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Fort Lauderdale DUI Defense Attorneys

Fort Lauderdale DUI Defense AttorneysTens of thousands of people are arrested each year in Florida on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI). Both residents and tourists enjoy relaxing on the water or experiencing the many restaurants and bars the area has to offer. Unfortunately, this can result in people deciding to drive home after having too much to drink.

If you’ve been accused of DUI in South Florida, you should not wait to contact a highly skilled Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney. Timing is extremely important in these cases, so please call Meldon Law to discuss how we can protect your rights today.

Protecting the Rights of Individuals Accused of Drunk Driving

Law enforcement officers and prosecutors in and around Fort Lauderdale take drunk driving very seriously. Anyone suspected of drunk driving will likely be immediately arrested and charged with a serious criminal offense. When your future is on the line, it’s time to reach out to our Florida legal professionals who understand how to craft a strong defense.

DUI Defense in Fort Lauderdale: What You Need to Know if You’re Arrested

How Florida DUI Laws Can Affect Your Future

Unlike some states, Florida law does not treat driving under the influence of alcohol as a traffic offense, but instead, the law makes DUI a criminal offense with potentially serious consequences.

Losing your license and having a criminal record can affect many aspects of your life, including your job, educational opportunities, and even where you live.

To convict you of DUI, the prosecutor must prove that you were in physical control of a vehicle while:

  • Your faculties were impaired by alcohol, or
  • Your blood alcohol content (BAC) was 0.08 percent or higher

The legal limit for underage drivers is 0.02 percent and the limit for drivers of commercial vehicles is 0.04 percent.

Even if a chemical test shows that you are under the legal limit, an officer can still arrest you if they claim they have probable cause to believe you were impaired.

Prosecutors can present evidence including an officer’s observations of intoxication or your performance on field sobriety tests to prove such impairment without a BAC reading over 0.08. For this reason, even if a test showed you were under the legal limit, you could still be convicted and should always take your case very seriously.

At Meldon Law, we can assist in DUI cases whether or not they involve breath or blood test results over 0.08. We will build an individual defense strategy based on the evidence against you and the circumstances of your case. The sooner you call, the sooner we can begin protecting your rights.

Meldon Team

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(Consultations are Free)

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Possible Penalties for a DUI in Fort Lauderdale

There are many possible penalties for a DUI conviction in Florida, both imposed by the criminal court and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

  • The court can issue a sentence for probation, fines, or even jail time, as well as other requirements such as drunk driving education classes or community service.
  • The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles can suspend or revoke your driver’s license for a certain period of time.
  • You may also be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle for reinstatement under certain circumstances.

Possible Penalties for a First DUI Offense

The specific penalties you face will depend on whether you are accused of causing bodily injury while drunk driving and whether you have prior DUI convictions within a certain period of time. The following are possible penalties for a first DUI conviction in Broward County:

  • Misdemeanor conviction on your permanent record
  • Fines between $500 and $1,000
  • Up to six months in jail
  • Driver’s license suspension from 180 days to one year

Possible Penalties if You Refuse a Breathalyzer Test

If you refused to submit a breath sample when requested by a police officer, you can have your license suspended for one year under Florida’s implied consent laws.

Our Florida DUI Criminal Defense Lawyer Case Results

If you have been charged with DUI in Fort Lauderdale, you probably have many questions about your future and what might happen next. Keep in mind that being arrested for DUI and being convicted are two very different things, and a conviction is not inevitable. These are some of the outcomes that we were able to secure for our clients who were arrested for DUI in Florida:

  • Our client was charged with DUI after a single-vehicle crash. After noting an evidence suppression issue, we were able to get the charges reduced to reckless driving.
  • Our client was charged with DUI, and we found multiple issues with the officer’s DUI investigation. We were able to get the charges reduced to dry reckless.
  • Our client was charged with DUI, and we noticed there were issues with the investigation that led to the suppression of evidence. We were able to get the charges reduced to reckless driving with alcohol.
  • Our client was charged with DUI, and we noticed multiple issues with the officer’s investigation. We were able to get the charges reduced to reckless driving.
  • Our client had a DUI license suspension. After challenging the basis of the driver’s license suspension, we were able to have it invalidated.

The results we obtained in these cases were specific to each client’s unique circumstances. You may not obtain the same results, but you can be confident that we will fight for you, and we won’t back down.

When a DUI Will Be Charged as a Felony in Florida

DUI-related charges are not always misdemeanors, as the following will likely be charged as felony offenses with significantly escalated penalties:

  • Third DUI within a ten-year lookback period (third-degree felony)
  • Fourth or subsequent DUI within any timeframe (third-degree felony)
  • Your DUI involved an accident that caused serious bodily injury (third-degree felony)
  • Your DUI involved a fatal accident, which constitutes DUI manslaughter (either a second-degree or first-degree felony)

Such felony convictions can result in years of imprisonment. No matter what type of DUI charges you are facing, you need qualified legal representation from Florida DUI arrest attorneys to limit the consequences that you face.

Types of DUI Cases Our Lawyers in Fort Lauderdale Represent

Meldon Team

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DUI Defense Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale FAQs

How Much Does a DUI Lawyer Cost in Florida?

A DUI lawyer typically costs $2,000-$5,000 in Florida depending on experience level and case complexity. Public defenders are free for those who qualify. During your initial consultation, we will explain our fee schedule to you before you agree to have us represent your case.

Should You Get a Lawyer for a DUI in Florida?

There is no law that says you must have an attorney, but the assistance of a DUI lawyer when you are facing such serious charges could be of great value to you. Having a DUI attorney is advised to navigate court processes, negotiate with the prosecution, and develop a strong defense to potentially get charges reduced or dismissed.

