Ponte Vedra Beach DUI Lawyer

Ponte Vedra Beach DUI Lawyer

Ponte Vedra Beach DUI Attorney

Being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious situation, and many people underestimate the consequences that they could receive, both criminal and administrative. For a first DUI offense, your license could be suspended, and you could face fines and jail time. If you have had prior DUIs, or if there were aggravating factors during your arrest, potential penalties could be even worse. A DUI conviction could impact much of your future. The most effective way to avoid these serious consequences is to work with an experienced Ponte Vedra Beach criminal defense attorney. A DUI defense lawyer can look at the facts of your case and determine the ideal way to lessen or drop the charges against you.

Kevin A. Raudt, P.A., has proudly served Ponte Vedra, Florida, and the surrounding communities for nearly 40 years. DUI charges are incredibly stressful to face alone. You are likely facing administrative and criminal hearings. You are also worried about losing your license and being convicted of a crime. Working with a DUI defense attorney like Kevin Raudt provides you with legal support, a strong defense, and a higher likelihood of mitigating your sentence. Kevin Raudt is committed to his community and the people he defends, and he and his team want to protect your legal rights and your future. He focuses on criminal law and DUI defense, giving him exceptional insight into your needs and the nuances of a DUI defense case.

Understanding Florida DUI Laws

A DUI refers to operating a car or vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, controlled substances, or other impairing substances. You must have a blood alcohol or breath alcohol level (BAL) of 0.08% or more, or have your normal faculties impaired by another substance, to be arrested and charged with a DUI.

For underage drivers, the legal limit is 0.02% BAL. Commercially licensed drivers have a legal limit of 0.04% BAL.

You may have a blood or breath test that shows you are under the legal BAL limit, but you could still be arrested. A police officer can claim that you were impaired while operating a vehicle, and with evidence of this, you can be convicted. You may even be using legal substances, such as prescription drugs. However, if a prosecutor can prove that it impaired your faculties, and your ability to drive safely, you could be convicted. It’s important to work with a DUI defense attorney to defend yourself and avoid conviction.

A DUI case includes a criminal case and an administrative case. The criminal case deals with significant penalties if you are convicted. The administrative hearing comes first. When you are arrested, your license is suspended. You then have 10 days after the date of your arrest to challenge this suspension. The sooner you contact an attorney, the more time they have to prepare for your administrative hearing. An attorney can review the specifics of your case and help you get your license back. If you don’t challenge your license suspension during that time, you could lose your ability to drive for months or years, depending on the circumstances.

Here are some prevalent categories of felony offenses our firm regularly manages:

  • Assault and Battery: Assault involves threatening to harm another person, while battery refers to the actual infliction of harm. While simple battery is usually a misdemeanor, aggravated battery, which may involve the use of a deadly weapon, is classified as a second-degree felony. Assault and battery charges are escalated to aggravated status if a deadly weapon is used.
  • Domestic Violence: This constitutes any action that inflicts harm or incites fear in a family member, household member, or romantic partner. Under severe circumstances, domestic violence can escalate to a felony charge, potentially leading to imprisonment for five to thirty years.
  • Drug-Related Offenses: Felony charges can arise from the possession, manufacturing, trafficking, or distribution of illegal substances, with the severity depending on the type and amount of the substance involved.
  • DUI (Driving Under the Influence): In Florida, operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol is taken very seriously. Felony charges may be levied for causing injury or death, or for repeat DUI offenses.
  • Robbery: Theft involving force or the threat of force, especially with the use of a deadly weapon, is categorized as a violent crime and charged as a felony.
  • Sexual Offenses: Felonies may be charged for sexual acts such as rape, certain types of stalking, and other sexual assaults, depending on the specifics of the act, the victim’s age, and the presence of aggravating factors.
  • White-Collar Crimes: Financially damaging crimes like embezzlement, forgery, money laundering, and various forms of fraud, including insurance and credit card fraud, are classified as felonies.

This list represents the types of felony charges we most frequently address on behalf of our clients, though it is not all-encompassing. Consulting with a defense attorney for a comprehensive evaluation of your case is crucial to fully understand the legal proceedings you may face.

Why Do I Need an Attorney for a DUI Arrest?

Whether this is your first offense or you have prior DUI arrests or convictions, it’s a scary situation to be in. Working with an attorney can ensure that someone is in your corner. Your attorney can advocate for your rights and interests while aiming to reduce the charges and penalties against you. In some cases, an attorney can get your DUI charges dropped completely.

Without an attorney, you must face administrative hearings and criminal cases alone while arguing against the prosecution yourself. In a criminal case, this will be against state prosecutors, who have significantly more resources at their disposal. A DUI defense attorney has extensive resources, experience handling DUI cases like yours, and an understanding of the evidence necessary to defend your case. Some evidence, like CCTV footage, may be impossible for you to get without an attorney. Several defenses could be used in a DUI case, and your attorney can determine what may apply to your situation.

