Tampa DUI Lawyer
Experienced former prosecutors work for your best possible outcome
A DUI is a classic example of how an error in judgment can land an otherwise solid citizen in a great deal of trouble with the law. Although DUI laws are appropriately tough to discourage dangerous behavior, not every person charged with DUI deserves to feel the full weight of the law. In fact, many drivers are illegally stopped and erroneously charged, which makes a staunch defense even more crucial. At The Matassini Law Firm, P.A., our Tampa DUI lawyers are committed to pursuing every possible option to deliver the best possible result.
Florida DUI laws and penalties
Under Florida law it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle when the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) exceeds the legal limit:
- For all drivers — .08 percent or higher
- Drivers under age 21 — .02 percent or higher (Baby DUI)
- Commercial vehicle drivers — .04 percent or higher
For all drivers, a BAC of .15 percent or higher carries more severe penalties than a standard DUI.
A driver convicted of DUI in Florida faces the following penalties:
- License suspension — For a first offense, the license suspension runs from 180 days to one year. For a second conviction, the suspension is five years and it is ten years for a third.
- Jail and fines — A first DUI is a misdemeanor offense with a jail term up to six months and a fine of up to $2,000. A second offense is also a misdemeanor; jail terms run to nine months and fines are up to $4,000. Third convictions are also misdemeanor offenses, carrying jail time up to one year and a minimum fine of $4,000.
Florida law does allow some first time offenders to plead to the lesser charge of reckless driving with alcohol, also known as “wet reckless.” Our criminal defense attorneys work diligently to help ensure your best outcome.
State v MM
Charge: Driving Under the Influence
Maximum Penalty: 60 days jail, 12 months probation with many community service hours and fines, plus an additional license suspension on the DUI.
Result: NOT GUILTY verdict at a jury trial.
M.M. was driving back her to apartment late one evening along Tampa Bay’s scenic Bayshore Boulevard. She suddenly noticed a police cruiser driving in the opposite direction. The police cruiser made a sudden U-turn and accelerated to get bind M.M. Terrified because she was not impaired and thought she was driving just fine, M.M. gripped the steering wheel and continued as best she could along Bayshore. Soon lights and sirens were flashing and she was pulled over.
M.M. was asked to step out of the car and perform field sobriety exercises on the side of the Platt Street bridge tunnel into downtown Tampa. M.M. cooperated as best she could but was arrested and taken to jail. She reused to provide a breath sample.
Because M.M. was applying to graduate school, she knew she could not afford any criminal conviction on her record. Nicholas G. Matassini quickly realized the evidence in the case was weak and prepared the case for a jury trial. The Matassini Law Firm exposed before the jury numerous problems with the DUI officer’s investigation. The jury was out for less than an hour and came back with a resounding NOT GUILTY verdict. M.M. was eligible to have her record of the DUI arrest expunged and she now has all of this behind her.
Understanding Florida’s implied consent law for DUI testing
Florida law states that anyone who drives on the public roads has already consented to a blood, breath or urine test if arrested for DUI. Refusal results in an automatic suspension of the driver’s license. However, it’s important to note that implied consent does not pertain to a roadside test a police officer may use to determine grounds for an arrest. A driver may refuse a Breathalyzer test or a field sobriety test without penalty, unless the driver already has a DUI conviction. But beware: a refusal to take a roadside test can be used against you at your DUI trial.
Call our Tampa DUI lawyers for capable representation in your case
To protect your license and your freedom, you need the best legal defense possible after a DUI arrest. The Matassini Law Firm, P.A. works diligently for your best possible outcome from the moment you call. Call our Tampa DUI lawyers today at 813-217-5715 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.