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Expert Defense Attorneys Dedicated to Your Case

Melbourne DUI Lawyers

Man taking breathalyzer test

Consequences of a DUI Conviction in Florida

In Florida, anyone stopped by law enforcement and having a blood-alcohol level of more than 0.08 or refusing to take the testing will have an immediate administrative driver’s license suspension of between six and eighteen months.

The other possible penalties for a DUI conviction include:

  • Fines
  • Driver’s license suspension
  • Vehicle impoundment
  • Community service
  • Imprisonment

In addition to the penalties imposed by the court, you will have a permanent conviction on your record. You will have to contend with the social consequences of a DUI conviction and your record may limit employment opportunities in fields that require applicants to have a clean driving record. You will pay significantly higher rates for car insurance, even after your driver’s license is reinstated.

Our DUI lawyers in Melbourne can advise you of options that may be possible in your situation, such as business purpose licenses, challenging the suspension, or completing an educational program to regain your license. At Funk, Szachacz & Diamond, our Board Certified DUI attorneys in Melbourne represent clients facing charges pertaining to drunk driving. We are available 24/7.​​​​

Call (321) 360-4446 any time to get advice from experienced Melbourne DUI attorneys from our firm.

DUI Charges in Florida

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) ranks fourth behind larceny, narcotics and assault as Florida's most common crime.

DUI can be committed in a few ways: The first is driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or certain prohibited substances to the extent that a person's normal faculties are impaired.

Alternatively, someone can be charged with a DUI without impaired faculties, but with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher, while in physical control of a vehicle.

However, you don’t actually have to be driving to be charged with DUI. People have been charged with DUI for sitting in the driver’s seat with the keys nearby, even if he or she is not actually driving the car.

Actual physical control is not clearly defined under Florida law, but courts seem to interpret the phrase to mean that the person was near the driver's seat and, if he or she wanted to, could have driven.

For example, if an intoxicated person is seated behind the wheel or lying on the seat near the wheel of a stationary vehicle with the keys in the ignition or nearby, he or she can be charged with DUI. It should also be noted that Florida's DUI laws apply to any kind of vehicle, including bicycles and farm equipment.

What are the sequence of events for a typical DUI case?

After stopping a vehicle, a law enforcement officer will either order the driver to exit the car or approach the car while the driver remains inside. Under Florida law, a driver is required, if asked, to produce a vehicle registration document, proof of insurance, and a driver's license to the officer.

A driver has no legal obligation to answer any questions asked by the officer, including those related to sobriety, destination, or point of departure.

The officer may ask the driver to exit the car and, with reasonable suspicion, perform roadside tests. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has devised three tests believed to indicate impairment: an eye test, a walk-and-turn test and a stand-on-one-leg test.

Some officers may use variations of these tests. The driver, however, is under no legal obligation to perform the tests (though evidence of a driver's refusal can be used in court). If, in the officer's opinion, there is probable cause to believe a person is guilty of DUI, he or she will be arrested.

DUI Penalties

Even if a person is not convicted of DUI, the penalties can be severe. Under Florida law, anyone stopped by a law enforcement officer and given a breath test indicating a blood alcohol level of more than 0.08 percent or anyone who refuses to take a breath, blood or urine test faces, after thirty days of the arrest, an immediate administrative suspension of his or her driver's license for six to eighteen months.

A first offender must then wait thirty to ninety days after the effective date of his or her license suspension in order to be eligible for a "business purpose only license."

A person may challenge the suspension, but should it not be reversed, the offender must complete an educational program to regain his or her license after the suspension period expires. The increased cost of automobile insurance due to an alcohol-related suspension is often substantial.

Penalties for First-Time Convictions:

  • A fine of $250-500
  • Imprisonment of up to six months
  • Suspension of his or her driver's license (even if the license was already administratively suspended by the arresting police officer)
  • Fees and costs (usually around $1,000)
  • The impoundment of his or her vehicle for ten days, probation for up to one year
  • A minimum of fifty hours of community service
  • A permanent criminal misdemeanor conviction on his or her record

Moreover, the cost of his or her automobile insurance will likely triple over the next three years and the offender will have to face the social consequences of being a known DUI offender.

