Tampa has an active social scene, and enjoying a night on the town is a common pursuit for people from all walks of life. Unfortunately, many people are not aware of just how few drinks it may take for them to become legally intoxicated.
Tampa law enforcement takes impaired driving seriously, issuing 4,499 citations in Hillsborough County in 2017 alone. If you have been arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence, not only may your freedom be at stake, but your livelihood and reputation as well.
When someone is charged with driving under the influence (DUI), it is imperative that they are informed of their options. Tampa has many attorneys, but if you have gotten a DUI, speak to a lawyer at Khonsari Law Group and learn if we can help you. Contact our office at (727) 269-5300 or online to schedule a free consultation.
When a person signs their Florida driver’s license, they are providing “implied consent.” That means that if they are pulled over under suspicion of impaired driving, they have already consented to a blood alcohol test. Such tests are most often administered via a Breathalyzer.
If a driver is aged 21 or older, and their blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 percent or higher, they will be charged with driving under the influence. There is zero tolerance for underage drivers with any blood alcohol content, meaning they will be charged with DUI if they register any percentage on a Breathalyzer test.
Drivers are within their rights to refuse a chemical test. However, it is important to note that a driver may receive additional charges for the refusal of any blood alcohol content test.
DUI Laws and Penalties in Tampa
DUI is a serious violation. If a driver registers between 0.08 and 0.14 BAC, they will be subject to mandatory penalties:
- First offense. Driver will be sentenced to between 0 and 180 days in jail, given a fine between $500 and $1,000, and sentenced to a maximum of 12 months probation. They will serve a mandatory 50 hours of community service and a maximum six-month license suspension.
- Second offense within five years. Jail time increases to between 10 and 270 days, fines increase to between $1,000 and $2,000, and a driver’s license could be suspended for five years. The driver’s vehicle may be immobilized for 30 days or more, and they may be required to install an interlock ignition device on their vehicle.
- Second offense outside of five years. Penalties for this conviction are similar to a first conviction; however, the driver could be sentenced to 270 days in jail and fines could reach $2,000. There is no mandatory community service, but the driver will have to install an interlock ignition device on their vehicle for at least a year.
- Third offense within 10 years. Driver will be sentenced to between 30 and 364 days in jail, receive fines between $2,000 and $5,000, and be sentenced to a maximum of 12 months probation. A driver’s license could be suspended for 10 years and their vehicle immobilized for 90 days or more. They will be forced to install an interlock ignition device on their vehicle for two years or more.
- Third offense outside of 10 years. Penalties are similar to a third offense within 10 years, but a judge may choose to sentence a driver to no jail time, and suspend their license for only six months. Their vehicle will be immobilized for a minimum of 10 days.
- Fourth offense. Driver may be sentenced to between 0 and 364 days in jail, and their license may be permanently revoked in addition to fines $5,000.
Anytime a driver’s BAC is 0.15 or above, or a child was a passenger in the vehicle at the time of arrest, penalties are enhanced.
A Strong Defense Makes the Difference
A charge is not the same as a conviction, and drivers with DUI charges maintain their rights in a court of law.
The defense lawyers at Khonsari Law Group fight vigorously on behalf of all of our clients. While we value the essential role law enforcement has in our community, we also know that officers are human and capable of making mistakes. Therefore, we always analyze every fact, and when needed, we will challenge the legality of a stop, the accuracy of a Breathalyzer test, or the inadequacy of proof of impairment. No matter the severity of charges, an experienced lawyer may help, and will make the defense necessary to ensure the best possible outcomes for a case.
Khonsari Law Group is Your Advocate
As a former prosecutor, Rohom Khonsari knows how the local criminal justice system operates, and he has years of experience serving clients who need a strong advocate on their side.
If you are charged with driving under the influence in Tampa, speak to a defense attorney as soon as possible. Contact Khonsari Law Group at (727) 269-5300 or online and learn if we can help you.