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Matassini Law Firm > Blog > Criminal Defense > Never Assume a Florida DUI Charge is “Only” a Traffic Ticket

Never Assume a Florida DUI Charge is “Only” a Traffic Ticket

If you ever face charges of driving under the influence (DUI) in Florida, you need to consider your situation as similar to a serious criminal prosecution, rather than just a citation that adds points to your driving record. You need to retain an experienced Floricda criminal defense attorney at the first opportunity after a DUI arrest.

Yes, traffic tickets can result in severe consequences, such as fines and license suspension. However, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, DUI incurs much more severe penalties, including the following:

  • Fines are typically assessed, depending on the number of prior convictions and generally ranging from at least $500 to $5,000.

  • Loss of driving privileges typically involves license suspension, but offenders can also have their vehicles impounded or immobilized for a period from 10 to 90 days.

  • Imprisonment can range from a six- to nine-month maximum term for first offenders, depending on the level of blood alcohol content, on up to five years for fourth or subsequent convictions.

  • Full criminal convictions are possible. Drivers who cause an accident involving property damage or personal injury face first-degree misdemeanor convictions that result in fines up to $1,000 and up to one year in prison. The crime becomes a third-degree felony for repeat offenders or those who cause serious bodily injury, costing up to $5,000 in fines, five years in prison or both.

Most people do not see themselves as criminals when they get behind the wheel after having a drink or two. The state of Florida sees them quite differently. If police arrest and detain you, you have full Miranda rights, including the right to call a criminal defense lawyer. When you seek representation at the earliest opportunity, you have the best chance of a reduced charges or full acquittal. In some cases, charges can be completely dropped, ending a frightening criminal process.

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