Jacksonville Beach DUI Lawyer

Jacksonville Beach DUI Lawyer

Jacksonville Beach, FL DUI Attorney

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a very serious charge in Florida. This may be your first DUI or a repeat offense, but penalties can include fines, jail time, license suspension, and other administrative and criminal punishments. Many people charged with their first offense wrongly believe that penalties will not be serious. Working with a criminal defense attorney is the most effective way to lessen your penalties or get the charges against you dropped. It’s important to protect your future by seeking qualified legal counsel to build a defense immediately after your arrest.

Kevin A. Raudt, P.A. proudly serves our community. Based in Ponte Vedra, Florida, we represent individuals in the Jacksonville area and protect their interests and rights against criminal charges and DUI cases. If you are facing a DUI charge, you need experienced legal counsel. Kevin Raudt has years of experience working with complex DUI cases, giving him the background necessary to understand your case, craft useful defenses, and identify convincing evidence. With his help, you can feel more confident that you can reach a favorable outcome for your case.

What Are the DUI Laws in Jacksonville?

Under Florida law, a DUI is when a person is actively operating a motor vehicle while impaired by a substance, including alcohol, controlled substances, or other chemical substances. The law defines impairment as:

  • You have a blood or breath alcohol level (BAL) of 0.08% or higher.
  • Your normal faculties are impaired by the substance, such as your decision-making, movement, or other senses.

A BAL of 0.08% is the standard legal limit, but underage drivers have a legal limit of 0.02%. Commercially licensed drivers have a legal limit of 0.04% BAL.

Because of the normal faculties rule, a DUI conviction can be made even if your BAL is under the legal limit. An arresting police officer may believe that your driving was impaired. If the prosecution can prove that your ability to safely operate your vehicle was impaired, you could be convicted. A DUI defense lawyer can help you find any evidence that can prove that your driving was not impaired at the time of the arrest.

Protecting Your License

There are criminal hearings and administrative hearings in a DUI case. After your DUI arrest, one of the most important hearings regards your license suspension. After an arrest, it is automatically suspended, and you must file for an administrative hearing to contest that suspension.

You want to work with an attorney as soon as possible because contesting a license suspension must be done within 10 days of your arrest. Your attorney can help you prepare a defense for this initial hearing and represent you. If you don’t contest the suspension, you won’t be able to drive for months to years.

Do I Need a DUI Defense Lawyer?

If you face a DUI charge without an attorney, you will have to represent yourself in an administrative hearing. When you are already dealing with an overwhelming situation, and don’t have experience with DUI cases, this can be very difficult. In a criminal case, you will be prosecuted by the state, which has significantly more resources and time.

An attorney can be on your side throughout all of this and represent you in both types of cases. A criminal defense attorney who focuses on DUI law has a unique, in-depth understanding of cases like yours. They also have access to resources, essential evidence, and all the defenses available for your circumstances. An attorney can help you get the most favorable outcome to your DUI charges.

DUI Penalties

DUI convictions come with significant penalties. Subsequent convictions increase the penalties you can face. For your first DUI offense, conviction results in:

  • License suspension for a minimum of 180 days and up to 1 year
  • Up to 6 months in jail
  • Fines between $500 and $1,000
  • Potential installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) for 6 months
  • Vehicle impoundment for 10 days

If it is your first DUI, but your BAL was excessive, meaning 0.15% or higher, you face harsher penalties. This is also the case if there was a minor in the vehicle while you were operating it. Penalties for these aggravated circumstances include:

  • Up to 9 months in jail
  • Between $1,000 and $2,000 in fines
  • Mandatory installation of an IID for 6 months

A second DUI offense is defined as an arrest within 5 years of the first offense. Penalties include:

  • License revocation for a minimum of 5 years
  • Potential for a granted hardship license after 1 year
  • Up to 9 months in jail, with mandatory minimum sentencing of 10 days
  • Between $1,000 and $2,000 in fines
  • Vehicle impoundment for 30 days

