Lake City DUI Lawyer

Lake City DUI Lawyer

Lake City, FL DUI Attorney

It’s stressful to be charged with driving under the influence (DUI). Despite this, many people underestimate the consequences they can suffer, even for a first offense. Florida has harsh penalties for DUIs, and subsequent offenses come with more significant punishments. If you are convicted of a DUI, you may face administrative penalties, like license suspension, in addition to criminal penalties, like fines and even time in jail. A conviction can have a serious impact on your future, and it’s important to mitigate these charges and penalties as much as possible. Working with an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you defend yourself against these charges and build a defense. A Lake City DUI defense lawyer can work for the ideal outcome of your case by potentially limiting penalties or getting charges dropped.

You need a DUI attorney with experience and care for the people in your situation. Kevin A. Raudt, P.A., has proudly worked in the communities in and around Lake City for many years. We practice criminal defense and DUI law and understand the legal nuances of these cases. Kevin A. Raudt, P.A., can use this experience to fight for you and provide you with legal support and counsel. Our team understands how overwhelming a DUI can be. Let us help you through this demanding situation by gathering essential evidence and representing you in hearings.

What Are Lake City DUI Laws?

A DUI charge in Florida happens when you are driving while under the influence of a chemical substance, including alcohol, or any substance that impaired function. Impairment under the law is defined as:

  • Having a blood or breath alcohol level (BAL) of 0.08% or greater
  • Impairment of normal faculties by the substance, including your movement, decision-making, or senses

Under this legal definition, you could still face a DUI arrest and conviction, even with a BAL under 0.08%. If the prosecution can prove that your driving was impaired and unsafe, this may lead to a DUI conviction. Your DUI attorney can fight against these allegations.

There are other legal limits in Florida. For drivers who are under the age of 21, and therefore shouldn’t be drinking or under the influence, the BAL is 0.02%. For commercially licensed drivers, who have a greater standard of care on the road due to their larger vehicle and frequent road use, the legal BAL limit is 0.04%. A BAL reading over these legal limits in these circumstances may result in a criminal conviction.

Administrative Hearing for License Suspension

In addition to criminal cases and charges, a DUI case has administrative hearings and penalties. Immediately after being arrested for a DUI, your license is suspended. It’s important to challenge this suspension within 10 days, or your license can be revoked for months to years without your input.

It’s essential to contact an attorney soon after your arrest. They can help you file for the administrative hearing to protect your license and begin building your defense. Filing for an administrative hearing doesn’t guarantee the reinstatement of your license. However, it gives you a chance to argue your case and could prevent suspension. It can also help you prepare your case for the criminal hearing.

Do I Need an Attorney for a Lake City DUI?

Having an attorney by your side throughout administrative and criminal hearings is in your interest. When you enter these proceedings without an attorney, you will have to advocate for yourself in an administrative hearing. This can be very stressful. During a criminal case, you will be facing state prosecutors. Working with a DUI defense attorney can provide you with the resources, knowledge, and experience to defend yourself against the prosecution.

It is vital to have an attorney who also gives you confidence when approaching your case. If you work with an attorney who has experience with cases like yours, and the time to dedicate to you and your situation, you can feel confident that the most favorable outcome can be reached. Your attorney can look over the circumstances of your arrest and charges, then determine what DUI defense can be most effective.

The Process of a DUI Criminal Case

In Florida, a DUI arrest could be made if a police officer has probable cause to make a traffic stop. This may include erratic driving or traffic violations like failing to yield or running a red light. Florida also has DUI checkpoints, which are a common way that DUI stops and arrests happen. If the officer believes that the person they stopped is under the influence, they may request a field sobriety test or a breathalyzer test. Failing any of these tests may result in an arrest.

Florida has an implied consent law for chemical tests. This means that drivers in Florida are required to submit to a chemical test if they are requested to do so by the officer. If you refuse to submit to a chemical test after being arrested, it is punishable by a minimum 1-year license revocation. You could also face up to $1,000 in fines, and your refusal may be used against you in court.

The implied consent law does not apply to field sobriety tests. Although an officer may act like they are mandatory, they are not. Because field sobriety tests are often subjective, know that the results are not always admissible. However, it’s important to submit to a chemical test and contact an attorney soon after an arrest to protect your rights.

After booking, you may be able to post bail, depending on the circumstances of your arrest. Within 10 days after your arrest, you should challenge the license suspension in an administrative hearing. The next step in the criminal case is the arraignment, which will determine how you plead. Your attorney can help you determine the ideal route to take. Depending on the defense for your DUI, the charges against you may be dropped, or you may be able to have fewer penalties through a plea bargain settlement. If no settlement can be reached, the case goes to trial.

DUI Penalties in Florida

Each subsequent DUI offense comes with more serious penalties. Even for a first offense, you should work with an attorney to lessen the effect these penalties have on your future. For any imprisonment sentencing, it is up to the judge’s discretion whether it can be served in a rehabilitation center, treatment program, or other alternative sentencing. An attorney can argue for this option, if necessary, to limit or negate time in jail.

A first DUI offense with no extreme circumstances results in:

  • Up to 6 months in jail
  • A suspended license between 180 days and 1 year
  • Fines between $500 and $1,000
  • An impounded vehicle for 10 days
  • An ignition interlock device (IID) installed on the vehicle for 6 months, at the court’s discretion

A DUI can have additional penalties if circumstances were aggravated. This includes a very high BAL of at least 0.15% or having a minor present in the car while you were driving. Penalties include:

  • Up to 9 months in jail
  • Fines between $1,000 and $2,000
  • A mandatory IID installation for 6 months

For a second DUI offense, which is an offense within 5 years of the prior conviction, penalties include:

  • Up to 9 months in jail
  • A mandatory minimum sentence of 10 days in jail
  • A 5-year minimum license revocation, with a potential hardship license after 1 year
  • Fines between $1,000 and $2,000
  • An impounded vehicle for 30 days

In aggravated circumstances with a high BAL or a minor present, penalties are:

  • Jail time may be up to 1 year.
  • Fines are between $2,000 and $4,000.

If you are convicted of a third DUI offense, the charges are serious. It can be difficult to get a judge to assign lighter sentencing when this mistake has happened so often. You need an exceptional attorney to defend your interests. The penalties for a third DUI offense include:

  • If the third offense occurred within 10 years of the second conviction, a minimum mandatory 30 days and up to 5 years in prison
  • If the third offense occurred after 10 years, up to 1 year in jail
  • A minimum license revocation of 10 years, with a potential hardship license after 2 years
  • Fines between $2,000 and $4,000

A fourth offense DUI carries:

  • A mandatory permanent license revocation
  • Potential for a hardship license after 5 years
  • Mandatory minimum fines of $2,000

Repeat offenders are judged more harshly.

Enhanced DUI Penalties

There are additional circumstances that can make DUI penalties more severe. Penalties for enhanced DUI charges are in addition to charges for a DUI first conviction or subsequent offense. These enhanced penalties include:

  • Property damage and/or personal injury
  • Crash with serious bodily injury
  • DUI manslaughter, or manslaughter and leaving the scene
  • Vehicular homicide, or vehicular homicide and leaving the scene

If you are facing enhanced penalties, it is essential to work with an attorney who understands complex DUI cases and defenses.

Kevin A. Raudt, P.A.: Your Lake City, FL, DUI Attorney

A DUI arrest and charge is a terrifying situation. Protect your rights and your future with effective and compassionate advocacy from Kevin A. Raudt, P.A. Contact our team today if you or a loved one has been arrested for a DUI.


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