A DUI can be a transformative experience, altering your life in some very profound ways. Perhaps you didn’t realize that you’d had too much to drink. Or maybe you’re one of the many drivers who has been penalized for driving after taking a prescription medication. There are many different scenarios that can result in a DUI arrest, leaving you feeling frightened, embarrassed and uncertain about the future.
But this is where a defense attorney with the Law Offices of Hutchinson & Huffman can assist. Our criminal defense lawyers offer legal advice and represent clients who are facing DUI charges in Florida. We work with clients throughout Palm Beach County, West Palm Beach County, Martin County and the surrounding region.
Founded by two well-known criminal defense lawyers with over a half century of combined experience, our law firm is committed to protecting you, your interests, and most importantly your freedom. We’re not afraid to challenge the prosecutors, putting up a strategic defense that will maximize your chances of seeing a positive outcome to your case. A positive outcome can take many different forms. For some, a case dismissal or acquittal may be possible, while in others, we may be able to secure probation instead of jail time or another reduced penalty.
Getting arrested for driving under the influence can be an embarrassing and stressful experience. And a DUI conviction can impact you for a lifetime, as it will appear on your criminal record (which may be referenced when getting a job or even renting an apartment). But when you hire a powerful DUI lawyer with the Law Offices of Hutchinson & Huffman, you can proceed through the legal process with confidence knowing that you are represented by one of the most well-regarded criminal defense attorneys in the region.
If you or a loved one was arrested for driving under the influence, contact the Law Offices of Hutchinson & Huffman. Arrange a confidential, no-cost consultation session by calling (561) 838-9793.
Common Concerns Following a DUI or Drunk Driving Arrest in Florida
Defense lawyers receive lots of questions from current and prospective clients, as many have never been involved with the legal system before. In fact, many people who are arrested for DUI are good, law abiding citizens.
The following is an overview of a few of the most common concerns that we address with clients who are facing DUI charges.
Is DUI a Traffic Offense or a Criminal Offense? A Misdemeanor or a Felony?
In Florida, driving under the influence is a criminal charge, and as such, the matter is handled by the courts. Notably, though, in addition to the criminal penalties, there are also administrative penalties. For instance, the Department of Motor Vehicles will typically be involved when it comes to the status of your driver’s license.
A DUI can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. A first or second offense is usually charged as a misdemeanor, while a driver’s third DUI within ten years may be charged as a felony. A fourth DUI (or any DUI subsequent to this) is typically charged as a felony, regardless of timeframe.
A driver may be subject to more serious charges (and penalties) in some circumstances, such as a case involving a minor passenger or an incident involving allegations of extreme negligence, especially if that negligence resulted in the injury or death of another party.
Will I Lose My License Following a DUI?
In Florida, a DUI does typically carry a license suspension or revocation. The timeframe can range from 180 days to one year for a first offense or as long as five years in the case of a fourth offense.
Drivers under the age of 21 are typically subject to an automatic suspension of six months following a DUI conviction.
Florida does offer a restricted driver’s license or hardship license, which can be used for limited travel, such as driving to and from your place of employment. This hardship license is available to many drivers, although some repeat offenders with multiple DUIs may not be eligible. In cases where a hardship license is granted, it is not uncommon for the driver to be required to meet special requirements, such as securing FR-44 insurance and installing an ignition interlock device (IID). An IID is used to administer breath tests to the driver when starting the vehicle and periodically while driving.
It’s natural to be concerned about your ability (or inability) to drive, but this is one area where you can benefit from working with our DUI defense lawyers. We can help restore and maintain a client’s driving privileges in many cases.
I Was Arrested for DUI After Taking a Prescription Medication. How Can This Happen?
While most think of drunk driving when they hear of a DUI arrest, there are some cases where a driver may be arrested for DUI after taking a prescription drug, even in cases where the medication was taken in a manner consistent with the doctor’s orders. Unfortunately, many seniors are targeted for this type of arrest.
It is possible to be arrested while under the influence of any substance that impairs your ability to operate a vehicle. A DUI case involving a prescription medication requires an experienced defense lawyer who can present a compelling argument as they defend your case.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a DUI Defense Lawyer?
The cost to hire a DUI attorney will vary depending upon the exact nature of your case. Some cases are fairly straightforward, while others are very complex, ending in a trial.
Due to the large degree of variance, it’s difficult to come up with an accurate average figure. Therefore, we recommend that you contact our law firm to discuss your case in a free initial consultation. Once we’re familiar with the details of your case, our lawyers can offer a more accurate idea of expense.
Is a DUI in Palm Beach County a felony or misdemeanor?
It is usually a misdemeanor unless you have three prior convictions for DUI, then it can be charged as a felony. Additionally, anytime someone receives serious injuries as a result of your DUI, it will be charged as a felony.
Are DUI checkpoints legal in West Palm Beach?
Yes, but they have to comply with strict constitutional guidelines and they cannot be arbitrary or random. Checkpoints must have a stated goal, and all vehicles must be treated the same. Also, notice of the checkpoint is usually required before a checkpoint goes into effect.
Can you get a DUI even if you don’t have a driver’s license?
Of course, as long as you are behind the wheel and impaired. Driver’s license status is irrelevant.
What are the consequences of a DUI conviction in West Palm Beach?
There are many: Loss of driving privileges or restrictive driving privileges; criminal conviction; jail time; probation; insurance rate hikes; no consumption of alcohol for a year; breathalyzer type monitor attached to you or your vehicle, fines and court costs.
Is it possible to get a DUI for drugs?
Yes, they are the same as alcohol. DUI stands for driving impaired. Impairment can be can be caused by alcohol, drugs or a combination.
How exactly does a field sobriety test work?
They are tests that determine your physical and mental faculties. They will ask to walk in a straight, touch heel to toe and count at the same time. You will be required to recite the alphabet standing straight with your head back. They are tough to do without being impaired. Like anything else the more you practice, the better you will be.
Is it required by law to take a field sobriety test?
No, the Officer will tell you are required, but you are not. You have an absolute right not to do it. Your refusal will be used against you. Remember all roadsides are being videotaped.
Trust Your DUI Defense to a Top West Palm Beach Lawyer
A DUI arrest can be embarrassing, scary, stressful and life-changing. You may be worried about how you’ll get to work to earn an income or how you’ll get to the store to purchase groceries. Many rely on their driver’s license to survive, making a DUI arrest all the more serious.
At the Law Offices of Hutchinson & Huffman, we work with clients from all walks of life. Our goal is to protect you and your interests, minimizing the adverse impact on you and your loved ones. Whether it’s your first arrest or a subsequent arrest, our DUI defense lawyers will work defending you and your interests. We strive to bring about the best possible outcome for each client, so you can place yourself in a position to move past this difficult experience. Our team can also offer referrals to a treatment center if you’re struggling with an alcohol abuse issue.
Our lawyers also help you find justice by defending you in cases involving another type of crime. Our practice areas include white collar and theft crimes, violent crimes, sex offenses, drug crimes and beyond.
If you or a loved one have been arrested for a DUI, contact the Palm Beach DUI lawyers with the Law Offices of Hutchinson & Huffman. Arrange a confidential, free consultation by calling (561) 838-9793.
I was referred to Rick as I needed help with some potential legal issues. With his guidance I was able to walk through everything and remove myself from the negative situation at hand with no legal problems. I have since worked with both Rick and his partner Kent on many business and personal legal issues and all have been a success. Very glad I was referred and wouldn't hesitate to refer a friend or associate who is in need of solid legal counsel.