There’s a big difference between getting charged with a crime and getting convicted of a crime. If you’re facing DUI charges, you still have the chance to protect your freedom and clear your name. After a conviction, however, you could face an arduous process just to have your driving privileges restored––and that’s just the beginning.
Meldon Law advocates for DUI defendants in Alachua County. A Gainesville DUI lawyer from our team can fight for a “not guilty” verdict, even if this is your second- or third-time offense. We may also fight for a reduction in the charges you face, if that better suits your situation. To learn about securing our help, call (352) 373-8000.
How Our Lawyers Fight DUI Charges in Gainesville
Gainesville’s a college town. That means law enforcement officers are constantly on the prowl for intoxicated drivers––sometimes even confusing minor traffic infractions for drunk driving. We know this firsthand from the many DUI cases we’ve handled. To secure your freedom, we’ll look for inconsistencies in the police’s testimony to ensure they handled your arrest correctly. We can also search for other evidence to bolster your case.
When you partner with the team at Meldon Law, you get:
A Tailor-Made Defense Strategy
Our lawyers review every aspect of your case when creating a unique legal strategy. After reviewing your situation, we may assert to the prosecution that:
- There is no evidence to suggest you drove while intoxicated. The prosecution must have evidence that proves you drove while intoxicated beyond a reasonable doubt.
- Law enforcement incorrectly used a Breathalyzer or another field exam. Breathalyzers require a level of skill and training to effectively use. Without proper usage, these devices can yield false results.
- The police did not have probable cause to pull you over. The police can’t pull people over without reasonable suspicion. If the police can’t explain why they pulled you over, we could move to have your case dismissed.
We rely on our experience, insights, and resources when creating your defense.
Support From a Team With a History of Success
You’re not the first defendant we’ve protected from DUI charges in Gainesville. We’ve secured positive outcomes for countless cases, many that other lawyers turned down. Some of our previous case results include:
- Our client crashed their car into a power pole, prompting the police to investigate the scene. Our client refused two sobriety tests, both at the accident scene and at the police station. Through negotiations, we got the DUI charge reduced to reckless driving. We even got their traffic ticket dismissed.
- The police spotted our client driving the wrong way on a busy street. She refused two sobriety tests, despite the strong odor of alcohol coming from the vehicle. We got our client’s charges reduced and helped her avoid probation.
- In the beginning, it seemed as though the prosecution had an open-and-shut case. Our client was pulled over, admitted to drinking and driving, and blew well beyond the legal limit. Still, we negotiated a plea deal for reckless driving, helping our client retain her driver’s license.
Do the outcomes of these cases reflect your own? Not necessarily. Yet, we hope that by sharing these results, you feel confident about our team’s ability to manage your case.
Compassion and Understanding
People make mistakes. Perhaps you did drive while intoxicated. Or, maybe you made an improper traffic maneuver that made others question your sobriety. In either case, we want to support you. We believe that a single mistake shouldn’t jeopardize your future, ambitions, and driving ability.
You Can Expect Comprehensive Support From Our Gainesville DUI Lawyers
When prosecutors see that Meldon Law is representing someone, they know they’re in for a tough legal battle. We don’t take DUI charges lightly. We combat a conviction as though it involves one of our own children.
Here’s a rough outline of what you can expect from us:
We Listen to Your Story
We firmly believe in the doctrine: “Innocent until proven guilty.” No matter what the prosecution says, we want to hear your side of the story. Everything you share stays between us. So, if you confess to drinking while driving, we won’t broadcast that information to the judge and jury. Rather, we’ll fight for an outcome that promotes your future.
We Investigate the Circumstances of Your Arrest
The phrase “Nobody is Perfect” applies to the police as much as it does to anyone else. Mistakes and procedural errors are common in Gainesville DUI/DWI and criminal cases.
That’s where our team comes in. Our team of lawyers doubles as a team of investigators. We aim to uncover the details of your arrest, looking for any evidence that was improperly collected.
We Gather Evidence
After learning the details of your arrest, we start gathering evidence to supplement your defense. Evidence could include:
- The results of a Breathalyzer or blood test. It’s not uncommon for these tests to give incorrect readings. For instance, to get reliable information from a Breathalyzer, you can’t have eaten or drank anything beforehand. Yet, many police officers don’t know this and conduct tests anyway, yielding incorrect results.
Remember: refusing to take a sobriety or Breathalyzer test is not an admission of guilt. You have the right to refuse such testing and consult a lawyer.
- Traffic camera footage. The police may assert that they pulled you over because you were driving erratically. Yet, traffic camera footage may suggest nothing out of the ordinary took place prior to your arrest. Here, we could assert that the police had no reason to pull you over because they lacked probable cause.
- Eyewitness testimony. If you were arrested and had passengers in the vehicle with you, we can use their statements to bolster your defense.
Our Team Supports You Throughout the Trial
You may be anxious about having your day in court. Yet, you won’t be alone throughout this process. We intend to support you by:
- Exchanging information with the prosecution as part of discovery
- Taking depositions from witnesses
- Cross-examining the other party’s witnesses and consultants
- Motioning to have your case dropped or dismissed (if possible)
- Attempting to get your charges reduced (if possible or necessary)
- Guiding you through questioning
- Preparing you for trial beforehand
This could be one of the most challenging things you’ve faced. Our lawyers recognize this, and we aim to reduce your stress in any way we can.
