Ocala DUI Defense Lawyer
Being under arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) is frightening. Once you are under arrest for this offense, this action immediately affects your rights. Authorities will suspend your driver’s license for 10 days requiring quick action on your part to protect your rights and future. However, an arrest isn’t the same as being charged with or convicted of a crime. Our Ocala DUI defense lawyers are ready to protect your freedom and future.
- Boating Under the Influence
- DUI Arrest Defense
- DUI Drug Defense
- DUI Traffic Stop Defense
- Felony DUI
- Field Sobriety Test
- First DUI Offense
Consequences of a DUI Conviction in Ocala, FL
The moment you are under arrest, you should focus your energies and efforts on avoiding a DUI conviction, as a permanent record could devastate your life for a long time. We encourage you to work with our Ocala criminal defense attorneys, who draw from a deep well of experience in DUI defense. The penalties you could face if found guilty are substantial and could expand if:
- You were previously convicted of DUI.
- There was a minor in your vehicle while you drove under the influence.
- Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was more than 0.15%.
- Property was damaged or someone suffered an injury or died because of your DUI.
The range of penalties is wide, depending on whether the factors outlined above apply to your case. They may include:
- Impoundment of your car for days or months
- A fine of $500 to $10,000
- License suspension for days, months, or possibly forever
- Jail or prison time for days, months, or up to 30 years
- If this is your second offense within five years, you must serve a minimum of 10 days in jail.
- Breath testing equipment attached to your car for a year or more
- Probation for a year or more
- Community service
- DUI and substance abuse classes along with treatment (if indicated)
A DUI is a criminal offense; a conviction will remain on your record permanently. This could affect your future educational, professional, and military opportunities and potentially where you live.
Additionally, an insurance company will view you as a “high-risk” driver and might raise your rates substantially for several years.
How Our Ocala DUI Defense Attorney Can Help You
If a Florida law enforcement officer thinks alcohol or controlled substances impair your “normal faculties,” you may face arrest on a DUI charge even if you are not at or above the legal limit of 0.08. If charged, a proper defense takes an exact understanding of Florida’s complicated DUI laws.
At Meldon Law, our Ocala DUI defense attorneys use the accumulated wisdom they have earned by serving Floridians for over half a century to fight for reduced or dropped charges in your case.
Our defense team could assist you by:
- Examining your traffic stop and arrest for possible violations of your constitutional rights.
- Determining if the field sobriety test, blood alcohol level (BAL) test, and/or blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test were administered and interpreted correctly by those involved in the process.
- Challenging the arresting police officer’s observations or recollections.
- Exploring other explanations for exhibited symptoms (such as illness or fatigue).
- Negotiating with the prosecutor to drop or reduce your charges.
- Representing you at trial to fight the charges.
- Arguing for a reduced sentence should you face conviction on some charges.
Meldon Law Serves Ocala
Meldon Law started in Ocala, defending the rights of Florida residents there and in other towns throughout the state in 1971. A strong defense comes from the experience and resources we have built up over decades of service.
The following demonstrates our DUI defense team’s strength in helping people facing this serious offense:
- Other attorneys in Florida refer their clients who need DUI representation to our office.
- Our participation in a network of Florida DUI defense attorneys who consistently work to improve defense tactics and strategies.
- Our advisory role to other DUI defense attorneys throughout the state.
- Our attorneys defend DUI cases in court and formal DMV review hearings.
- Our publication of the Marion County DUI Guidebook titled Ways to Possibly Avoid a DUI Charge or Conviction. (Please request a free copy to learn more about the DUI process, charges, and defenses.)
- Our promise to take on your fight like it is ours. Our Ocala DUI criminal defense team is a force to be reckoned with, inside and outside the courtroom.
DUI Case Results
We are proud of our cases going back more than half a century, but examples of our more recent results include the following:
- In a single-vehicle crash, troopers arrested the driver after the driver refused to perform a field sobriety test. The driver also refused to perform a breath test after arrest and instead called Meldon Law. We found a suppression issue and negotiated the charges from DUI to reckless driving.
- At a crash site, the police gave a driver a field sobriety test, which he failed. After arrest, they gave him two separate breath tests with results of .400 and .387. Despite the test results, Meldon Law was able to get his full driving privileges reinstated.
- A driver was stopped by a police officer based on his driving pattern. He was arrested after being given a field sobriety test. He refused to perform a breath test. After hiring our DUI defense team, he was able to participate in the DUI Deferral Program and have the DUI charges reduced to reckless driving.
Ocala Felony DUI Attorneys
Any DUI charge is serious, but a felony DUI conviction can land you in prison. Working with an attorney who has defended such charges for clients is important to your future, as experience counts in felony cases.
When a Misdemeanor DUI Becomes a Felony
In Florida, a first DUI offense is typically a misdemeanor. However, a first-time offense can become a felony if a driver has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above .15%. Offenders could face enhanced penalties if convicted under these circumstances.
