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The Law Office of Jerry Jenkins

Labor Day Weekend 2015 and DUI in Florida

As we celebrate the working people's contribution to the country and the end of summer, as with most holidays, law enforcement will have increased patrol units trying to keep the roads safe. There are many common ways that the cops will use to detect and enforce drunk driving laws. For example, the Metropolitan areas have and will continue to use multi-agency patrols to detect and target drivers suspected of DUI. These patrols are usually in high traffic areas. Another tactic that the police use are DUI Roadblocks. The roadblock is designed to stop vehicles to check driver's licenses, insurance and registrations. The cops make sure to use their eyes and take a big sniff to see if they can see or smell any alcohol or drugs. The police are also patrolling the waterways, did you know there is a specific law against boating under the influence?

Please be responsible. The best way to avoid a DUI is to not drive. Therefore, while out celebrating please designate a driver or use one of the many services to keep from being subjected to an arrest. If you are pulled over and the officer believes you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, there is nothing you can do or say that will help you. They have a Zero Tolerance policy and they need to make an arrest to place that number in the news to show the public that they are out doing something. If that unfortunate event does happen, you do have rights. There are defenses to DUI and possible challenges to the breath test and sobriety exercises. DUIs can have serious punishments and depending on the particular case it could include prison time.

In Florida, you only have 10 days to challenge your administrative driver's license suspension. You need to contact me as soon as possible to work on your case.

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Breathalyzer Tests and DUI in Florida

What is a breathalyzer?

Breathalyzer tests have become a standard way that officers measure the blood-alcohol level of a suspect. While the traditional tests are still used alongside a breathalyzer, the breathalyzer results are going to be one of the strongest pieces of evidence against you when evaluating your DUI case. Let’s start covering how you can possibly fight this by exploring how these results are even determined.

A breathlyzer’s goal is to determine the amount of alcohol in your blood stream. For obvious reasons, it is impractical to draw and test blood at a traffic stop, which would give the most direct results. However, breathalyzer technology actually measures the concentration of alcohol in the alveolar air and uses this figure to determine the concentration in a suspect’s blood stream. As the alcohol you’ve consumed passes through the lungs, some is evaporated into the air sacs (alveoli) and this is referred to as alveolar air, and has a direct correlation with the blood-alcohol level.

How does a breathalyzer work?

There are 3 main types of breathalyzers that are used, and each will measure the amount of alcohol present in different ways. There is the standard breathalyzer, the intoxilyzer, and the alcosensor. The breathalyzer and alcosensor rely on chemical reactions to make a determination, whereas the intoxylizer uses infrared light. Most areas in Florida will use the intoxylizer to administer breathalyzer tests. Generally speaking, all three are accepted as standard breathalyzer devices and are recognized as reliable. However, the smaller devices that are used at traffic stops need to be calibrated and administered in certain ways, and often times courts will reject these occurrences as evidence. Instead, because of the multiple ways an officer can incorrectly administer a test at a traffic stop, a more reliable breathalyzer is often used at the jail, and the results of this are thought to be far more trustworthy when determining a conviction.

Can you beat DUI if your breathalyzer test showed elevated alcohol levels?

There are ways to invalidate a DUI offense that most people haven’t considered. Was there a legal reason the officer stopped you? Did the testing procedure follow Federal guidelines? Do you have a medical condition that might cause a false reading? Was the breathalyzer equipment used functioning properly? Was the test analyzed properly? Cases have been overturned through exposing errors in record keeping or the computer programs which run breathalyzer tests. Cultivating this kind of defense can be tricky and confusing for many people, so we always recommend discussing your case with a certified attorney. A skilled defense attorney might even subpoena the maintenance & calibration records of the device used, if applicable to your unique situation.

To discuss your case and the possibility of dismissal, contact attorney Jerry Jenkins and fill out a free case evaluation request, or visit our Orlando DUI page for more information on DUI Cases.

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DUI Penalties in Orlando and Florida

Orlando DUI Attorney Jerry Jenkins

A DUI in the State of Florida is defined as an offense in which the operator of a motor vehicle has a blood alcohol level greater than or equal to .08. The manner in which the offense is proven may vary, but once convicted, offenders are subject to the same penalties.