If aggravating factors, such as having a minor in the vehicle with you or possessing a BAL of 0.15%, are present for a 2nd offense, penalties include:

  • Up to 1 year in jail
  • Fines between $2,000 and $4,000

A third DUI offense results in:

  • License revocation for a minimum of 10 years
  • Potential for a hardship license after 2 years
  • A mandatory minimum of 30 days in jail and up to 5 years in prison if the third offense is within 10 years of the second offense
  • Up to 1 year in jail if the third offense was more than 10 years after the second offense
  • Fines between $2,000 and $4,000

A fourth DUI offense leads to permanent mandatory license revocation and mandatory minimum fines of $2,000. A hardship license may be possible after 5 years.

Enhanced DUI Penalties

Enhanced penalties may be incurred if there are aggravated or serious circumstances in a DUI case. The listed penalties are in addition to any you would receive for the number of offenses that apply to your situation. Enhanced penalty circumstances include:

  • Property Damage and/or Personal Injury: This results in up to 1 year in prison and up to $1,000 in fines. Your license would also be revoked for a minimum of 3 years.
  • Crash With Serious Bodily Injury: Penalties include up to 5 years in prison and/or $5,000 in fines.
  • DUI Manslaughter: This enhanced penalty includes a mandatory permanently revoked license. It also results in up to 15 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.
  • DUI Manslaughter Hit-and-Run: Penalties for this include up to 30 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

DUI Defenses in Jacksonville

A DUI defense depends entirely on the unique circumstances of your arrest, charges, and case. Potential defenses may include:

    • Lack of Probable Cause: A police officer can pull you over for two reasons. Either the officer has probable cause to do so, or there was a DUI checkpoint. Probable cause means that the officer needs a reason, such as a traffic violation or unsafe and erratic driving, to pull you over. If there was no probable cause, evidence gathered at the stop may be inadmissible. In some cases, an attorney can also challenge the legality of the DUI checkpoint.
    • Rising Blood Alcohol Defense: Because alcohol takes time to enter the bloodstream and impair a person, there are some situations where the rising blood alcohol defense is appropriate. In this defense, you would have arrived at your destination with a BAL below the legal limit, but you were pulled over before you could get there. In the time it took to go to the police station and take a chemical test, enough time had elapsed that your BAL is over the legal limit.
    • Inaccurate or Improperly Administered Chemical Tests: Chemical tests include breath and blood tests. These tests can be inaccurate, administered by non-professionals, or calibrated improperly. Blood tests can sometimes become tainted after being given. An attorney may be able to prove that a chemical test is inadmissible evidence.

Additional defenses to a DUI charge include:

      • Improper procedures during the field sobriety tests
      • Failure to read your Miranda rights
      • Police entrapment
      • Medical conditions that created an inaccurate chemical test
      • Improper police training
      • Lack of evidence

These defenses may or may not apply to your situation. Your Jacksonville DUI attorney can review your case and arrest to craft a defense that can lead to the ideal outcome for your case.

How Much Does a DUI Attorney Cost in Jacksonville?

The average DUI defense attorney cost is between $700 and $8,000. This is a wide range for several reasons. Attorney costs depend on their experience level, where their firm is located, and the complexity of your case. Cases that take longer, or are more legally complicated, will be more expensive. Additionally, some DUI cases can be settled, while others must enter litigation. A DUI case that reaches an out-of-court settlement will likely cost between $700 and $1,500, depending on the specifics of your case. Going to trial will make the process take longer and may cost between $5,000 and $8,000. Always discuss fees with your attorney before hiring them.

Kevin A. Raudt, P.A.: Protecting Your Rights

A DUI arrest and charge is never easy. Kevin A. Raudt, P.A., provides compassionate and effective legal counsel during this difficult time in Jacksonville, FL . We know how much is at stake. Contact Kevin A. Raudt, P.A., today to see how our experience can aid you.


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