How Can You Beat a DUI in Florida?

An experienced criminal defense attorney can beat a DUI by challenging the traffic stop, discrediting field sobriety tests, contesting blood alcohol test results, identifying procedural errors, developing reasonable doubt, negotiating reductions, or seeking diversions.

How Much Does the Average DUI Cost in Florida?

The average cost of a first offense DUI in Florida including fines, fees, insurance increases, and other costs could total $20,000 or more over several years. If your license is suspended or revoked, you will also need to pay for alternative transportation until or unless it’s reinstated.

How Many DUI Cases Get Dismissed in Florida?

Statistics indicate roughly one third of DUI cases get dismissed or reduced to lesser charges in Florida when defendants actively fight the charges. A DUI lawyer can fight to have your DUI dismissed.

What You Can Expect in Criminal Court After a DUI Arrest

Here’s what you can generally expect to happen in criminal court following a DUI arrest in Fort Lauderdale:

  • Bail hearing: This initial proceeding sets bail terms for release from jail until trial.
  • Arraignment: At arraignment, formal charges are presented and a plea of either guilty, not guilty, or no contest is entered (often this is “not guilty” early on). You may not be required to attend your arraignment if you have a DUI defense lawyer.
  • Demand for discovery: This is a file your criminal defense lawyer will request that shows the evidence the state plans to use against you. This can include video, photographs, and the results of breathalyzer tests.
  • Pretrial hearings: Pretrial conferences and motion hearings may address legal issues like potential plea bargains, evidence suppression motions, etc.
  • Plea bargaining: Discussing potential plea bargains with the prosecution often happens at various points.
  • Trial: If no plea agreement is reached, the case proceeds to a bench or jury trial where evidence is presented and guilt is determined.
  • Sentencing: If found guilty at trial, sentencing will occur at a later hearing where penalties like jail time, fines, and license suspension will be handed down.
  • Appeal: Convicted defendants can appeal the verdict and/or sentencing if legal errors were made during the case.

Hiring Fort Lauderdale DUI defense attorneys can be beneficial for navigating this complex process, evaluating options, building defense strategies, negotiating deals, guiding you through hearings and trial, and minimizing penalties if convicted. Don’t go it alone.

Florida’s DUI Schedule: First and Subsequent Charges

Florida Statutes § 316.193 outlines fines for DUI convictions based on the number of offenses and aggravating factors. Fines increase progressively for repeat DUIs within 10 years.

  • For a first DUI conviction, the fine is $500 to $1,000. But it jumps to $1,000 to $2,000 if blood alcohol was .15+ or a minor was present.
  • A second offense within 10 years raises fines to $1,000 to $2,000 normally, or $2,000 to $4,000 if blood alcohol was very elevated or a child was in the vehicle.
  • Three convictions within 10 years leads to fines starting at $2,000 to $5,000, or at least $4,000 with high blood alcohol or a minor present.
  • Beyond a third DUI after 10 years, fines still begin at $2,000 to $5,000. The minimum rises to $4,000 for very high intoxication or endangering a child.
  • All fourth or subsequent convictions come with a minimum $2,000 fine, jumping to $4,000 for aggravated DUI offenses.

The Florida DUI statute outlines steep monetary consequences that escalate sharply for repeat offenses, especially those involving excessive intoxication or danger to minors.

DUI Arrest Resources for Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Courthouse Locations for Broward County

  • Judicial Complex: 201 SE 6th Street, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301
  • North Regional Courthouse: 1600 West Hillsboro Blvd., Deerfield Beach, FL 33442
  • West Regional Courthouse: 100 N Pine Island Road, Plantation, FL 33324
  • South Regional Courthouse: 3550 Hollywood Blvd. Hollywood, FL 33021

Meldon Team

We are here for you 24/7

(Consultations are Free)

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Bureau of Administrative Review

3718-3 W. Oakland Blvd. Lauderdale Lakes, FL 33311

Defending You Against Drunk Driving Charges in Fort Lauderdale

Just because you’ve been charged with DUI does not mean that a conviction and harsh penalties are inevitable. Our legal team has many ways to defend against DUI charges to have your charges reduced or dismissed altogether. Only some examples of the many defense strategies in Florida DUI cases include:

  • Challenging the legality of your traffic stop or arrest
  • Challenging the accuracy of chemical tests
  • Identifying when there were problems with field sobriety testing
  • Challenging the testimony of the arresting officer
  • Providing another explanation why you may have seemed impaired, such as fatigue or illness

In addition, our attorneys know how to negotiate with Fort Lauderdale prosecutors to reach a plea bargain. This can result in a lesser charge, known as a “wet reckless,” or lesser penalties for a guilty plea. We explore every possible option to obtain the most favorable result we can for each and every client facing DUI allegations.

Find Out How a Fort Lauderdale DUI Defense Attorney Can Help You

At Meldon Law, we have represented many people in the Fort Lauderdale area in DUI cases. While a DUI arrest may disrupt an enjoyable evening in Fort Lauderdale, we work to minimize the long-term effects that a DUI case may have on your life.

Our DUI criminal defense lawyers in Fort Lauderdale are thoroughly familiar with the criminal justice system in Florida, and we are here to assist you with both the criminal and administrative aspects of your case. Contact us online or call (352) 373-8000 to discuss your situation for free today.

  • We wrote the DUI Guide Book for South Florida, Ways to Possibly Avoid A DUI Charge or Conviction. Request your free copy today. Written by experienced DUI defense criminal trial attorneys, the book gives insight into what a DUI charge is, what it takes to be over the legal limit, how the State can prove the charge, and possible legal defenses.


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