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Tampa Car Accident Lawyers > 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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The greatest distinguishing feature among attorneys is their level of experience. Our firm has more than 60 years of legal experience, much of it spent in the courtroom at trial. As a result, our Tampa personal injury lawyers rarely encounter an unfamiliar situation and can thoroughly answer your urgent questions. Our criminal defense practice features a board certified criminal trial lawyer and two former prosecutors with impressive knowledge of trial tactics and procedures.

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Whether your case involves medical malpractice, an auto accident or a wrongful death, your attorney must be prepared to take the case all the way through trial to verdict. Many personal injury attorneys advance the cost of litigation, so they can only last so long before financial pressures start to mount. As a client, you have to wonder whether an attorney's advice to settle your case reflects the quality of the offer or your attorneys need to get paid. Fortunately, The Matassini Law Firm has the resources to pursue civil verdicts and settlements that reflect the actual value of your case.

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