There are certain clients to whom I recommend pre-trial counseling, but it really depends on the facts of the case. If someone has previous DUI arrests and/or convictions, then I explain to the client how the judges really aren't trying to put people in jail. What they are trying to do is to not be responsible for someone getting killed. Judges have to assume that someone who comes before them on a second or a third DUI has an underlying alcohol problem that's not being addressed. Showing that you are taking the alcohol issue seriously and making a commitment to stay sober and not allow this to happen again is very helpful with most judges. Judges are politicians and they don't want to wind up on the front page if someone they have given a break to goes out, gets drunk, and kills someone behind the wheel.
How Does A Prior Arrest And Conviction Impact My Current DUI Case?
In my experience, having prior criminal charges in general is a lot less important than any prior alcohol related history. If someone, for example, was hospitalized for alcohol poisoning, this is going to be the kind of thing that's considered a red flag to judges. Those kinds of people, even if it's their first offense, should get into a substance abuse program. The same is true for someone who blows an abnormally high breath alcohol level.
What Factors Will Enhance Or Aggravate A DUI Charge In Florida
In Florida, having prior offenses will aggravate a DUI. If you have a second arrest within five years of your first conviction, it will enhance the penalties and will require that upon conviction you serve at least 10 days in jail or in an inpatient rehab facility. Someone who has a third DUI arrest within 10 years of a second DUI conviction will have a minimum sentence of 30 days in the county jail or in an inpatient program if they are convicted. The fines also increase with prior offenses. In Florida a DUI conviction at any time in your life becomes a felony and then becomes subject to prison time in the Department of Corrections.
Other things that can aggravate a DUI in Florida are having a breath or blood alcohol in excess of 0.15, having a child under 18 in the car with you, or doing property damage. If you do property damage, you get a separate count of DUI with property damage for each person's property that you've damaged. If you mow down 10 mailboxes by going off the road for a second, you will wind up with 10 counts of DUI property damage. If your DUI causes serious bodily injury, it becomes a felony, even on a first offense. If someone dies as a result of an accident, it becomes DUI manslaughter.
What Are The Potential Penalties For A DUI Conviction In Florida
In Florida there are some counties where first offense DUIs do wind up doing jail time but in the counties where I normally practice, it is unusual that a first offense DUI would result in a jail sentence beyond the eight hours at the time of arrest. For a second offense DUI, it depends on how long ago the first offense was. There is mandatory jail time on a second offense within five years or a third offense within 10 years. In the jurisdictions where I practice, the typical jail sentence on a subsequent offense DUI is 30 to 60 days, but in Florida if a person who is convicted of DUI goes into an inpatient alcohol treatment program, it's mandatory that the court gives them credit on any jail sentence for the time that they've spent in the inpatient program. Some counties have what's called the offender work program, which allows jail credit for community service
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