Okaloosa County DUI Lawyer
Being arrested on suspicion of a DUI can cause significant issues for someone, including their driving privileges as well as problems with their employer and the social stigma that comes with this type of arrest. However, DUI charges are simply that: an accusation of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol. A DUI conviction is much more impactful and can result in jail time, fines, loss of driver’s license, and much more.
Working with Okaloosa County DUI lawyers is one of the most critical steps that someone can take after an arrest to ensure that they can navigate these criminal defense matters towards the best possible outcome.
Our firm offers a free consultation to people who have been arrested for DUI/DWI, where we will be happy to discuss the specifics of your situation and give you a better idea of how we can help you move forward with your case.
Okaloosa County FL law enforcement is focused on making arrests and getting convictions, not helping you. It is important that you have an Okaloosa County criminal defense attorney looking out for your best interests in this situation.
By any name, drunk driving is a serious crime. Taking on this type of case with experienced legal counsel will give you the support you need to build a comprehensive DUI defense throughout your criminal case.
Read more below about Okaloosa County DUI charges and legal options. Contact us as soon as possible to connect with our team of criminal defense attorneys today.
What Is DUI?
DUI, sometimes referred to as DWI in other states, stands for Driving Under the Influence (fka Driving While Intoxicated) and can apply to both “drunk driving” and operating a vehicle under the influence of other mind-altering substances such as cannabis or prescription pills.
Alcohol is measured by a Blood Alcohol Content, or BAC, and the limit for an adult over 21 operating a passenger vehicle is 0.08. Adults operating commercial vehicles are subject to a BAC limit of 0.04, and drivers under 21 in Florida can be charged with an Okaloosa County DUI for having a BAC at or over .02.
BAC is often explained in terms of the number of drinks, but be aware that many different factors determine how many drinks it takes for someone to be considered intoxicated. Knowing your limits is important to stay safe and out of legal trouble.
In addition to BAC, operating a vehicle under the influence of scheduled drugs is also considered a DUI even though they will not register on a breath or sometimes even a blood test.
While this can be trickier for an officer to determine, there is still a strong possibility of being charged with a DUI if you are impaired in any capacity whether alcohol or drugs are actually involved.
What To Do If Pulled Over On Suspicion of an Okaloosa County DUI
When pulled over on suspicion of DUI in Okaloosa County, an officer will try to get the driver to take a battery of field sobriety tests such as a toe-heel walk, nystagmus test, and more, but these tests are highly subjective and up to the discretion of the attending officer to determine whether or not the driver has passed or failed.
It is in all drivers’ best interests to avoid submitting to these tests, as there is no law or statute requiring drivers to do so.
Consequences of Refusing a Field Sobriety Test
However, you must understand that refusing a sobriety test comes with secondary consequences such as an administrative driver’s license suspension (your driver’s license is issued by the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles department, and you agree to submit to this test or lose your license). In either case, it is typically in your best interest to refuse the field test and only submit to a blood test at the station, which is far more accurate than the decision a police officer will make on the side of a road.
Most people want to stay polite and helpful during a traffic stop, and while any attorney will agree that being polite with law enforcement is a great idea, accommodating their every request is not.
During your DUI stop, the officer will be looking for anything you do or say that they can use against you in court, and remember that there is nothing you can say that will keep you from being arrested.
Follow their instructions, comply as necessary, and let your DUI lawyer sort out your law options in the aftermath.
When To Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer After a DUI Arrest.
Once you are booked for a drunk driving offense, you will have the opportunity to make a call. We encourage you to connect with our law firm for this call so that you can get immediate legal advice on how to proceed and minimize your chances of serious DUI penalties for your criminal offense.
Our team understands DUI defense and has years of experience helping people in situations just like you, so following our advice will help you stay within the law after being arrested while also focusing on minimizing the consequences and penalties you will face in court.
Do Not Go To Your Arraignment Without Speaking With an Attorney
You should do so before your arraignment. Any former prosecutor will agree that the steps taken during your arraignment will have a long-term impact on your case because you may agree to terms that seem favorable in the moment but will only cause greater problems with the law as you start to understand the consequences.
An even more important consideration is that “courthouse surprise”, an unexpected first offender jail sentence attached to probation as a condition, most frequently occurs in DUI cases. There is no other misdemeanor crime in Florida as likely to result in “courthouse surprise” at arraignment (called Plea Day in Okaloosa County) than a DUI charge.
Your attorney will be able to help you navigate the arraignment and decide the best steps to take to build a solid DUI defense from the start using their comprehensive knowledge of DUI law.
Contact a DUI Defense Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with drunk driving, contact our law firm as soon as possible to connect with an attorney who can help you make sense of your options under Florida law. Each attorney at our law firm has the experience you can rely on to navigate the complexities of this type of law. During your initial consultation, we will go through the details of your case and help you understand the importance of working with an attorney each step of the way.
Contact our law firm today to request a free consultation with a proven DUI attorney in Okaloosa County. Florida Criminal Defense Legal Group is known and respected in the Florida courts, and you can be confident in your attorney as we work to help you navigate this complicated situation.