At Hanlon Law, Clearwater DUI lawyer Will Hanlon represents people throughout the Tampa Bay area who have been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and judges take these cases very seriously, and it is important to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer in your corner as early in the process as possible. Attorney Hanlon draws on more than two decades of courtroom experience to guide clients through the criminal justice system. He works aggressively to fight charges head-on so that they can be dropped or reduced whenever possible. He also represents people who need a drug crime attorney or representation in facing charges of sex offenses or violent crimes.Protecting Your Rights Against DUI (DWI) Charges
Florida law makes it a crime to operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs. Police usually rely on chemical, blood, breath, or urine tests to prove impairment. A person whose blood or breath alcohol level is .08 percent or higher is considered intoxicated under the law. Testing devices often raise accuracy and reliability concerns that a seasoned criminal defense lawyer can explore if it becomes relevant in a DUI case. Law enforcement may also charge a person with driving under the influence without subjecting them to a chemical test if they believe that there is enough other evidence to show that the person was intoxicated while behind the wheel.
Florida, like many other states, often imposes harsh penalties on drivers convicted of DUI. For a first-time offender, a DUI conviction may mean that you are facing up to six months in jail and as much as $1,000 in fines. You also may have your driving privileges revoked for at least 180 days and be required to perform 50 hours of community service. Although a “hardship” driving allowance may be granted in certain cases, a driver must complete DUI school before that happens. The penalties increase for drivers whose blood or breath alcohol content is 0.15 percent or higher, as well as for people who have been caught for drunk driving multiple times and people who are involved in accidents while intoxicated.Defenses in Drunk Driving Cases
The good news for a person suspected of or charged with DUI in Florida is that the law gives you a wide range of possible defenses. These include defenses related to the circumstances in which the police pulled over your car and subjected you to roadside testing.
A police officer must have a “reasonable suspicion” to believe that you have committed a traffic violation or another crime to pull over your car. Speeding, swerving, or driving with a broken taillight often justifies a stop, for example. If the officer has a reason to believe that you have been drinking or are otherwise intoxicated, they may ask you to submit to a breathalyzer test or perform certain routine physical tasks that are designed to measure your impairment.
It is important to understand that you have the right to decline a breathalyzer or another chemical test. Under Florida’s implied consent law, however, a refusal is admissible as evidence in a case against you, and your driver’s license will automatically be suspended for one year.Discuss Your Situation with a DUI Lawyer in Clearwater
At Hanlon Law, we fight aggressively to defend clients in DUI cases. This means, among other things, investigating whether police officers played by the rules in pulling your car over and administering any tests. If they did not, related evidence obtained by the police is likely to be thrown out in court. It is important to seek the advice and counsel of an experienced attorney as early as possible in the process, however, since the clock starts ticking right away. License suspensions for DUI are automatic and effective immediately. You only have 10 days from the date of the suspension to fight it in an administrative proceeding.
If you have been charged with drunk driving or a related crime, Clearwater DUI attorney Will Hanlon is ready to help you protect your rights. We also serve people in other cities throughout the region, including in Tampa and St. Petersburg. Call us at 727.897.5413 or contact us online to discuss your case with a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer.