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Defending Against DUI Charges in Brevard County & Surrounding Areas

If you or someone you know has been charged with driving under the influence in Melbourne, Florida, contact an experienced DUI defense attorney. An experienced Melbourne DUI lawyer will understand how to defend a client against more than driving under the influence of alcohol charges. We represent clients who have been charged with any type of DUI.

DUIs are complicated. The process of getting through a DUI is highly fragmented and expensive. At times, the process can be as punitive as the penalty itself. Let us help you fight to get the charges dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense such as reckless driving.

Call (321) 248-7742 to set up a free consultation with our Melbourne DUI attorney today.

Florida DUI Laws

Because of Florida’s DUI statistics, the State’s stringent DUI laws are intended to pertinently punish individuals convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances while discouraging repeat offenses. State law allows law enforcement officers to arrest drivers for DUI under two conditions:

  • Your blood alcohol content (BAC) is above .08%, although you may not necessarily appear to be impaired; or
  • Your BAC is below .08% but the DUI officer determined that your “normal faculties are impaired” by alcohol or controlled substances.

Types of DUI Charges in Florida

An individual is generally charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs based on the number of previous DUI offenses that he or she has committed.

Florida Statute § 316.193 establishes that a person may be convicted of driving under the influence when he or she is driving a motor vehicle, or is under physical control of a vehicle within Florida and;

  • The person is under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substance set forth in Florida Statute § 877.111, or any substance controlled under chapter 893 of the Florida Statutes, when affected to the extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired;
  • The person has a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood; or
  • The person has a breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.

As stated in the Statute, actually driving the vehicle is not required for conviction. The Florida Standard Jury Instructions define “actual physical control” as an avenue for prosecution.

Actual physical control means that an alleged offender being physically in or on the vehicle and having the capability to operate the vehicle, regardless of whether he or she is actually operating the vehicle at the time.”

Thus, an individual can be arrested for DUI under the theory of actual physical control if he or she is in actual or constructive possession of the key to an automobile and the motor vehicle was operable at the time of the arrest.

When an offender is arrested for DUI because he or she had a blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher, the offense is commonly referred to as a “per se DUI” offense.

Evidence Gathered in a DUI Case

In order to gather evidence against you, the arresting officer has been trained to do the following:

  • Breath Test – Convince you to submit to a breath test on the breathalyzer machine used in Brevard County and throughout Florida called the Intoxilyzer 8000 which is manufactured by a company called CMI, Inc., in Kentucky. We can find out information about the breath test machine that you were tested on including “COBRA” data showing how much breath you blew during each sample, records related to the calibration and repair of the machine, and data showing how the machine performed during routine monthly and annual inspections. In fact, information about every breath sample given in the State of Florida is published on the FDLE website. Understanding how that information can be used to defend your case is critical.
  • Urine Test – Even if you blow below the legal limit, the DUI officer is trained to then ask you to submit to a urine test in order to gather evidence that you have a prescription or over-the-counter medication in your system, or that you have some illegal substance such as marijuana or cocaine in your system.
  • Blood Test – After an accident, the DUI officer is trained to ask you to submit to a blood test. In some cases, the arresting officer may also obtain blood taken in the hospital by a health care professional. Although blood test are the most accurate way to measure alcohol or drugs in your system, these cases are often the most difficult for the prosecutor because of the predicate that must be laid in these cases through expert testimony.
  • Refusal – If the officer asks that you submit to either a breath, blood or urine test and you decline that invitation, the officers is trained to gather evidence showing that your refusal resulted because you are “conscience of your guilt” (i.e., you refused to submit to the test because you know the results would show you are guilty of DUI). In these cases, it is important for your Melbourne DUI attorney to show all of the reasons why an innocent person might refuse to submit to these invasive tests that have been proven to be inaccurate in a wide variety of circumstances.

Defenses Against DUI Charges

Many people believe that being arrested for a DUI charge is the end of the line and there is no way to fight such charges. The truth is, that any number of errors can occur when prosecuting a DUI charge.

Some of the most common defenses in DUI cases include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Failure to read implied consent warning to alleged offender
  • Improperly administered field sobriety tests
  • Improperly administered chemical tests
  • Driving or field sobriety test performance impacted by adverse weather
  • Failure to calibrate breath test device
  • Rising BAC levels
  • Inaccurate breath test results
  • Breath test operator did not possess valid license

Is a DUI in Florida Considered a Felony?

A DUI in Florida is usually considered a misdemeanor but can be charged as a felony depending on the circumstances of the arrest. First and second DUI offenses are typically charged as a misdemeanor DUI in Florida. Penalties for a misdemeanor DUI can vary based on the result of your blood alcohol content (BAC) test. If your BAC was between .08 and .14, you could be fined up to $1,000, up to six months in jail, a maximum one-year license suspension, probation community service and attendance at a DUI school. If your BAC was at or above .14, these penalties will be enhanced. A third or subsequent DUI charge within 10 years or a DUI that involves injury or death to another person will be charged as a felony in Florida. This most serious of DUI offenses is punishable by a 15-year prison sentence and a maximum $10,000 fine. If there was a serious injury that was due to your DUI or even death, then you will be charged with a felony DUI even if it is your first or second DUI.

What are the Penalties for a DUI in Florida?

Despite being a first-time non-impact DUI offender you possibly will face stiff penalties depending on your blood alcohol content level. Maximum penalties for DUI offenses can include:

  • 1-year probation and/or incarceration
  • Fines of up to $1,000
  • 50 hours of community service
  • 10 days of vehicle impoundment
  • Mandated DUI school attendance
  • Vehicle ignition interlock

Penalties for DUI offense in Florida may increase with each subsequent conviction and accident involvement.

Individuals arrested for DUI’s will be released only if they meet the State’s specific conditions for release. The DUI offender must no longer be under the influence and faculties must be back to normal conditions. Blood and breath alcohol content levels must be lower than 0.05 or a time span of eight hours from the time of the arrest must elapse.

Contact Our DUI Defense Lawyer in Melbourne Today

If you are located in Brevard County, Volusia County, Seminole County, Osceola County, Indian River County or Orange County and you are in need of a Melbourne DUI lawyer, let our experienced attorney represent you for your DUI offense.

The Law Offices of Bryan J. McCarthy can evaluate the arresting law enforcement officer procedure and the results of any field sobriety and chemical tests. Our extensive background knowledge in dealing with the State of Florida DUI laws will be beneficial in our approach to clear your name and get you the lowest possible sentence.

Schedule your free consultation with our Melbourne DUI lawyer today by calling (321) 248-7742 or filling out our online contact form.