No one ever plans on getting arrested for a DUI, but it does happen. This is what you can expect if you are being arrested for driving under the influence in St. Petersburg, Tampa, Bradenton or any part of Florida.
The Traffic Stop. The first stage of a DUI arrest is the traffic stop. St. Petersburg Police officers and other local law enforcement agencies can pull you over if they consider your driving to be dangerous or erratic. Every interaction a police officer has with you is an opportunity for them to collect evidence against you, which is why you should politely decline to answer any questions until you have spoken to your DUI attorney. Police are also watching your behavior and demeanor for evidence of intoxication.
The Investigation. If the officer suspects that the driver of being under the influence, the DUI investigation begins. The officer will ask you to take a field sobriety test and a chemical test of your breath, blood, or urine. Even if you refuse to consent to these, the officer can arrest you if they believe you were drinking and driving.
The Arrest. The officer will place you in the back of a patrol car and transport you to the police station holding cell or local jail, where you will be booked. Stay calm and quiet.
Booking. Booking is the process of recording the arrest at the law enforcement station. If arrested for DUI, you will be fingerprinted, photographed, searched, and asked to answer questions. Remember you do have rights in a DUI case – you should politely decline to answer questions until you speak to a lawyer. In many cases, you may be released after booking. If not, you will be given the opportunity to post bail in exchange for being released form custody.
Preliminary Hearing. Normally, the next step is the preliminary hearing. This is held to determine if there is enough evidence or probable cause to uphold the DUI charge. If a judge believes that there is, then the case will be scheduled for trial. (If you hire an attorney, they would represent you at this stage.) This is also when the court suspends your license for one year while issuing a 10-day temporary driving permit that serves as your driver’s license while you await confirmation of blood alcohol content results.
Trial. At the trial, the prosecution and your DUI attorney will present information to the judge and the jury. The judge decides what evidence the jury sees and hears, and the jury decides what to make of the evidence presented.
Sentencing. Sentencing is when the judge or jury reveals the verdict of the trial and announces any DUI punishments. In most cases, sentencing immediately follows the verdict. Your experienced DUI lawyer can help you understand the sentencing of your case and may be able to file an appeal.
Costs. There are many costs associated with a DUI/DWI charge in Florida.
Insurance Costs. By getting a DUI/DWI in Florida, you violate your insurance policy. Depending on the circumstances, your insurance company may have a right to pursue you for their payout because you are breaching the insurance policy by driving while intoxicated. You risk higher premiums as well.
Fines. If bail is set, it can range from costing several hundred to several thousand dollars, which will be returned to you minus the nonrefundable FL DUI court fees. You may also have to pay towing and impound fees to get your car back, costing at least $100 to $200. If you are convicted, you will pay a fine ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars even for first-time offenders.
Ignition Interlock Device. First-time offenders can also be ordered to install an Ignition Interlock Device, a machine that records your blood alcohol content and only unlocks your car if your BAC us below a set limit. Installation typically costs $100–$200, with the monthly rental fees ranging from $70 to $100. Regular maintenance cost extra.
A driving under the influence offense charge in St. Petersburg and the rest of the state could also impact future employment opportunities, affect the status of a professional license, and convictions will be a matter of public record. We can help you in determining your defense options, discuss how much you can expect fighting your DUI case will cost. After reviewing your own particular arrest details of what happened, most DUI attorneys can help lower the immediate DUI costs by offering you flexible payments and financing options to help with paying for fees for your DUI/DWI defense in Florida.
Arrested for DUI in St. Petersburg? Call an Attorney
In the event that you or someone you know is injured or involved in a DUI arrest in St. Pete or anywhere else in Tampa Bay, please call us at (855) 680-4911 or use the form below so that we can protect your claim and discuss your legal options. We offer FREE CONSULTATIONS so don’t hesitate to contact us now.