First Time DUI Offenders

A 1st conviction results in the impoundment or immobilization of the vehicle. The exception, being if the defendant's family has no other means of transportation. The impoundment or immobilization shall not occur at the same time as incarceration. If the vehicle is operated solely by the employees of the defendant or by a business owned by the defendant, the court may dismiss the order of impoundment.

Additionally, the drivers license of the offender will be revoked for a minimum period of 180 days and a maximum of 1 year.

The minimum fine imposed is $500 and the the maximum, $1000. For offenders whose blood alcohol level is equal to or greater than .15, a minimum fine of $1000 is imposed and the fine should not exceed $2,000. In addition to the fine, offenders receive 50 hours of mandatory community service or an additional fine of $10 for each hour of service required.

The total period of incarceration or probation for first time offenders shall not exceed 1 year. The sentence can be served at a residential alcohol and drug abuse treatment program at the discretion of the court. This is credited towards the term of imprisonment. For offenders with no prior convictions and a blood alcohol level less than .15, imprisonment shall last no longer than 6 months. Offenders with no prior convictions whose blood alcohol exceeds .15 or had a minor in the vehicle at the time of the offense, imprisonment shall not exceed a period of 9 months.

Second DUI Conviction

If the Second Conviction is within 5 years of the first, the drivers vehicle shall be impounded for a period of 30 days. The person may be imprisoned for up to 9 months and if their blood alcohol level was greater than .15 or they had a minor in the vehicle, no more than 12 months. Regardless, a second conviction within 5 years of the first results in mandatory imprisonment for 10 days in which 2 days of the imprisonment must be served consecutively. As with first time offenders, the court has the discretion to credit time at an abuse treatment program towards time served. Additionally, a conviction within 5 years of the first the license of the offender is revoked for a minimum of 5 years with possible eligibility for hardship reinstatement after 1 calendar year. Fines for 2nd Convictions are as follows: minimum of $1,000 and maximum of $2,000 . If blood alcohol level exceeded .15 or a minor was in vehicle, the minimum and maximum fines are doubled to $2,000 and $4,000 respectively.

Third DUI Conviction

If the Third Conviction is within 10 years of the second, the drivers vehicle shall be impounded for a period of 90 days. The driver is also charged with a Felony DUI. As with 1st and 2nd Convictions, impounded must not occur simultaneously with incarceration, in which a mandatory imprisonment of 30 days is served, with 2 days of consecutive time served. Additionally, the license of the offender is revoked for a minimum of 10 years, with the eligibility for hardship reinstatement after 2 years. If the conviction was more than 10 years after the previous conviction, imprisonment shall not last more than 12 months. The fines for 3rd convictions more than 10 years from the 2nd conviction are no less than $2,000 and no more than $5,000. If the blood alcohol level was greater than .15 or a minor was in the vehicle at the time of the offense, a minimum fine of $4,000 is imposed.

Fourth and Subsequent DUI Convictions

Offenders are categorized by the State of Florida as habitual/violent offenders and the penalties are significantly steeper, with the mandatory permanent revocation of the license and the possibility of up to 5 years of incarceration.

Additional Charges

There a number of circumstances in which additional charges are brought upon the offender, for which additional punishment is probable. Cases involving accidents that result in property damage, bodily injury or death, carry stiffer penalties. Offenders being charged with vehicular homicide or manslaughter can be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison and 30 years in prison if they left the scene of the accident. The fines under these conditions shall not exceed $10,000.

Summing it Up

DUI Penalties are dependent on a number of conditions including but not limited to:
  • The record of the driver
  • Whether any other crimes were committed in the process
  • The blood alcohol level of the driver
  • Compliance with hardship reinstatement policies (ie: Fines,Alcohol Programs, Interlock Device)
  • The presence of a minor in the vehicle
  • The age of the Driver: Were they of legal drinking age?
DUI offenses are time consuming and require immediate action. Contact The Law Office Of Jerry Jenkins for a case evaluation. Mr. Jenkins has extensive experience handling DUI cases and can represent you throughout the process.

How can The Law Office of Jerry Jenkins help with your DUI Case? Jerry Jenkins is an experienced DUI Trial Lawyer and former Military Policeman. Visit our DUI page for more information: http://www.jjlawoffice.com/practice-areas/driving-under-the-influence

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