If you are convicted of a third DUI less than 10 years after a second, you will be charged with a felony. A fourth DUI conviction is a felony, no matter how much time has passed since the third one. A drunk driving accident that causes serious injury or death is also charged as a felony DUI under Florida law. The punishment for a felony DUI charge includes up to 30 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
How to Get the Best Outcome for Your Ocala DUI Case
Your DUI case’s outcome depends on the circumstances it involves. An attorney can explain the charges and Florida laws that apply to your case and advise you on what to expect.
If you face a DUI charge, you and your attorney will work on your defense, which may look like one of the following common ones:
- You were not the driver of the vehicle.
- You were not in “actual physical control” of the vehicle.
- You were not allowed to contact an attorney.
- The police officer didn’t follow proper procedures.
- The police officer conducted an illegal stop of the vehicle.
- Your BAC level increased due to diabetes, mouthwash, or a special diet.
- Eyewitness statements conflict with police reports.
- No Miranda warning was given.
Our Ocala DUI defense attorney will assess your case and find the appropriate defense based on the circumstances of your case.
Ocala DUI Multiple Offense Attorneys
If you have been convicted of at least one DUI and are facing charges for another in Florida, you may face harsh penalties. A legal team that knows Florida’s complex DUI laws, particularly as they relate to multiple offenses, will be key to mounting a solid defense.
Keep in mind that a judge may add to the brief list of penalties below.
Second DUI Offense
Under Florida law, a person can face strict minimum mandatory penalties for a second offense. When it comes to subsequent offenses, time periods apply.
When a second DUI offense occurs within days or decades after the first offense, you face:
- A minimum fine of $1,000
- Up to nine months in jail
- Impoundment of your car for a set number of days
- A suspended driver’s license for months
- An ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle
Third DUI Offense
When a third DUI offense occurs within 10 years of a second DUI conviction, there is:
- A minimum 30-day jail stay with your driver’s license suspended for 10 years.
- A requirement for fines to begin at $2,000.
- Installation of an ignition interlock device.
Fourth DUI Offense
You may end up serving five years in prison and paying at least $2,000 in fines. In addition:
- Your driver’s license could be revoked for life.
- You may also be ordered to perform community service.
- You may receive an order to complete substance abuse courses or treatment programs.
Ocala DUI Driver’s License Suspension Hearing Attorney
One of the first penalties you face after a DUI arrest is suspension of your driver’s license. After you are arrested, you have just 10 days to apply for a DMV administrative review hearing. At this hearing, you can ask for the driver’s license suspension to be invalidated and removed from your driving record.
You may fight the license suspension while your criminal case is pending in court.
Driving After A DUI Arrest
After your arrest, authorities will take your license and replace it with a temporary unrestricted license good for 10 days.
If you apply for a hearing, your driving privileges will be extended until the hearing can be held. This license is good for 42 days. It is called a business purpose only (BPO) license, and you may only use it for certain purposes: driving to and from work, school, the doctor, church, or other religious activity, or to maintain your livelihood.
Once you have your hearing, you will either:
- Win your hearing and get a permanent duplicate unrestricted license unless the court suspends it.
- Lose your driving privileges when your BPO expires and face a “hard time” suspension of either 30 days (for a blood alcohol concentration at or above 0.08) or 90 days (if you refused to take the test). During this time, you cannot drive. Once you complete your hard time, you can apply for a hardship BPO license.
A hardship license can last for six or 12 months. If your DUI case is still active by then, the license becomes an unrestricted Florida driver’s license. If you are convicted of DUI and given a license suspension, you will have to get another hardship license.
Ocala DUI BAC Test Defense Attorney
If you are driving erratically or not following traffic laws in Ocala, the police may pull you over. At the traffic stop, police may test for intoxication, although field sobriety test results are not always reliable. If an officer believes you are driving under the influence, they could arrest you and administer a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test after the arrest.
BAC results can be inaccurate. Even when they are correct, the alcohol detected may not be from alcoholic drinks. If your BAC result is 0.08 or higher, consulting with an Ocala DUI BAC test defense attorney who understands the potential flaws in the tests may help your defense.
Ocala DUI Defense Motions Attorney
Fighting a DUI charge is challenging. An attorney with experience in criminal law and, specifically, Florida’s DUI laws can help defendants with this case type.
A powerful tool in a defense attorney’s belt is the defense motion. Attorneys present these motions after the preliminary hearing but before the trial. Attorneys use them to get the court to decide some issues before the trial starts. Motions are common and can be successful if done properly.
Purposes of DUI Defense Motions
A defense motion does not always work, but it’s a powerful strategy and could produce favorable results for your case if the court agrees, such as:
- Forcing the prosecution to share evidence
- Excluding unfavorable evidence
- Proving police misconduct
- Dismissing or reducing your charges
Meldon Law in Ocala Protects Your Future – Call Us Today for Help From a DUI Defense Attorney
Our Ocala DUI defense lawyers fight for your rights backed by decades of institutional knowledge in criminal and Florida DUI laws. Don’t give up on your future. Call us at (352) 373-8000 for a free no-obligation case evaluation.