Defending DUI in Tampa, Florida

Our DUI defense attorneys are both former prosecutors who have handled thousands of cases. We have the experience necessary to defend your case.

Tampa Drugged Driving Defense Lawyers

Florida Laws for Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID)

DUI charges are not limited to people accused of driving drunk. Florida laws are equally harsh on those found to be driving under the influence of drugs (DUID). Also known as drugged driving, these charges are a result of the use of drugs while driving. This applies to both illicit and prescribed drugs. Many drivers are lured into a false sense of security about their use of prescription drugs and fail to exercise caution when getting behind the wheel. However, prescription drugs are treated similarly to alcohol in charges of DUI.

When you’re facing DUID charges, speak with the Tampa DUID attorneys at Thomas & Paulk, P.A. Our team has decades of combined experience and more than 7,000 cases under our belt. We understand how local law enforcement and the court operate, allowing us to strategize and litigate for the best possible outcome. As former prosecutors, we know what you’re facing. Let us help you face your charges with confidence!

Call our Florida DUID lawyers today for the experienced representation your future deserves. We’re standing by to talk about how we can help at (813) 321-7323.

What Is Drugged Driving Under Florida Law?

According to Florida law, drugged driving occurs when a person is in “actual physical control" while operating a vehicle under the influence of “controlled substances" or “harmful chemicals." While it might sound strange, the phrase “actual physical control" means that a driver is in a vehicle and can maneuver it. This phrasing is important because it means a person can be charged with DUID even if they are not driving their vehicle. Sitting in the driver’s seat of a vehicle while under the influence is means a person can receive a DUID.

Florida Penalties for Driving Under the Influence of Drugs

Just as with drunk driving penalties, Florida DUID penalties can increase based on how many offenses a person has committed in the past. However, since DUID charges involve illegal substances, they’re almost always accompanied by other possession or trafficking offenses.

General penalties for DUID in Florida include:

  • First offense: Up to six months in jail and $1,000 in fines
  • Second offense: Up to nine months in jail and $2,000 in fines
  • Third offense: Up to five years in prison and $5,000 in fines.

If a person commits their third DUID offense within ten years of a prior conviction, they also can have their license revoked for at least 10 years.

DUID Attorneys: High-Quality Defense

Defense Against Charges of Drugged Driving

It can be challenging to tell if a driver is under the influence of drugs while driving. While a breath test can be used to estimate the blood alcohol level, there is no simple roadside test which can do the same for drugs. Instead, cases involving DUID will rely on different tests.

For some cases, the testimony of the arresting officer will be the strongest evidence presented by the prosecution. The officer will testify about the defendant’s behavior and will discuss any signs of being under the influence of drugs that were exhibited. This testimony could be corroborated by evidence gathered during the administration of field sobriety tests.

These pieces of evidence, however, are notoriously unreliable and subjective. Therefore, many drugged driving cases will turn to evidence obtained from blood and urine tests. These options are viewed as the most accurate way to determine how much of the drug was in the defendant's blood system. However, these tests may also be faulty or unreliable.

For example, urine tests are only useful for determining if drugs were used, not when they were used. These tests may detect drugs that were used previously but do not necessarily prove that the driver was impaired at the time of arrest.

Other defenses used to fight drug test evidence include:

  • An improperly administered field sobriety test
  • A drug test that was administered by an untrained or unqualified individual
  • A mishandled blood or urine sample
  • Inaccurate drug test results
  • Drugs or drug paraphernalia discovered by an illegal search
  • An unlawful arrest

Learn more about your options by calling us at (813) 321-7323 or reading more below.

Reducing Impaired Driving Recidivism

If you have been arrested for a drug-related DUI, you may qualify for the Reducing Impaired Driving Recidivism (RIDR) program.

Here are some facts about sanction level 3 RIDR participation:

  • You will have to attend a MADD Victim Impact Panel
  • You will have to perform 185 hours of community service
  • You will have to install an ignition interlock device for 9 months
  • You will be on probation for 12 months
  • You will have to use a PharmCheck Drugs of Abuse Patch for 3 months
  • You will need to complete DUI school

However, if you complete the RIDR program, your DUID will be reduced to a reckless driving charge.

This type of charge will not require you to report your DUID to any future employers.

Experienced DUID Lawyers in Tampa, Florida

Thomas & Paulk will discover if your rights were violated during the arrest process. Our attorneys will use their extensive knowledge of criminal law to ask the right questions, challenging any evidence that might endanger your future. We know that cases involving drugs and DUI can be complex, but they do not need to affect your future. We have years of experience and will apply them to your defense.

Everything begins with a free consultation. A Tampa DUID attorney can explain your legal options, what your best choices are, and how we can maximize the chance of your charges getting dismissed. With thousands of cases successfully handled, we’re the proven advocates everyone wants in their corner. Speak with us today to give yourself the strongest possible chance of success.

If you have been charged with a DUID, call our Tampa criminal defense lawyers at (813) 321-7323.

Qualifications for this program include:

  • Your DUID is a first offense for any type of DUI
  • Your DUID did not end in personal injury, death, or property damage
  • There were no minors in your car when the DUID occurred
  • Your record includes no felonies in the past five years
  • No prior reckless driving or vehicular homicide incidents

If you meet this set of qualifications, you may be able to enroll in the RIDR program.

Our Videos

Drunk Driving

Drunk driving cases may or many not require a formal trial. We discuss what most can expect in terms of the process and duration of their DUI case.

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Our Victories

  • All Charges Dropped DUI
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  • Dropped to Reckless Driving Second DUI
  • Dropped to Reckless Driving DUI, BAC Over 0.15
  • Dropped to Reckless Driving DUI
  • No Criminal Conviction DUI and Obstructing or Opposing an Officer
  • Dropped to Reckless Driving DUI
  • Dropped to Reckless Driving Second DUI
  • All Charges Dropped DUI
  • Dropped to Reckless Driving DUI

DUI Defense in Florida

At Thomas & Paulk, one of our primary focuses is on the defense of DUI charges. In fact, we are recognized throughout the Tampa area as one of the premier DUI defense law firms. Our team is well-versed in this area of the law and has a wide-expanse of experience in helping our clients fight against such charges.

It doesn’t matter if this is your first offense or your third, you can count on our firm to have the experience to protect your legal rights. Often, our defense starts with recounting with you how the police officer came to stop you in the first place and how he or she came to believe you may be under the influence of alcohol. If the stop was illegal, or the tests were improperly administered, we may be able to argue for the dismissal of that evidence in court, helping your chances of a dropped charge.

The important thing is that you act quickly. Criminal cases involving charges of drinking and driving are serious and they can move fast. You cannot afford to wait or ignore your charges. You need a legal professional on your side who truly understands what you're facing so that they can offer you experience counsel and sound advice. To learn more about how a lawyer like this can assist with your case, we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible. Call our Tampa DUI defense attorneys at Thomas & Paulk today to schedule an initial consultation. This is a completely free, confidential appointment for you to tell us your side of the story.

  • If you're arrested for DUI, you only have 10 days to schedule a DMV hearing where you can fight to save your license.
  • A blood alcohol reading of 0.15% or more can warrant an aggravated DUI charge with harsher penalties.
  • Each year, Hillsborough County issues around 4,000 DUI citations. Out of these, more than 3,000 are found guilty.
  • Per Florida's zero-tolerance policy, anyone under the age of 21 who tests positive for any measurable blood alcohol can be charged with DUI.