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.


What is BAC?

BAC is short for blood alcohol content. Blood alcohol content is the amount alcohol found in a person’s blood after consuming alcohol. In the state of Florida, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle if BAC levels are more than 0.08%. If an individual is under the age of 21, they cannot have a BAC level higher than 0.01%. If a person is caught driving with a BAC level above or exceeding the legal limit, then they will be arrested and charged with DUI.

Can I refuse a breathalyzer test?

Yes, you can. However, if you refuse to take a breathalyzer test and are later convicted of DUI, you could lose your license for one year and may be subjected to harsher legal punishment. However, there are some advantages to refusing the test. If you take the breathalyzer and fail, your license will be suspended, andthere is now more evidence to use against you in court.

By declining the test, it will be harder for the prosecution to prove your BAC limit was above 0.08%. It is important to remember that refusing a blood test could have negative repercussions if your DUI charges are upheld.

Are field sobriety tests and breathalyzers accurate?

No, field sobriety tests are not. Many attorneys use the argument that these tests are not 100% accurate as a defense tactic to fight charges. Also, many attorneys assert that these tests are subjective and designed for failure. Multiple extenuating circumstances could cause a scared, sick, or disabled driver to appear intoxicated, even if they are sober. Furthermore, breath tests are not foolproof. Several factors can cause the machine to give inaccurate readings, such as malfunctions, radio frequency interference, or unqualified or inexperienced use of the machine.

If I get arrested, will I lose my driver’s license?

Yes, you will. As soon as you are arrested for DUI, your license will automatically be suspended for six months, and you will be issued a temporary permit for 10 days. You have ten days from the date of your arrest to schedule a hearing with the Florida DMV. At this hearing, you and your attorney will have the opportunity to challenge your driving suspension and win back your driving privileges. At the hearing, a representative will evaluate testimony, facts, and evidence to determine whether your driving privileges will remain suspended or be reinstated.

If I my driver’s license gets suspended, how will I get to work?

If your driver’s license has been suspended you may be able to obtain a hardship license, which typically permits you to drive to work, school, medical appointments, and other necessary errands. Before granting a hardship license, the judge will consider the circumstances surrounding your case and if you have any prior DUI charges or other convictions. If this is your first offense, you most likely will be granted a hardship license. However, if you get caught driving outside the limitations of your hardship license, then you will face much harsher penalties.

What other penalties do I face if I’m convicted?

You could face a variety of other penalties for DUI, including steep monetary fines, probation, community service, mandatory alcohol treatment programs, rehabilitation, restitution, time in prison, and a mark on your permanent record. Your vehicle may also be impounded, and you may be required to get an ignition interlock device installed in your car. Furthermore, many people with DUI convictions are also subjected to social ostracism, limited future opportunities, damaged reputations, strained personal relationships, and loss of community. If you are convicted of DUI, an experienced attorney can negotiate with judges and prosecutors to try and lessen or reduce these penalties.

What is an ignition interlock device?

An ignition interlock device is essentially a breathalyzer installed in the dashboard of a car. Before your car turns on, you must breathe into the device. If the amount of alcohol on your breath exceeds the legal limit, the engine will not start. Furthermore, once you start driving, you will randomly be required to provide additional breath samples to make sure there is still no alcohol in your system. If you fail to provide a breath sample or your BAC is above the legal limit, an alarm will go off until the ignition is turned off. Also, the device keeps a log of its activity. This log is printed out at specified intervals, during which authorities may review it. If any violations are detected, you will face additional penalties.

Will I go to jail for a DUI?

Possibly. For a first-time DUI offense, you will probably NOT go to jail unless you caused an accident that resulted in the injury or death of another person. Most people who serve time in jail for DUI are repeat offenders with multiple convictions.

If you have more questions regarding your DUI charges, call the attorneys at Thomas & Paulk today at (813) 321-7323.

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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.