Florida DUI Attorney
Protect Yourself. Fight the Charges. Call a Florida DUI Lawyer!
Getting a DUI is one of those life-changing events that strike without warning. Maybe you were on your way home from a dinner with friends, or from a company party. Whatever the context, one moment you were minding your own business, and in the next moment you were in handcuffs being read your rights.
It doesn’t end there; DUI proceedings can take months, involve multiple stages, and could leave you stranded without a car in the meantime. The only way to handle your DUI charges successfully is to speak with a Florida DUI lawyer. Thomas & Paulk, P.A. is one of Florida’s premier DUI defense law firms. Our two-man firm has handled more than 7,000 criminal cases in Tampa and throughout the state. We’ve helped countless people avoid jail time, reduce their charges, or get their cases dismissed.
Our Florida DUI defense firm:
- Has tried hundreds of cases
- Is available 24 hours a day
- Has experience as prosecutors and defenders
- Offers free, confidential consultations
If you want to know how to fight your charges, call our Florida DUI attorneys at (813) 321-7323!
The Impact of Getting a DUI Conviction in Florida
Without an attorney protecting your rights, it is far more likely that you’ll end up convicted. Even if it’s your first DUI offense, don’t be fooled—a DUI conviction can have massive consequences. Even if the prosecutor offers you a plea deal, that’s still a conviction; always consult with an attorney before taking any deal. Avoiding a conviction should be your number one priority.
Here’s what you may be facing if you’re convicted:
- Potential deportation: Green card holders may lose their privileges if they’re convicted. Drug-related DUI or felony DUI can both result in removal proceedings, i.e. deportation.
- Difficulty with international travel: Looking forward to a trip outside the states? Other countries may not admit you if you have a DUI conviction on your record.
- Keeping a job: Florida is an at-will employment state; if your boss wants to fire you for getting a DUI, they’re legally able to do so.
- Finding a career: Some professional licenses are impossible to acquire for people with criminal convictions on their record. If you had career plans, a DUI could impede you forever.
- Getting an education: Some colleges have admission policies that make it difficult for even the best students to get in if they have a criminal conviction.
- Parenting your kids: Multiple DUI offenses or a single drug DUI can rob you of parental custody. Even if this is your first DUI, family law judges have broad discretion to assign custody as they see fit.
- Getting a loan: The financial cost of a DUI (fines, DUI school fees, installation of an Ignition Interlock Device) can cause your credit usage to rise, ultimately affecting your credit score. Failure to pay a court-ordered fine would also damage your credit.
These are on top of the normal DUI penalties you'd face as a result of conviction.
Little-Known Facts About Florida DUI
If you’ve never been arrested before, your understanding of Florida law is likely filled with misconceptions from TV or movies. Florida law is filled with rules and regulations that most people have never heard before. Our Florida DUI lawyers want to clear up some misconceptions about getting arrested and charged, and what you can expect.
Here's what people get wrong about Florida DUI law:
- Refusing to take a chemical DUI test is a crime: If you have a Florida driving license, you’ve implicitly consented to taking a chemical DUI test when asked. Refusal to take a DUI test is a misdemeanor, which means even if you’re found not guilty of DUI, your license will still be suspended.
- You can get a DUI without actually driving: In Florida, drunk drivers are forbidden from having “actual physical control” of any vehicle. Even if you’re pulled over, asleep in the backseat, or don’t have the keys in your pocket, you’re vulnerable to being arrested for DUI.
- You don’t need to blow a .08 to get a DUI: Even if you’re under the legal BAC, an officer can arrest you if you have consumed any alcohol or drugs and you appear to be impaired. It’s the officer’s word against yours, which is why it’s vital to get a good lawyer.
- Most people can’t get a public defender: If your personal property exceeds just $2,500 in value, you won’t qualify for a public defender. That means most people have a choice: hire a lawyer of their own, or face the prosecutor unprotected.
Now that you understand our DUI laws a little better, you might see why we believe hiring an attorney is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make.
How a High-Quality Florida DUI Attorney Makes a Difference
While the law is the same for everyone, how the law is practiced depends on who’s representing you. The skill, experience, and relationships your attorney has built over their career could mean the difference between a year in jail or a clean record and a few weeks of DUI school. Is being able to drive yourself around or sleep in your own bed worth hiring the best attorney possible? That’s up to you; for us, it’s an easy choice.
So how do you know if an attorney is worth the time or money? What you’re looking for is more than just book learning; you’re looking for real experience. Has your attorney handled DUI cases before? What’s their track record? What can you expect from them?
People turn to Thomas & Paulk because we’ve handled thousands of cases before, including hundreds of jury and non-jury trials. Hundreds of our cases involved DUI charges, which means we know what it takes to get our clients the outcomes they’re looking for. Attorneys Jeff Paulk and Jeff Thomas have advocated from both sides of the courtroom, as prosecutors and as defenders. Our ability to prepare and try cases isn’t theoretical; we’ve learned it from countless hours speaking to judges and juries alike.
Call (813) 321-7323 for a free and confidential consult. We look forward to discussing your options!
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.
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.