing several penalties. In Florida, when you’re charged with DUI your driving privileges will often be suspended until your court date unless you request a hearing. This is an administrative hearing with the Florida DMV and is separate from criminal charges of DUI, which will be handled in court.

Implied Consent

In Florida, drivers must consent to a DUI test if asked to do so by a member of law enforcement. The test may be a breath, urine, or blood test. Refusal to consent to testing will result in a separate charge which carries a mandatory one year driver’s license suspension. In most cases, it is best for drivers to consent to testing, even if they feel they may be over the legal limit of 0.08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Your refusal to submit to testing will also be used against you in your DUI case. Consult with your attorney before you make any decisions regarding your DUI arrest and charges.

Avoid Driver’s License Suspension

In order to keep your license for the interim period of time (before your case goes to court) you must request a hearing. This must be done within ten days of your arrest. At the hearing you will be able to present reasons why you should keep your driving privileges. It’s usually best to have your attorney represent you at this hearing. Your lawyer will be able to review your situation and present the best possible case. The final disposition of your license will occur as part of your court case. Depending on your specific case, your license may be suspended for a period of time. If this is your second DUI offense the penalties for conviction are more severe than for first time offenders.

Fighting DUI Charges

If you have been charged or arrested for DUI, the best chance of a favorable resolution will occur by consulting with an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible. Each case is different, with a unique set of circumstances. Your lawyer will look at every detail regarding your traffic stop, arrest, and DUI testing and help to determine the best possible defense in your case. Depending on the situation, your lawyer will work to reduce the charges against you or drop them completely. Talk to your lawyer before making any statements to police after your arrest.