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DUI Defense

Five Common DUI Penalties

It is common knowledge that if you are arrested and face a criminal charge, there will be consequences. But the punishment for criminal violations vary from case to case, depending on the type of charges filed against you. For a DUI case you can expect to have to fight for your freedom, and also for your right to drive. But, there are other possibilities, and it is helpful to know what you are facing so you can make informed decisions about how to defend your case.

Five of the most common DUI penalties, when the driver is a first time offender, are as follows:

  • Payment of a fine that can be as high as $2,000.The amount varies because people have different levels of alcohol in their blood (the BAC), and the fine is sometimes tied to that figure. The higher your BAC, the higher fine you might expect to pay.
  • The need to agree to go on probation as a way to resolve the case against you, which might mean you have to do some community service or attend driving school. In some instances the defendant will also have to attend drug and/or alcohol treatment programs. The exact terms of your probation depend on the specific facts of your case.
  • If you are not a candidate for probation you can face up to six months in jail, depending on the facts of your case. The possible jail term increases with subsequent cases, and may even be increased if there are extraordinary circumstances for a first time offender.
  • Your car might be impounded at the arrest scene, and you will have to pay a fee to get it back. This is not necessarily a penalty, but it sure can feel like a punishment to have to jump through hoops and pay fees to recover your vehicle.
  • You will have your license taken from when you are arrested, but you can ask for it back or ask that you be granted a limited right to drive. Many first time offenders are granted this limited right, but that is not always the case for subsequent offenders or cases where there are other factors.

In order to minimize the penalties, call a qualified DUI defense attorney. We have experience defending all levels of DUI cases and can help you too. We know how to challenge breath test results, and also how to question whether the initial stop was valid. These are things you will want to consider as part of your defense, and we will let you know what else is needed.

For help with defending DUI charges, call our office to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney. We help people charged with all sorts of crimes in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. Call today to schedule an appointment.

A Few DUI Basics

DUI cases are two part cases; the first part is the criminal action against you, and the second part is an administrative proceeding regarding loss of your driver’s license. A successful outcome requires you to defend both parts, which requires a skilled DUI defense attorney. In order to get a good outcome, you need to move quickly and call an attorney right away. This is partly because if you want to get your license back, or at least get a limited license; you have to make a request for administrative review within ten days of the arrest. If you let this deadline pass, you will not be eligible for a limited license. Acting fast is also necessary because you are facing potential jail time, and large fines. The sooner you start talking over the facts of your case with a qualified attorney, the sooner you will have an idea of what to expect. And, let’s face it, knowing what to expect when your freedom and finances are at stake can offer comfort in an otherwise uncomfortable time.

A few basics about Florida DUI matters involve the following things:

  • When you get arrested for DUI you will have to go to jail for a little bit of time. Release usually happens about 8 hours after you are taken in, and you will need to call a friend or family member to help bond you out of jail. You might also have to take steps to get your car out of impound if it was taken to an impound lot at the arrest scene.
  • You will be given a temporary paper license during the arrest and release process. This is not a license that lets you drive forever, and you do have to take steps to get your license back or to get a modified license. If you are caught driving without a license, and only have the paper license on you, you will face additional charges.
  • Many DUI cases are resolved by the defendant agreeing to go on probation. The terms of probation in your case will be unique to you, but typically involve the requirement that you have an interlock device installed in your car. There is an expense associated with having this device, so you need to be prepared to budget for this expense during your case. You also need to be prepared to abide by the other terms of your probation, because if you do not, your probation can be revoked and you will be in more legal trouble.

If you have been arrested for DUI, act fast to protect your rights. We know what needs to be done, and can handle the matter for you so you can get back to your life.

For more information about DUI cases, call our office today. Contact us today schedule an appointment with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. The first visit is a free initial consultation.

Four Things To Do For A DUI Arrest

A DUI is a serious matter with serious consequences. You can lose your driver’s license, go to jail, and pay hefty fines. The loss of your driver’s license is automatic upon arrest, but can be fought. In most cases, especially first time offender cases, you can obtain a limited license and allowed to drive for limited purposes. But to get that type of license you have to act fast, because there is a short time period for asking for a limited license and if you miss it, you miss out on the opportunity. There are other things you will need to do if you are arrested for DUI, and doing these things can set the stage for a successful case.

