First DUI Offenses in Tampa
Facing a DUI charge for the first time can be frightening in light of the
strict Florida laws on the subject and the very real possibility of harsh
penalties. A conviction can follow a person for a very long time unless they have
DUI attorney in Tampa to advocate for dismissal of the charges. Despite the serious penalties
looming, there is a possibility the accused and their lawyer may appeal
the charge and petition for dismissal.
Penalties for a First DUI Offense
A first offense DUI involving a
BAC level of more than .08 but less than .15 is considered a second degree misdemeanor
punishable by fines, time served in jail, license suspension and restrictions.
A person found guilty of DUI for the first time will face a fine of at
least $500 but no more than $1,000 and a jail sentence of no more than
A first offense DUI will result in the
driver's license being suspended for at least six months and mandatory community service of at least 50
hours. If the person is not capable of fulfilling the community service
requirement, they may opt to pay an additional fine of $10 per every hour
of community service ordered ($500). Certain factors may elevate the charges
of first offense and call for increased penalties such as a BAC of more
than .15 percent, injuries or property damaged during the incident and
the refusal of a chemical test.
Fighting a First Offense DUI
At the time of arrest, the police will confiscate the driver's license
and issue a "Notice of Suspension" which acts as a license for
10 days after it is issued. After the 10 days are up, the driver's
license will be suspended for six months by default unless they contest
the charges. Every person in Florida who is charged with DUI for the first
time is entitled to appear at an administrative driver's license hearing
concerning the suspension of their license.
In fact, it is highly advised that all individuals charged do so and be
accompanied by a DUI attorney to represent them. The hearing, which occurs
before an administrative judge through the Florida Department of Highway
Safety and Motor Vehicles, is a chance for the attorney representing the
defendant to present evidence and argue a case in order to avoid the suspension
of their client's license. It is important to remember that the individual
has only 10 days from their arrest to request such a hearing if they wish
to avoid a longer suspension.
A DUI attorney can not only offer representation at an administrative hearing
but also argue on behalf of their client in criminal court in order to
have the charges reduced or dismissed altogether. If the individual wishes
to plead "not guilty" to the charges brought against them, a
trial will resume where a judge and/or jury will hear from the arresting
officer, the prosecution and any witnesses brought on by the defense on
the behalf of the defendant. If the ruling is in favor of the defendant,
the charges will be dismissed.
Don't Wait to Contact a DUI Attorney in Tampa
While defense is possible against a first offense DUI, action must be taken
immediately. Conviction of the charge means serious implications both
immediate and long term. If you are facing a DUI charge for the first
time, the stakes are far too high to waste any time in contacting a DUI
attorney in Tampa to defend you. Thomas & Paulk, P.A. offers quality
legal representation against DUI charges and the attorneys at the firm
want to offer their services to you in your time of need.
Contact us as soon as possible to strengthen your defense!