What Happens After a DUI Arrest?

A DUI arrest often comes as a result of a routine traffic stop. A traffic stop may quickly turn into a more serious situation. At the discretion of the police officer, you may be asked to submit first to some field sobriety tests. These tests may include such things as standing on one leg, walking a straight line, or reciting the alphabet. If you’ve been asked to take these preliminary tests the officer already likely feels that you may have been drinking. After completing the field testing the officer may determine that you are driving while intoxicated and if so, will proceed to arrest you. You will immediately be handcuffed and driven to the police station for booking. Depending on the situation you may be allowed to have someone else drive your car home. However, sometimes your car will need to be towed.

DUI Testing

Officially you’ll be asked to submit to DUI tests including either blood, urine, or, most commonly, a breath test. A breathalyzer test may be administered by law enforcement. You will be requested to blow into a small unit for a short period of time. Once complete, the results are immediately known. In Florida, the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08% for adults 21 years of age and older. Florida has an implied consent law in place. This means that by simply obtaining your driver’s license you have consented to submit to DUI testing if requested. You may refuse to submit to such testing, however, you will be facing additional separate penalties. It is important to realize that your refusal to take a DUI test can be used against you in court and it will be assumed that you refused because you were over the legal limit. You can and should immediately consult with an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible. It may be helpful to know that you can request an independent test be completed and this may prove useful in defending your case.

Driver’s License Suspension

Upon your arrest for DUI your driver’s license will be immediately suspended until the outcome of your case is determined. In order to keep your license you’ll need to request a special hearing (Formal Review Hearing) within ten days of your arrest. Failure to do so will mean you forfeit this DMV hearing. The hearing is a way to potentially keep your license, on an unrestricted basis, until the case is resolved. This hearing is not part of your criminal case. Your lawyer will be able to present reasons why you should be allowed to keep your driving privileges and may be successful in having them allow you to keep your license. Your driving privileges will be reviewed during the court case and your license may be suspended or revoked at the conclusion of your court case depending on the outcome.

DUI Penalties

A DUI conviction is very serious and carries harsh penalties. The penalties will vary depending on factors such as whether this was your first DUI and whether there was an accident or injuries involved in the incident. DUI penalties may include any or all of the following:

  • Fines
  • Suspension or revocation of driver’s license
  • Jail time
  • Rehabilitation for alcohol
  • Community service
  • Driving school

Your attorney will work to try to reduce the charges against you and to lower any sentence that may be imposed if you are convicted. The sooner you get your lawyer involved the better your chances will be of a more successful result.