West Palm Beach DUI Lawyer
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Many substances - both legal and illegal - can impair your ability to operate a vehicle safely. Driving while under the influence of alcohol, recreational drugs, and even some prescription and over-the-counter medications could result in a DUI or "driving under the influence" arrest, and possible conviction. Under Florida law, a driver who is of legal drinking age and has a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) test result of .08 or higher faces DUI charges.
In Florida, law enforcement officials take a no-tolerance stand against drunk driving. If alcohol is detected on your breath when you are pulled over, you likely will be arrested. If this occurs, you need a West Palm Beach DUI attorney from Perlet, Shiner, Melchiorre & Walsh, P.A. by your side to help you achieve the best possible outcome.
If you were arrested for DUI, get in touch with our West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyers today!
Understanding the DUI Arrest Process
If the officer issues you any citations or traffic tickets, you are required to sign them. By signing the ticket, you are not admitting guilt, and you could still fight those citations in court. At this point, police could place you under arrest for a DUI. If they do, you will be handcuffed and placed in the back of the police car. They will then transport you to the local breath alcohol testing center. This is where they will ask you to provide a breath sample.
The police will request that you submit to chemical tests to check for the presence of alcohol or controlled substances. In Florida, there are three tests which can be administered, which are listed below:
- Breath test (Commonly called a Breathalyzer)
- Urine test
- Blood test
If a driver refuses the breath test, the state can still prosecute the person based on the theory that he or she was driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the extent that normal faculties were impaired. However, under either theory of prosecution, the state must prove each element of DUI beyond reasonable doubt.
The Consequences of a DUI Charge
If you have been charged with DUI, you probably are concerned with all the different possibilities regarding how the charge could affect your life. In addition to the criminal charge of DUI, you also may also be subject to the following consequences:
- License suspension
- Hefty fines
- Lengthy probation period
- Required interlocking breathalyzer device
- Difficulty maintain or obtaining employment
- Difficulty renting or purchasing a home
- Difficulty obtaining auto insurance
- Required drug and alcohol abuse treatment classes
For this reason, individuals accused of DUI should contact experienced legal representation right away.
Common DUI Misconceptions
An important misconception is that you must have been drinking alcohol to have been arrested for DUI. But in Florida, you can be arrested for DUI if there is evidence that you are under the influence of any controlled substance.
Controlled substances include:
Additionally, there are many medicines that could impair your judgment but are not deemed controlled substances, such as the common sleep medicine Ambien and many over-the-counter sleep aids and cough medicines.
We Can Help Fight Your DUI Charge
In the state of Florida, the legal consequences associated with a DUI arrest are significant. This is why, when hiring a DUI attorney in West Palm Beach, it's best to be aware that all attorneys do not possess the same skills set. A DUI causing serious bodily injury or DUI manslaughter are serious felonies where lengthy prison sentences are almost always imposed.
At Perlet, Shiner, Melchiorre & Walsh, P.A., our team is made up of highly skilled former prosecutors who formerly practiced as trial lawyers for the Palm Beach County State's Attorney's Office. Combined, we have more than 70 years of experience in the criminal trial practice and more than 800 trials that have gone to verdict and are the only criminal defense firm in Palm Beach County with four former prosecutors.
Call us today for a free consultation regarding your case.