Vero Beach DUI Attorney
In Florida, a charge of driving under the influence (referred to in other states as “driving while intoxicated”) carries significant legal consequences. Common penalties for a DUI conviction include jail time, fines, license suspension, ignition interlock requirements, required addiction counseling, and required community service. Many of the penalties listed above are “minimum mandatories” meaning that a judge has no option but to administer certain penalties if you are convicted. Also, the severity of the mandatory punishments increases based on “aggravating factors” including prior DUI convictions, level of intoxication, and DUI’s that result in accidents. For a full list of possible penalties and aggravating factors, look to Florida Statute 316.193.
DUIs are most often charged when a law enforcement officer believes someone has used alcohol before, during, or after getting behind the wheel of a car. However, Florida DUI laws outlaw a wide range of scenarios, including:
- Drug related DUIs
- Prescription medication related DUIs
- Boating under the influence
- Bicycling under the influence
When facing the types of consequences discussed above, consequences with the potential to have lasting effects on your life and the lives of those closest to you, it’s important to consult a competent attorney. Mr. Larsen has the knowledge to guide you through the legal process, provide straightforward advice, and mount the best defense given the specific facts of your case.
Remember, the only sure way of avoiding the lifelong consequences of a DUI conviction is to not operate a vehicle after using any intoxicating substance.
Drug/Prescription Medication Related DUIs
Many do not realize that the charge of driving under the influence covers more than drinking alcohol and getting behind the wheel. Drivers in Florida can be charged with DUI after using a wide range of chemical and controlled substances. These substances not only includes illegal drugs like marijuana, cocaine, and heroine, but also over-the-counter and prescription medications as well. For a listing of chemical and controlled substances that can be used as a basis for a DUI charge see Florida Statue 877.111 and 893.03.
If you have been charged with a DUI for using a medication that was prescribed for you, Florida law provides a specific defense with may apply to your case. Even in DUI cases that do not involve prescribed medications there are statutory rules and constitutional rights that may provide a defense.
Boating Under the Influence
Operating a watercraft under the influence of an intoxicating substance can carry many of the same types of penalties associated with a DUI in a motor vehicle. Florida Statute 327.35 discusses those penalties which include probation, imprisonment, and hefty fines. Several factors may increase the severity of punishment including: the presence of minors, the level of intoxication, and a prior history of boating under the influence or driving under the influence. Any watercraft used in an instance of BUI must be impounded or immobilized for a period of time and the owner, leaser, or renter of the vessel is required to pay any associated fees.
While there are several similarities between Florida BUI and DUI laws, there are a number of important differences. Those differences are most pronounced when it comes to the circumstances under which an investigation may begin, and who may be considered to be operating the watercraft at any particular time. It is highly recommended to discuss the specific circumstances surrounding your case with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney.
Bicycling Under the Influence
Floridians and visitors to our state beware: you can be charged with driving under the influence while riding a bicycle. Furthermore, you can potentially be arrested for being intoxicated and operating any sort of device capable of transporting a person from one place to another including scooters, skateboards, golf carts, and lawnmowers. Florida Statute 316.193 makes it illegal to drive a “vehicle” while your normal facilities are impaired by certain intoxicating substances. A “vehicle” as defined in §316.003 includes any device upon which a person can be transported upon a highway, except devices used exclusively on stationary rails or tracks. Florida courts reason that if the legislature intended to exclude bicyclists, they could have made § 316.193 applicable only to “motor vehicles,” as the definition of a motor vehicle excludes bicycles. See State v. Howard, 510 So.2d 612 (Fla. 3d DCA 1987).