Our Lawyers Can Help You Retain Your Driving Privileges
Meldon Law understands that fines and jail time are just two of the penalties you could face if convicted. You could also lose the right to lawfully operate a motor vehicle.
Per the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), you could lose your driving privileges for six months after a first-time DUI conviction. If you don’t challenge your license’s suspension within 10 days of your arrest, even commuting to work could prove challenging.
If you contact us soon after your arrest, we can request a hearing with the DHSMV and fight to have your privileges restored. Retaining your right to drive can avoid complications with picking up your kids from school, buying groceries, and otherwise doing things you enjoy.
Our DUI Lawyers in Gainesville Help Combat These Penalties
There are two types of penalties you could face after being convicted of a DUI: those imposed by the state and those that affect your personal life. We hope to protect you from both.
What Penalties Does the State Impose?
If convicted, the penalties you could face depend on many aspects of your situation, including whether this is your first-time DUI. Here’s what to know, per Florida law:
- First-time conviction. You could face a fine ranging from $500 to $2,000, depending on the severity of your alleged intoxication. You could also spend six months in jail.
- Second-time conviction. The state could fine you anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000, depending on whether you had a minor in the vehicle. Also, you could spend up to nine months in jail.
- Third-time conviction. You could have to pay fines ranging from $2,000 to $5,000. You would also have to face a mandatory 30-day prison sentence, with possibly years more on the horizon.
The penalties you face depend on the circumstances. For example, if the prosecution alleges that you caused a fatal accident while intoxicated, you will face a DUI manslaughter charge, which has its own set of penalties.
There are many nuances to sentencing that you may not know about. Our team understands these many nuances surrounding DUI arrests and convictions in Gainesville. You don’t have to graduate from Levin College of Law––University of Florida to have a successful case. Instead, you can entrust your case to our professionals.
What Penalties Could You Face in Your Personal Life?
For some, fines and jail time pale in comparison to the effects of a conviction on their personal life. Some complications could include:
- Retaining custody. If you’re in the middle of a heated custodial dispute, getting convicted of a DUI could make the court system question your parenting abilities. Many judges think twice about awarding custody to parents with criminal records.
- Losing your driving privileges. Having your driver’s license revoked does more than prevent you from going about your day-to-day life; it could also pose financial difficulties. Relying on rideshare programs can quickly get expensive.
- Losing your job. Florida is an at-will state. This means your employer can terminate you for any reason with no notice. They could do this after learning that you were convicted of a DUI.
- Damage to your reputation. Want to run for public office sometime in the future? Need to undergo a background check to get a loan? A DUI conviction can complicate both of these things.
Frequently Asked Questions About DUI Convictions in Gainesville
We want to supply you with all the information you need to make decisions for your future. Some questions you may have include:
Can I Get Charged With a DUI Even if I Wasn’t Driving?
Yes. If the police believe that you operated a vehicle while intoxicated, they could arrest you. For instance, if you were sitting in the front seat with the keys in the ignition, you could get charged with a DUI, even if the car wasn’t in motion.
When Should I Consult With a DUI Lawyer in Gainesville?
We recommend consulting our team as soon as possible after your arrest. Our lawyers can start advocating for you from the very beginning. Meldon Law can:
- Protect your rights during questioning. You have the right to have a lawyer while the police question you. Your lawyer can ensure you don’t say anything that could incriminate you. They can also ensure the police ask appropriate questions and don’t infringe on your rights.
- Fight to preserve your driving privileges. Upon your arrest, the police officer will issue a temporary driving permit. This will last for 10 days. Once it expires, you cannot legally drive. Our team can request a hearing and fight to retain your driving privileges.
- Negotiate with the prosecutor. Initially, the prosecution may want to secure a DUI conviction. Yet, with early legal intervention, we could negotiate for a lesser charge, like reckless driving.
What Is the Legal Limit for Drinking and Driving?
You cannot have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. You’re considered legally intoxicated at that point, and driving while intoxicated is illegal. Yet, law enforcement could still arrest you even if you had a BAC lower than 0.08 percent. If so, we can use this fact as part of your defense strategy.
What Happens if I Represent Myself?
We don’t recommend serving as your own defense attorney. If you represent yourself pro se, you risk:
- Saying something that could incriminate you
- Misunderstanding courtroom protocol
- Being unable to gather supporting evidence
- Spending hours building a case, only to be convicted
- Getting convicted and facing serious penalties
While we don’t want you to be afraid of the legal process, we encourage you to consider partnering with a lawyer––and not just any lawyer; one from our team.
Begin a No-Obligation Consultation With Meldon Law
If you have been arrested for drunk driving or driving under the influence, then you are facing a serious life-altering event and you need to make some important decisions about your case immediately!
Make partnering with us your first decision.
Meldon Law CARES. We offer compassion, accountability, reliability, excellence, and success. To learn more about protecting your future and freedom, call (352) 373-8000.