John Ramsey Jr PA

CRIMINAL LAW

DUI

When someone is stopped and subsequently arrested for Driving Under the Influence, it goes without saying that it is a frightening and confusing experience. If this has happened to you, you need a Gainesville DUI lawyer on your side that will fight for you. From the second someone is pulled over to the time they are released from jail, there is very little explanation by the police as to what is happening in the DUI arrest process. It is critical to retain a Gainesville DUI lawyer well versed in Florida DUI law and the procedure in a DUI arrest. At The Law Office of John A. Ramsey, Jr. , we have experience defending DUI cases and are eager to stand up for your rights throughout this trying time. To learn more about the process of a DUI in Gainesville, Florida and how we can help you, or to clear a Florida DUI arrest record, call immediately for a free consultation from one of our Gainesville DUI attorneys. The Law Office of John A. Ramsey, Jr. ,your Gainesville DUI lawyers, are here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT DUI

Contact with the Officer

In Florida a person can be convicted of Driving Under the Influence if the State Attorney's Office can prove that a person was driving while their normal faculties were impaired or that a person was driving with a Blood Alcohol Concentration of .08% or above. Your DUI investigation likely began with an officer noticing certain abnormal driving behavior, thought by him to be caused by impairment. Abnormal driving can be classified as swerving, driving too slow, driving too fast, driving over a curb, or weaving in and out of a lane amongst others. It is also possible the officer noticed a traffic infraction or malfunctioning equipment on your vehicle, both grounds for a legal stop. The officer will then make contact with you to further his investigation. Upon making contact, the officer will be looking for certain "signs" of impairment. Namely bloodshot, watery eyes, flushed face, odor of alcohol, lack of motor skills and slurred speech. If the officer confirms his suspicion he will request you to step out of the vehicle for the infamous Field Sobriety Exercises.

Field Sobriety Exercises

The officer now suspects you to be intoxicated to the point that your normal faculties are impaired. Field Sobriety Exercises aid the officer in this determination. In Florida, Field Sobriety Exercises are considered voluntary. Generally three tests are used to aid an officer�s determination of impairment.

  1. Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (Pen Test) - this exercise measures the involuntary jerking of your eyes as they track back and forth while following a pen or other object used by an officer. This is known as lack of smooth pursuit. When one is under the influence of alcohol, his or her eyes will not track smoothly, indicating impairment. Additionally the officer will be looking for the onset of nystagmus in your eye. If your eyes show nystagmus prior to 45 degrees, this will be used as an indicator of impairment, weighing in the officer's determination to make an arrest.
  2. Walk and Turn - This exercise begins by the officer requesting you to stand in a heel-to-toe manner with your arms down by your sides as the officer instructs you to walk down the line. The officer will be looking for lack of balance, improper number of steps, incorrect turn, inability to follow directions, and steps off of the line to confirm or dispel his suspicion of impairment.
  3. One Leg Stand - This exercise requires you to stand with your arms at your sides while lifting one leg off the ground six inches for thirty seconds. The officer will be looking for lack of balance, movement of the arms from the body, inability to follow directions, the number of times you put your foot down and more in making his determination.

Breath, Blood & Urine Tests

After the officer makes the arrest at the scene, you are going to jail. Upon a DUI arrest, Florida law requires you to remain in custody for eight hours or until you are no longer impaired. Upon your arrival at the jail, the officer will take you into the breath test room and request that you provide a breath test sample. In Florida, a breath test is considered voluntary- however refusing to take the test could amount to an additional charge if the accused has refused to take the breath test after a prior DUI arrest. Additionally, the State Attorney will try to spin your decision to refuse the test against you, should your case come to trial. If you provide a valid breath sample and it registers .00, the officer may still request you to provide a urine sample. In certain instances the officer may take a blood sample. Regardless of what happened in the breath test room, it is critical to have an experienced DUI attorney review the lawfulness of the police testing your blood, breath, or urine. Contact our attorneys immediately to review the facts surrounding your case.

DMV Administrative Suspension

A pending DUI can best be explained as a road that forks. The left side of the fork is the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) administrative suspension proceeding. This suspension starts the day of arrest and can last six months if a breath test is performed and 12 months if the breath test is refused for the first time. The suspension will last 18 months if it is a second-time breath test refusal. Upon arrest for DUI, an accused can drive for 10 days on the DUI citation issued. Within 10 days of arrest, a formal review hearing should be requested with the DHSMV. Upon request, a 42 day driving permit will be issued, and a hearing to challenge the DHSMV suspension must be held within 30 days. This hearing is held in front of a hearing officer that works for the DHSMV. If the suspension is overturned, full driving privileges are reinstated. If the suspension is upheld, a period called hard time begins seven days from the date of the hearing. Hard time is a period when the accused cannot drive at all. If the accused took a breath test and blew .08% or above, the hard time period will be 30 days. If there was a breath test refusal, hard time will be 90 days. Action must be taken within 10 days of the arrest!! Call today to talk our attorneys about this sensitive process.

The right side of the fork in the road is the criminal proceeding. The first court date is the arraignment, where the accused is given notice of the charge against him, and typically will learn of the sanctions sought in their case. After arraignment, there will likely be several pre-trial conferences during which the court is given updates as to the status of the case. Finally, the last stage of the criminal process is a trial with the trier of fact being either the Judge or Jury.

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DUI Sanctions:
The DUI lawyers at The Law Office of John A. Ramsey, Jr. would like you to be informed of the consequences that come with a DUI conviction. In Florida, the statutory minimums for a conviction of DUI are outlined in Florida Statutes 316.193. The sanctions imposed at the time the case is resolved will differ depending on whether it is a first offense, second or third.

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FIRST CONVICTION:

  1. Adjudication of Guilt;
  2. Fine amount not less than $500 or more than $1000;
  3. Imprisonment not to exceed 6 months (No mandatory jail sentence for first conviction);
  4. Ignition Interlock Device to be installed in the person's vehicle for 6 months if the breath sample exceeds .15 or if there was a minor in the vehicle;
  5. Completion of DUI Level I School and any required Counseling;
  6. Probation up to 12 months;
  7. Minimum of 50 hours of community service (Possible to buyout at $10 dollars an hour);
  8. 10 day vehicle impound (some exceptions depending on specific facts)

SECOND CONVICTION:

  1. Adjudication of Guilt;
  2. Fine amount not less than $1000;
  3. Ignition Interlock Device for at least 1 year;
  4. Imprisonment for a minimum of 10 days if the second conviction is within 5 years of the first; but for no more than 9 months; (No jail required if prior DUI conviction was 5 years or more prior;
  5. Completion of DUI Level II School;
  6. 30 day vehicle impound (some exceptions depending on specific facts);
  7. Probation up to 12 months

THIRD CONVICTION:

  1. Possible felony conviction if the offense occurs within 10 years after a second conviction;
  2. Ignition Interlock Device to be installed in the person's vehicle for at least 2 years;
  3. Fine amount not less than $2000;
  4. Imprisonment for a minimum of 30 days if the offense occurs within 10 years of the second;
  5. 90 day vehicle impound (some exceptions depending on specific facts);
  6. Probation

If you have been charged with DUI, contact the law office of John A. Ramsey, Jr. for a free consultation.