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DUI FAQs

Honest Advice From An Experienced Florida DUI Law Firm

If you have been charged with DUI in Florida, knowing where you can find accurate information can be a challenge. That's why we created this section devoted to some of the most frequently asked questions about DUI charges in our DUI overview section.

At the Clay County, Florida law firm of Aguilar & Sieron, P.A., we know you want answers to your important legal questions right away. That's why we encourage you to ask us any questions you have about your DUI case. Simply contact our law firm and schedule an appointment.

What is Your Question?

What is a DUI?

DUI is an abbreviation for "Driving Under the Influence." In Florida, DUI often refers to people driving under the influence of alcohol. But DUI can also mean any other controlled substance, including illegal drugs (marijuana, cocaine, etc.) or over-the-counter drugs like painkillers.

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What's the difference between DUI and DWI?

DWI is an abbreviation for "Driving While Intoxicated." There is no charge entitled Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in Florida.  Instead, Florida's DUI law prohibits "driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances to the extent your normal faculties are impaired." Some people simply use one expression or another, but Florida law enforcement officials, prosecutors and judges use the term DUI when referring to impaired driving.

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Are Florida's DUI laws different than other states?

Yes. Each state has its own unique DUI laws. That's why it's critical that you have a lawyer on your side who thoroughly understands how the legal system works in Florida if you have been charged with DUI in Clay County or elsewhere in Northeast Florida.

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What is the legal limit for being impaired while driving in Florida?

In most cases, the legal limit for being considered under the influence while driving in Florida is 0.08 percent blood alcohol level (BAL) or blood alcohol concentration (BAC). However, different rules apply to certain drivers in Florida. These include:

  • Drivers under 21 years old - Charged with DUI if BAL is 0.02 percent or higher.
  • Commercial drivers - Charged with DUI if BAL is 0.04 percent or higher.

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Can I appeal my license suspension after a DUI arrest in Florida?

Yes. Under Florida law, the law enforcement officer may administratively suspend your driver's license if you have an unlawful blood alcohol level or if you refuse to take the breathalyzer test. You can appeal your license suspension under certain circumstances, but you must do so within 10 days of your arrest. We strongly encourage you to do so with our assistance. Our experienced Florida DUI law firm will represent you in the administrative hearing and take the testimony of the critical witnesses at that hearing.  We enjoy an outstanding track record of winning these hearings, allowing our clients to have their driver's license returned with no restrictions.

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How much time do I have to appeal my license suspension after a DUI arrest in Florida?

In most cases, you have 10 days after your DUI arrest in Florida to appeal the suspension. That's why it's critical that you contact our law firm as soon as possible after your arrest to discuss the details of your case.

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What are some reasons why a DUI arrest can be unlawful in Florida?

There are many reasons why a DUI arrest can be found to be unlawful in Florida. Some of the most common reasons include:

  • Stopping a driver without reasonable suspicion
  • Blood or urine samples improperly stored
  • Breathalyzer testing equipment defective or improperly inspected and maintained
  • Law enforcement officers failed to follow Florida's DUI regulations

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Should I answer a police officer's questions if I'm stopped for DUI?

Politely give your name and address to the police officer. However, do not answer any other questions if you are pulled over by a police officer under suspicion of impaired driving. Anything you say can later be used against you in court. Often, your actions and words are being video-recorded by the police officer

If you do feel compelled to answer the police officer's questions, remember to simply keep your answers short and polite. "Yes sir/maam" or "no sir/maam" are complete answers. You do not - and should not - say anything else. You have the right under the U.S. Constitution's Fifth Amendment to decline to answer such questions.

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Do I have to take a breathalyzer test in Florida?

Technically, no. But it is important to understand that there are legal consequences for refusing to take a breathalyzer test in Florida. If you refuse to take a breathalyzer test and this is your 1st refusal, your driver's license will be suspended for 12 months. If this is your 2nd or subsequent refusal, your driver's license will be suspended for 18 months. It is a criminal offense in Florida to refuse to take the breathalyzer test, therefore there is a possibility of jail time, but this is rare.

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Should I refuse to take a breathalyzer test in Florida?

In general, yes. You should refuse to take a breathalyzer test in Florida if you are stopped for suspicion of DUI. However, if you have not been drinking or drank only a drink or two, taking the test might be the best action. Just be aware that the Florida Supreme Court ruled in 2011 that a person's driver's license could not legally be suspended for refusing to take a breathalyzer test if the DUI arrest was unlawful.

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What is implied consent and what does it have to do with Florida DUI tests?

Drivers charged with DUI must take a breath, blood or urine test under Florida's implied consent law. That means that by accepting a driver's license in Florida, you have automatically consented to taking one of these DUI tests.

If you refuse to take one of these tests, your driver's license can automatically be suspended for 12 to 18 months depending on whether you have been previously refused to submit to a blood, breath or urine test.

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What types of things can affect a breathalyzer test?

There are many reasons why a breathalyzer test can produce inaccurate results. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Defective or improperly maintained equipment
  • Diabetes
  • Chemical exposure
  • Diet (low carbohydrate, high protein diets can affect results)
  • Burping before taking the test can produce false results
  • False teeth

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Will I lose my driver's license if I refuse to take a breathalyzer test in Florida?

Perhaps. In most cases, the answer is yes, your driver's license will be suspended for 12 months to 18 months if you refuse to take a breathalyzer test in Florida. However, you may be able to get your driver's license reinstated sooner if you take legal action immediately. That's why it's important to contact an experienced Florida DUI lawyer.

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What is a field sobriety test?

Field sobriety tests are tests sometimes given by police officers at the scene of a traffic stop intended to determine if a driver is operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. Such tests include:

  • Walk and Turn
  • One Leg Stand
  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN)

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Do I have to take field sobriety exercises in Florida?

No. You absolutely do not have to take field sobriety exercises in Florida, although your failure to submit to these exercises may be used against you in court.  However, there is no penalty if you refuse to do so.

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Can I still drive in Florida if my driver's license is suspended due to a DUI?

Perhaps. If this is the first time you have been arrested for DUI in Florida, you may be able to drive if you successfully apply for a "hardship driver's license." However, you might not be able to apply for such a driver's license if you have been convicted of DUI in Florida two or more times. You may also be eligible for a temporary driving permit if your license has been suspended due to the DUI arrest. Obtaining temporary or hardship driver's licenses may be much easier with the immediate assistance of an experienced Florida DUI firm like Aguilar & Sieron, P.A.

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What is a Florida hardship driver's license?

A hardship driver's license is a restricted driver's license which allows people to drive under certain circumstances in Florida, even if they have been arrested and charged with DUI.

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Are there restrictions on a Florida hardship driver's license?

Yes. In general, there are two different types of hardship driver's licenses in Florida.

  • Business purpose hardship driver's license - Allows people to commute to work, drive for educational purposes, drive to church or for medical purposes.
  • Employment purpose hardship driver's licenses - Allows people to commute to work and drive for work-related purposes.

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Can I appeal my DUI conviction in Florida?

Yes. And we strongly encourage you to do so. If your DUI conviction is not overturned, you could face serious penalties, including fines, jail time and having your driver's license suspended or permanently revoked.

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Should I hire a lawyer if I'm charged with a DUI in Florida?

Yes. Often, you only have one opportunity for justice if you've been charged with a DUI in Florida. That's why it's critical that you have a knowledgeable legal team in your corner, fighting for your rights.

Florida DUI attorney Mark Sieron and his knowledgeable legal team have decades of experience successfully resolving DUI cases in Clay County and throughout Northeast Florida. Contact our law firm and schedule an appointment right now. We would be honored to serve your legal needs.

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