Four things to do if you are arrested for DUI include the following:

  • Stay calm, which will help you to think things through before speaking or acting. When you make quick decisions you are more likely to say or do something that can be used against you later. But if you are able to keep your wits about you, you stand a better chance of keeping damaging information to yourself, and this can really help your case down the road.
  • Stay silent, except to give short and direct answers. The temptation to try and talk your way out of the arrest may be great, but most times when this happens you only end up digging a deeper hole. You do have the right to remain silent and if your answers would jeopardize your freedom then you should exercise this right. But if you can give a short answer without elaborating, it is okay to do so.
  • As soon as you are able to, call an attorney. Hopefully you are able to bond out of jail quickly, and once you do you need to clear your head and call an attorney for help. Calling an attorney while the facts are fresh and you are clear headed will allow you to give an accurate account of the facts, without overlooking important details.
  • One fact that will play a role in your defense is whether you submitted to the breath test, or declined. If you did take the test it is crucial to tell your attorney all of the details. A lot of DUI defendants mistakenly believe breath test results cannot be challenged, but the plain truth is that these results are challenged all the time. There are several objections you can make, and when done properly a breath test challenge can lead to a dismissal or a reduced charge.

Our goal is to design a strategy that meets your needs. Our team of DUI defense attorneys is experienced and reviewing the facts and developing a defense that fits those facts. Call us today to learn more.

If you have been arrested for DUI, call our office for help today. Contact us today schedule an appointment with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. The first visit is a free initial consultation.

Two Possible Changes To DUI Interlock Rules

Ignition Interlock being considered by Florida Legislature

The Legislature is back in session, considering changes to current DUI Laws

The requirement to have an interlock device installed in your car if you get a DUI has historically been reserved for cases where the BAC was significantly higher than the 0.08% limit (at .15%) or if the driver was transporting a minor child at the time of DUI arrest. However, there have been pushes for changes to these requirements, and that movement seems to be gaining ground. A recent proposal to make the interlock requirement apply to all first time DUI offenders, even those who do not have a BAC as high as .15% and/or are not driving with a minor in the car, has passed its first hurdle in the State Legislature. If the initiative continues forward, there could be changes coming to the rules that apply to when an interlock is required and when it is not required.

If passed as it stands now, two of the changes to the interlock rules in DUI cases would be as follows:

  • A first time offender would be given the chance to withhold adjudication if they make the choice to have the device installed.
  • This means upon passage of the probationary term, the Court would be required to release the defendant without having entered a conviction on the charges.

These changes would drastically change the way DUI plea negotiations are entered, and could also change the outcome of a potentially huge number of cases. In order for these new rules to become effective, the proposed bill must go through two more stages of legislative review. If passed, Florida will now be in the majority of states with this type of requirement, as over half of the states in the nation currently have this type of system in place. We know how important it is to you to know what to expect if you are arrested for a crime, especially one that jeopardizes your freedom or ability to drive. We also know there is a lot of information available on the internet, through friends, or from well-intentioned family members and that this information can be hard to sift through to get to the bottom line. That is why we are here to stay on top of any legal changes, and to advise you when needed. Our team of DUI defense attorneys has experience in cases with all sorts of fact patterns, and knows how to help you too.

If you questions about DUI’s and interlock rules, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast for answers. Your first visit is a free consultation and we work with you to reach results that fit your needs.

Five Factors That Affect Breath Test

Breath Test DUI Attorney

RJ Ferraro has defended against DUI convictions since 2001

The breath test is the most common way police officers make a determination that a driver has had more to drink than is legally allowed before operating a vehicle. Once an officer observes a driving pattern that is indicative of drunk driving, the car can be pulled over the drive questioned. If the questioning leads the officer to believe the driver has had too much to drink, he or she can ask the driver to submit to a breath test. When the breath test results show an alcohol concentration in the driver’s system of 0.08% or more, a ticket and arrest for DUI can be written. This type of scenario makes it critical for every driver on Florida roadways to know a few things about how breath tests work, and what types of things can have an impact on the test result.

Five factors that affect breath tests in DUI cases are:

  • The calibration of the machine. This is not a factor that is under the control of the driver, but is still a factor just the same. If the machine is not properly calibrated, it will not give off an accurate result.
  • Personal physiological traits such as the driver’s metabolism and mouth temperature. These are things that are still not within your control, but are unique to you specifically. It is important to identify and work through any special circumstances related to you personally. Sometimes medical evidence is needed to support a claim of this type.
  • Whether you blew into the machine in short breaths, or one long breath. Believe it or not, this does make a difference in how the result is computed.
  • What you have eaten just prior to the test.
  • Whether you suffer from certain medical conditions that can “fool the machine.”