Penalties for Subsequent DUI Convictions:

  • A fine of $500-1,000
  • Up to nine months in jail with a mandatory minimum of ten days in jail
  • Impoundment of the offender's vehicle for thirty days (if the second conviction is within three years of first conviction)
  • Driver's license suspension of at least five years
  • Fees and costs of about $1,500 not including the cost of insurance, which will be extremely high

A fourth DUI conviction is a felony, regardless of the time period, and the offender's license is permanently revoked. If there is any property damage, personal injury or death involved in a DUI incident, a person faces up to fifteen years in prison, depending on the circumstances.

Implied Consent and the Right to Refuse Testing

Florida law provides that any driver operating a motor vehicle within the state who is lawfully arrested for DUI must consent to a chemical or physical test for the purpose of detecting alcohol or any other prohibited substance.

The test may take the form of breath, blood or urine analysis. If a person refuses to take a test, his or her license will be administratively suspended for one year. If a person takes a test and is determined to have driven or been in control of a vehicle with a blood-alcohol level of more than 0.08 percent, his or her license will be administratively suspended for six to eighteen months, depending on the circumstances.

Remember that an administrative suspension of a driver's license is separate from, and often in addition to, the penalties of a DUI conviction.

DUI Trial

Under the United States system of justice, all defendants are innocent until proven guilty. To prove a defendant guilty of DUI, the prosecution must persuade a jury (or a judge) that the defendant committed the crime "beyond a reasonable doubt." This standard of proof is higher than that required in a civil trial.

To find someone guilty beyond a reasonable doubt is to believe that, in light of the evidence presented, there are no doubts of the defendant's guilt based on reason. There may be fanciful or unlikely doubts, but no reasonable doubts.

A defendant's attorney will closely scrutinize all elements of the case against his or her client but will pay particular attention to the procedures the police followed in arresting and testing the defendant.

If, for example, the prosecution fails to prove the police had probable cause to stop and arrest the defendant, the case will fail even if the defendant was indeed driving drunk. Police are constitutionally prohibited from indiscriminately stopping or arresting people.

Another argument a defense attorney might make is that while the defendant may have had a blood alcohol level of more than 0.08 percent at the time of the test, when he or she was stopped, his or her blood alcohol level was still within legal bounds.

The level of alcohol in a person's bloodstream does not immediately increase upon drinking alcohol. The absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream takes time and is based on a variety of factors (e.g., a person's weight, metabolism, amount of food in the stomach). If the police arrested the defendant before he or she was legally drunk, the defendant may be acquitted.

Appealing a DUI

If a defendant is convicted of DUI, he or she is still entitled to an appeal. Appeals from a guilty plea concern only the correctness of the sentence, not the innocence or guilt of the defendant. Appeals from a conviction relate to whether the defendant's right to trial was violated in any substantial way.

If you have been arrested for drunk driving, call (321) 360-4446 for immediate assistance from a Melbourne DUI attorney.

