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Tampa Bay DUI Defense Lawyers

Have you or a loved one been charged with DUI in Florida? At Taracks Rickman & Associates we have over 50 combined years of experience fighting driving under the influence and related charges. We know you have a lot of questions right now. Consider this page to be a basic tutorial through Florida DUI law and feel free to call us for a free, confidential consultation if you want to discuss the specific facts of your case further.

You must act now to avoid a license suspension!

You only have ten (10) days from the date of your arrest to take action regarding your driver's license before an automatic suspension goes into effect. If this is your first DUI arrest, you have the option to waive your right to an appeal, which will result in you obtaining a hardship license good for driving for work, religious, school, or medical purposes, or "for any reason necessary to maintain your livelihood." If you refused to blow or provide a urine sample, the hardship license will be in place for one (1) year from the date of arrest. If you provided a sample and your blood-alcohol level was over .08 (the legal limit in Florida) then the hardship will be in place for a period of six (6) months from the date of arrest. Please note that to obtain a hardship license you must waive your right to appeal and also enroll in DUI School within the first ten (10) days.

Alternatively, you my challenge the suspension altogether. Your attorney will set a hearing with the DMV and if the officer is unable to prove the necessary elements your license will be reinstated. During the time that the appeal is pending you will be able to drive on a hardship license.

Your attorney will be able to advise you whether it is in your best interest to waive the appeal or to go forward with an appeal. Regardless of your decision, you must take action within ten (10) days to avoid a suspension automatically going in to effect! Should you fail to take action within ten (10) days, your license will automatically be suspended for ninety (90) days for a refusal or thirty (30) days for a sample over the legal limit.

Questions we ask when reviewing your case:

  • Were your Miranda rights read to you?
  • What was the reason for the stop?
  • Were you legally stopped?
  • Were you unlawfully arrested?
  • Were you asked to submit to a breath test?
  • Were you asked to submit to field sobriety exercises?
  • How did you perform on those exercises?
  • Did you "blow" or "refuse"?
  • Was there a video taken at the scene?
  • Was your breath test accurate?

If you have been arrested for DUI, all hope is not lost! Our firm's goal is to help you avoid a DUI conviction.

If you are convicted of DUI there are certain minimum mandatory sanctions that are required by law. We will fight to have your DUI dismissed through a technical or procedural error made by law enforcement, or by obtaining a "not guilty" verdict from a jury. Alternatively, we may be able to have the State reduce your DUI to a lesser charge of Reckless Driving, which removes the stigma associated with DUI and allows you to answer "no" if asked if you were ever convicted of DUI. Additionally you will avoid some of the mandatory penalties associated with DUI and may not have to carry high-risk auto insurance.

What are the first time DUI penalties in Florida?

1 st DUI (BAC Under .15) Minimum Penalties

  • $500 fine plus court costs
  • Probation
  • 50 community service hours
  • DUI School & Any Required Treatment
  • 10 Day Vehicle Impound
  • 6 Month License Suspension

1 st DUI (BAC Over .15) Minimum Penalties

  • $1,000 fine plus court costs
  • Probation
  • 50 community service hours
  • DUI School & Any Required Treatment
  • 10 Day Vehicle Impound
  • 6 Month License Suspension
  • 6 Month Vehicle Ignition Interlock Device

Subsequent DUI convictions result in increased penalties. For example, a second DUI within 5 years of the first conviction carries a MANDATORY 10 days in jail and a MANDATORY 5 year license revocation.

It is important to understand that DUI carries a MANDATORY conviction, meaning you are not eligible to have your record sealed or expunged if convicted of DUI.

What are the benefits of getting my DUI reduced to Reckless Driving?

Reckless Driving does not carry any of the aforementioned minimum mandatory sanctions associated with a DUI conviction. Your attorney may also be able to negotiate a "withhold" of adjudication with regards to an amended charge of reckless driving, which may make you eligible for a sealing or expunction of your record. This would also result in removal of your mug-shot from the Sheriff's Office website. Reckless Driving removes the stigma associated with DUI and will not require you to carry the increased auto insurance (SR-22/SR-44) associated with a DUI conviction. Essentially, Reckless Driving is Florida's answer to a "reduced" DUI.

Our firm has had great success in getting DUI's reduced to Reckless Driving in the Tampa Bay area. Many factors will come in to play, including your breath alcohol content; the reason for the traffic stop; your performance on field sobriety exercises; and your personal/professional background.

Let our experience work for you!

With over 50 years of combined experience, our firm is prepared to defend you against the DUI charge and fight the suspension of your license. Call us today for a free, confidential consultation with one of the attorneys on staff. We will help you understand the process and explain what the likely outcome of your case will be based on our experience. We also offer convenient payment plans if your case qualifies.