An experienced DUI defense attorney knows where to look for factors that help bolster your defense, and can point these things out to the prosecution. Keep in mind though that just because these are possible parts to your defense, not all will apply in every case. We take the time to review your case as it applies only to you, and develop a defense that is tailored to your needs.

For answers to questions about breath tests, call an experienced criminal defense attorney today. Skilled criminal defense attorneys in Stuart and the Treasure Coast are here to help you today. Your first visit is a free initial consultation.

Four Common Challenges To Breath Test Results That Can Work For You

Unless you have a background in science you might be intimidated when trying to challenge the result of a scientific test. The methodology used and the scientific terms are often times difficult for the layperson to understand, let alone question. So if you have been charged with DUI after having “failed” a breath test, you might be thinking that there is little hope for a good defense. But the truth is breath tests are not as reliable as an arresting officer might have you believe, and successful challenges to the test results can be made in a large majority of cases.

Four common challenges to breath tests in DUI cases that just might work for your case include:

  • Challenging the maintenance of the equipment. The equipment used to test the level of alcohol in your system has to be maintained a certain way. You have the right to ask if that happened, and if it did not, the result could be considered unreliable.
  • Question whether the test result picked up the existence of any other substance that may give off the same type of reading as alcohol. There are some over the counter medications, and even some prescription medications, that can cause a false positive. If you had any of these in your system at the time of the test, the result could be wrong.
  • Attack the way the test was given. Were you asked to blow in short spurts, or one long breath? There is a difference and it is important to look at this part of the testing procedure when determining if the results are valid.
  • Were you made aware of your right to refuse the test? Florida has an implied consent law, which basically means that by driving on the roads your consent to submit to the test is implied. But in truth you can refuse, and should be told this is one of your rights.

An experienced DUI defense attorney will look at all of these possible challenges, and any others that your case warrants. If you have been charged with DUI, call us for help. We have helped others fight these scary charges, and look forward to helping you too.

For answers to questions about DUI cases, call an experienced criminal defense attorney today. Skilled criminal defense attorneys in Stuart and the Treasure Coast are here to help you reach workable solutions. Your first visit is a free initial consultation.

Five Possibile Penalties When You Are Convicted of DUI

Drug Defense Attorney

RJ Ferraro has defended against DUI convictions since 2001

Being arrested for DUI means a lot of things, and not many of them are fun. But it does happen, and it happens more than you might think. So, if you have been charged with DUI the best thing you can do is take a deep breath and being to prepare your defense. Preparation should start with contacting an experienced DUI defense attorney, and explaining what happened before, during and after the arrest. The facts you are able to relay to your attorney can help you establish a solid defense, and might just save you a trip to the jail house or loss of your driving privileges.

Five possible penalties when you are convicted for DUI are:

  • An increase in your insurance rates. Money is tight for most everyone these days, so if you have to pay higher insurance rates, you might have to find other areas where you can cut back on expenses.
  • The requirement that you have an interlock device installed in your car. This device requires you to blow into it before your car will start. If the device detects alcohol on your breath, your car’s ignition will not turn over for a period of time. This means you will not be able to drive, and will essentially be stuck in place.
  • Possible jail time and this depends on whether this is your first offense of if you have a prior DUI but can also depend on other factors. Each case is different, so the chances of having to spend time behind bars will vary from case to case.
  • Possible loss of your driver’s license, especially if you fail to request an administrative review of your license revocation within ten days after your DUI arrest. In many instances you can get at least a limited license, and this will allow you to continue driving for certain purposes.
  • Imposition of monetary fines and penalties.

A DUI arrest raises many questions, and we have the answers you need. We understand how important it is for you to stay on the road, out of jail, and to minimize the costs associated with a DUI arrest. This is why we work with you on an individual basis rather than treat your case like all the rest, and develop a defense aimed at a solution that works for your personal needs.

If you have questions about how to defend a DUI, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast for answers. Your first visit is a free consultation and we work with you to reach results that fit your needs.

The First Five Days After A DUI Arrest

Being arrested for DUI is confusing, scary, and can leave you wondering what to do next. The steps you take in the days after your arrest can help to shape your defense, so it is important to know some basics. The first thing you need to do, and this happens the day of arrest, is to bond out of jail and make arrangements to get your car back if it has been impounded. After that, take a breath and a moment to gather your thoughts, so you will be ready to help with the defense of your case. While a qualified DUI defense attorney will handle the legal aspects of your defense, your input is vital to a successful outcome.