How Do You Get a DUI Thrown Out in Florida?

To obtain a DUI conviction, the prosecutor must show that you were operating a vehicle at the time and that you were either impaired or had a BAL above the legal limit. There are several defenses that may be used:

  • Lack of Probable Cause: In most circumstances, a police officer is required to have a reason for stopping a car. This may include a traffic violation or erratic driving. Police officers may also pull over a driver at a DUI checkpoint with no other probable cause. If the stop was not at a DUI checkpoint, an officer must have probable cause for the stop that led to the arrest. If an attorney proves that there was no probable cause, any evidence from that stop is considered inadmissible, and the charges could be dropped.
  • Challenging the Field Sobriety Test: Police officers can improperly administer field sobriety tests. Unclear instructions, external issues such as weather, or medical limitations could all impact the outcome of a field sobriety test. If an officer didn’t account for these issues, or didn’t follow correct procedures, this may harm the case against you.
  • Challenging Chemical Tests: Chemical tests can be improperly calibrated, improperly administered, or given by officers without the necessary training. Samples of blood tests can be tainted, and breathalyzer tests can be inaccurate. Chemical tests can also be affected by other chemicals, medications, or even health conditions. If a chemical test is proven to be invalid, then it may not be counted as evidence against you.
  • Rising Blood Alcohol Defense: It takes time for alcohol, and certain other substances, to work into a person’s bloodstream. In some cases, a person is pulled over when they are under the legal BAL limit, but they would have made it to the place they were going before being impaired or over the legal limit. They are taken to the police station to receive a chemical test, and during that elapsed time, they are over the legal limit.
  • Violation of Rights: When you are arrested, the officer must read you your Miranda rights. Failure to do so means that no statements made can be used as evidence. This can weaken the prosecution’s case.

There are many defenses against DUI charges. An experienced attorney can decide what will most suit your circumstances and craft an effective defense.

Florida DUI Penalties

If you are arrested for a DUI, penalties for conviction increase if you have previously had DUI convictions. If you are incarcerated, the court can determine if part of the time can be served in a treatment program or rehabilitation center. Vehicle impoundment or immobilization will not be enforced if the person’s family has no other form of transport.

  • First Offense

For a first-time DUI conviction, with no aggravating factors, there is a minimum of $500 in fines and a maximum of $1,000, as well as imprisonment for up to 6 months. The vehicle is impounded for 10 days. A license is revoked for a minimum of 180 days up to 1 year. If someone suffered bodily injury, license revocation will last a minimum of 3 years.

If the BAL was exceptionally high, 0.15% or more, penalties are more severe. Penalties are also more significant if a minor was in the car while you were driving impaired. A first-offense conviction with those circumstances results in fines between $1,000 and $2,000 and imprisonment for up to 9 months.

Additionally, the court may order the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID). This device measures a person’s BAL before the car can be started. For a first offense, an IID may be installed for 6 months, depending on the discretion of the court. For first offenses where the BAL was over 0.15%, a 6-month installation of an IID is mandatory.

  • Second Offense

A second offense is a DUI within 5 years of the first conviction. A second DUI conviction results in fines between $1,000 and $2,000 as well as imprisonment for up to 9 months. The mandatory minimum sentence is 10 days. There will be 30 days of vehicle impoundment and a minimum license revocation of 5 years. In some cases, a person may get a hardship license after 1 year. If BAL is over 0.15%, or a minor was in the vehicle, penalties include fines between $2,000 and $4,000, along with imprisonment for up to 1 year.

  • Third Offense and Fourth Offense

A third DUI offense results in fines between $2,000 and $5,000. If the person’s BAL was 0.15% or more, or there was a minor endangered in the vehicle, fines are at least $4,000. Penalties also include imprisonment for up to 5 years, if it occurs within 10 years of the 2nd offense, and a mandatory minimum of 30 days. If the offense occurs after 10 years, the penalty is up to 1 year of imprisonment. The vehicle is impounded for 90 days, and the person’s license is revoked for a minimum of 10 years. A hardship license may be possible after 2 years.

A fourth DUI offense cannot have fines of less than $2,000. It also results in a permanent license revocation, regardless of when the other offenses occurred, although one can apply for a hardship license after 5 years.

Kevin A. Raudt, P.A.: Your Ponte Vedra Beach DUI Attorney

For exceptional defense when facing a DUI charge, contact Kevin A. Raudt, P.A.


Get a Free Consultation

"*" indicates required fields

I Have Read The Disclaimer*
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.