Nobody plans to have to defend against a DUI charge.
But here you are.
And now the State Attorney is trying to convict you of a serious crime. You're subject to driver license suspension. And it does not take a rocket scientist to know that this can devastate your employment prospects in the future.
We know what you're going through. And with 6 former Pinellas County/ Sixth Judicial Circuit prosecuting attorneys on our team, we know exactly what it takes to defend you. While we utilize an approach to designing DUI defenses, we assign a specific attorney to spearhead your case and fight your charge.
To learn more, feel free to review our information below:
Most DUI's that happen in St. Petersburg follows a certain process.
In the majority of cases the DUI begins with an officer pulling over a driver. The big police agencies include the St. Pete Police, the Pinellas County Sherriff's office, or the Florida Highway Patrol Law Enforcement.
Sometimes the stop is a violation of a traffic infraction (think speeding). Other times it is because the stopping officer sees funny driving that makes him think he might have a DUI driver.
Sometimes the DUI investigation starts after an auto accident or traffic crash.
Often the stopping cop is not thoroughly trained in investigating DUI's so he calls out a DUI Specialist from the Pinellas County Sherriff's office to complete an "investigation".
The "specialist" will say he notices slurred speech and bloodshot watery eyes on the driver.
He'll then try to get the driver to complete some sobriety exercises. Hopping on a foot. Walking a line.
After that, he will declare that the driver failed the test. He will place the driver under arrested for DUI. He will transport the driver back to the station and ask the driver to blow into a breath test machine. At no point will he allow the driver the opportunity to call a criminal defense attorney.
The driver may blow into the machine. if the driver blows over a .08 or refuses to blow, the driver's license will be taken away.
In the morning the driver bonds out of jail. Gets his car from the tow driver. And realizes that he is now charged with a crime punishable by jail.The driver also recognizes his license will be suspended for ten days.
So the driver begins researching for DUI lawyers in St. Petersburg that will help solve this terrible problem.
Pinellas County is aggressive with DUI enforcement. It even calls its DUI squad, "the Wolfpack".
The police and the State Attorney Bernie McCabe work hand in hand. So it's not surprising that Pinellas County is aggressive prosecuting DUI's and more difficult than the average county for a Drunk Driving Defense Lawyer to get a DUI reduced.
Furthermore, Pinellas County refuses to allow even first time DUI offenders to enter into drug court.
A first time DUI conviction carries up to 12 months probation and a minimum fine of $1000.00. Jail is a possibility, but unlikely if the DUI did not result in property damage or injury to another. Expect your license to be suspended by the County Court Judge for a minimum of 6 months.
Also expect substance abuse evaluations and treatment. And expect to take DUI school with the Suncoast Safety Council in St. Petersburg.
A 2nd DUI that occurs within 5 years of a previous conviction does carry a minimum of ten days in the county jail., higher fines, a longer driver's license suspension, and an ignition interlock.
A 3rd DUI that occurs within ten years of a previous DUI is a felony. There is minimum mandatory jail time of 30 days in jail.
So how does a St. Petersburg DUI lawyer help? How can a lawyer help avoid harsh penalties?
Simple. These penalties will only apply if there is a conviction for a DUI.
So for a first time DUI offender, avoiding the DUI conviction means avoiding some or all of the penalties.
That makes the end goal a dismissal of the charge or a reduction of the charge to something else like reckless driving.
A good lawyer can do this in a number of ways. First, by removing some of the evidence from consideration by the State Attorney or Judge. If the attorney can suppress some or all of the evidence, then the State Attorney may not be able to proceed on a DUI and have to reduce the charge or dismiss it. This is done via Motions in Court, including motions to suppress and motions to dismiss.
Second, by good negotiation. A good DUI lawyer can often show the State Attorney what is special about you and why you deserve to have your charge reduced. This is especially true with first-time offenders without aggravating circumstances associated with the arrest.
Third, by trial. Sometimes the best way to handle a DUI charge is to present the case to a Jury of your peers. All DUI jury trials in Pinella County are held at the criminal justice center on 49th Street. If you are exonerated by a Jury then the charges are the same as dismissed.
Simply fill out the form below or call us at 727-493-5610 and speak to one of our Pinellas County DUI Attorneys today for your free initial consultation. We have six former prosecutors from Pinellas County in our office. We know the importance of speaking to a criminal defense lawyer for a direct legal advice, so a member of our team will set you up with a free consultation with an attorney to discuss your case. The consultation can be the same day if you request. At the DUI case evaluation, your DUI lawyer will break down a customized game plan to attack your DUI.