The first five days after a DUI arrest should be spent doing the following things:

  • Day one: call an attorney and make an appointment to discuss your case as soon as possible. If not that day, then within the next two days is best.
  • Day two (or three): sit down with your attorney and tell him or her how the arrest happened. This is the time for you to tell your side of the story, and also to make sure your attorney has the information needed to request an administrative review of your driver’s license revocation. This review is required to be requested within ten days of your arrest, and it is always best to do it right away rather than wait until the last day.
  • Day four: keep quiet about the case, unless you are talking to your attorney. By now you might be feeling OK about the incident, and ready to “unload” on a good friend. But doing so might put your case in jeopardy, so it is best to keep your communications protected by only talking to your attorney about your case.
  • Day five: make sure your attorney has all the information they need, then rest easy knowing your case is in good hands. You might be tempted to try and figure out some of the steps on your own, but doing so may cause more anxiety. If you are unsure about what is going on, or what to expect at an upcoming hearing, call your attorney.

It is possible to live a normal life while your case is pending, and we can help. By letting us handle your DUI case for you, you take that stress off of yourself, so you can keep up with school or work.

If you questions about DUI cases, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast for answers. Your first visit is a free consultation and we work with you to reach results that fit your needs.


Four Good Ways To Fight A DUI

Being arrested for DUI can result in loss of your license, and if convicted you might also face time in jail. These are serious consequences, which deserve a serious defense. The right type of defense strategy can minimize the range of punishment, and even keep you behind the wheel of your car. In order to present the right type of defense strategy, you have to take into account any special or unique facts in your case, and also use an experienced DUI defense attorney. While the matter should not be taken lightly, it is possible to get a good result as long as you are diligent and give your case the attention it needs

One thing every case needs is to pinpoint a strategy that effectively challenges the issues in the case. Four good ways to do this, and to fight a DUI are:

  • To start at the beginning, and challenge the initial traffic stop as a valid stop. If the traffic stop that lead to the arrest was not a lawful stop, the case against you should not hold.
  • Challenge the breath test results. Many people think these results are foolproof and not worth fighting over, but the truth is there are a lot of instances where breath test results are not valid. When the evidence used to arrest you is not reliable, you have a good defense.
  • File requests to keep certain pieces of evidence out of court, especially any “admission” you may have inadvertently made at the scene.
  • Challenge the field sobriety test. This is a different type of test than the breath test, and it should be given special attention separate and apart from the attack you make on the breath test.

An experienced DUI defense attorney can help formulate one or more of these defense strategies, and then implement it on your behalf. The first step is to talk it over with your attorney, and make sure you advise him or her of all the facts. We have a qualified team of defense attorneys ready to talk to you about your case today.

For answers to questions about DUI cases, call an experienced criminal defense attorney today. Skilled criminal defense attorneys in Stuart and the Treasure Coast are here to help you reach workable solutions. Your first visit is a free initial consultation.

Two Alternatives To Jail Time For A DUI

Being charged with DUI is a serious matter, but your life does not have to change drastically as you work through the case. This is especially true if you are a first time offender, where the punishment is less severe than in cases of subsequent charges. That said, even second or third time offenders can get a satisfactory outcome to their case if they have the right defense attorney on their side. Our goal is to keep your costs low, keep you driving, and keep you out of jail.

Anytime the possibility of going to jail is on the table, it is smart to explore your options. The most popular way to stay out of jail when you have been charged with a DUI is to agree to go on probation. The State typically offers some sort of probationary term to first time offenders, and here are two things you may experience if you take this alternative form of punishment:

  • Attending an alcohol and/or drug rehabilitation program. This is a popular probationary term for DUI cases, and requires you to attend all scheduled classes and obtain a certificate of completion. The certificate will need to be presented to the prosecuting attorney as proof that you have successfully complied with this requirement of your probation.
  • Having an interlock device installed in your car, which will prevent your car from starting if you have been drinking. There is usually a monthly fee for this device, but it is worth paying to stay out from behind bars.

There are other options available to you, to stay out of jail while still serving a DUI sentence, but the specifics depend on the facts of your case. Every case is unique, and we offer individualized attention to your matter. Giving your case the attention it requires helps to pinpoint areas of strength and weakness, and gives you confidence that every avenue has been explored. For more information about first or second time DUI offenses, and what you can do to stay out of jail, call our office. We will explain the process to you, so you have a clear understanding of your options.

For help with a DUI, contact our office for help. Call us today schedule an appointment with n qualified criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. The first visit is a free initial consultation.