Our Case Results

From murder charges to alleged fraud, our case successes speak for themselves. Our clients themselves testify to the premium care that our firm holds as a standard for all of our cases.
  • No Incarceration Mr. R. was a member of a group of boys alleged to have committed the racially motivated “Pizza Hut” homicide. Indicted for murder, the firm’s partners successfully negotiated a resolution that resulted in no incarceration for Mr. R. “Pizza Hut” Homicide Homicide
  • Dismissed Woman charged with 10 counts of Lewd and Lascivious Acts Upon a Child and 2 counts of felony Interference With Custody. On the eve of trial, partners successfully negotiated a misdemeanor resolution with no penalty. The government dismissed all 10 counts of Lewd and Lascivious Acts Upon a Child and all other felonies. 10 Counts of Lewd and Lascivious Acts upon a Child and 2 Counts of Felony Interference with Custody. Sex Crimes
  • Dismissed The country’s largest cattle dealer, Mr. P. and his company, Anthony Livestock, was charged by the Federal Government in an 13 count indictment. The indictment alleged a scheme to defraud numerous cattle feeding companies over a 5 year period. After the initial indictment and 4 superseding indictments later, Mr. P. continued to maintain his innocence. After selecting the jury and cross examining the Governments witnesses, at the close of the Governments case, the lawyers of Funk, Szachacz & Diamond fashioned an argument to dismiss the remaining Wire Fraud count. The former Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court of Kansas heard arguments and agreed with the firm that the case should be dismissed in its entirety. Mr. P. remains free of any convictions today 13 Count Indictment Federal Crimes
  • Dismissed Mr. G. was the target of a massive investigation by the Office of the Statewide Prosecution. The Government was alleging a 15 county fraud throughout Florida as a result of three devastating hurricanes. The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office assigned an Agent to work full-time to investigate Mr. G. After the firm took the unusual step of calling the Agent and the Assistant Statewide Prosecutor as witnesses in a pre-trial hearing and after demanding a speedy trial, the Government abandoned its prosecution on the morning of trial thereby completely exonerating Mr. G. 15 County Fraud Throughout Florida White Collar/ Fraud
  • Acquitted A NASA Quality Assurance Specialist working in the Space Shuttle Program, Mr. T. was charged in a unique federal indictment alleging 166-counts of Fraud Involving Space Vehicle Parts. He was first accused shortly after the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. Facing 1,600+ years in federal prison, Mr. T. demanded his trial. Mr. T. was acquitted of all 166 crimes he was accused of by the Federal Government. 166-Counts of Fraud Involving Space Vehicle Parts Federal Crimes
  • Dismissed An astute businessman, Mr. B. was charged by the Federal Government in an 18 count indictment. The indictment was the first of its kind in the U.S. alleging a 42 million dollar fraud involving the Federal Lifeline Program, some calling it the "Obamaphone" prosecution. The indictment included charges of Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, Wire Fraud, Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering, Monetary Transactions Involving Unlawful Property, Mail Fraud and Money Laundering. The Washington D.C. based investigation culminated in the collection and production of 2.4 million documents. The U.S. District Court declared the prosecution "complex, as a matter of law." Maintaining his innocence from the day Mr. B. was referred to the firm, Mr. B. demanded a jury trial. After two superseding indictments, Mr. B. continued to maintain his innocence. After extensive pre-trial litigation, including accusations of Governmental misconduct and on the eve of trial, the Government abandoned all charges except Mail Fraud. After selecting the jury and cross examining the Governments witnesses, at the close of the Governments case, the lawyers of Funk, Szachacz & Diamond fashioned an argument to dismiss the Mail Fraud. The Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court heard arguments and agreed with the firm that the case should be dismissed in its entirety. Mr. B. successfully recovered all of his seized assets and remains free of any convictions today. 18 Count Indictment Federal Crimes
  • No Incarceration The son of a prominent doctor, Mr. M. was arrested and charged with a 1st degree felony driving crash that resulted in death. Facing 30 years in prison, the firm investigated and garnered a sentence involving no incarceration for young Mr. M. 1st Degree Felony Homicide
  • Acquitted Dubbed the "Black Widow" by the government; Ms. S. was accused of 1st degree murder for the death of her 5th husband. After the attorneys conducted 3 years of consultation with experts, 100+ depositions and investigation in 5 countries, Ms. S. requested a jury trial. She had her trial and was acquitted of 1st degree murder, walking out of the courtroom a free woman. 1st Degree Murder Homicide
  • Dismissed A prominent home builder, Mr. J. was arrested and formally charged by the Office of the State Attorney with 1st degree Organized Fraud, Felony False Statement and 2nd degree Felony Misapplication of Funds. After the firm conducted a massive 3.5 year pre-trial investigation and amid an ABC News exposé on Mr. J., the Government dismissed all counts. 1st Degree Organized Fraud, Felony False Statement and 2nd Degree Felony Misapplication of Funds. White Collar/ Fraud
  • Dismissed Mr. C. was arrested and charged with 2 counts of Willful Malicious Burning of Lands in the infamous Mothers Day fires in Palm Bay, Florida which resulted in 12,000 acres burning and over 180 homes either destroyed or damaged. Amidst national press coverage and intense media scrutiny, the lawyers of the firm immediately came to Mr. C.’s defense. After conducting its own investigation and consulting with the Office of the State Attorney, the Government dismissed all charges against Mr. C. and publicly stated that there was insufficient evidence against Mr. C. 2 Counts of Willful Malicious Burning of Lands in the Infamous Mothers Day Fires in Palm Bay, Florida Other Cases
  • ICC
  • Brevard County Bar
  • American Inns of Court
  • National Trial Lawyers Top 100
  • World Justice Project
  • Avvo Alan
  • Avvo Kepler

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Entrust your case to a proven and esteemed defense team.
  1. All of our attorneys are certified by the Florida State Bar, making them the only all certified team in the state.
  2. We do not cut corners. Every case is handled with the utmost integrity and complete honesty.
  3. From NASA employees to school teachers, our team has an undeniable track record of success.
  4. We take your case seriously and personally. You deserve diligent representation.
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