What Should I Do If I'm Charged with Driving Under the Influence?
Advice You Can Use From A Clay County DUI Lawyer You Can Trust
Trying to figure out what to do if you have been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) in Florida can be overwhelming. The arresting police officer might tell you to do one thing. Friends or family members might tell you to do something completely different. What's the right answer? Who should you trust?
We understand how confused you might be about your DUI charge. That's why we want to help. At Aguilar & Sieron, our legal team has decades of experience handling some of the most complicated DUI cases in Clay County and Northern Florida. Attorney Mark Sieron in particular has more than three decades of experience defending the rights of people charged with DUI.
The decisions you make after being charged with DUI in Florida can have a significant impact on the rest of your life. You could be fined thousands of dollars, lose your driver's license and even serve several days or months in jail.
It's also important to remember that you often only have a limited amount of time to take legal action after you have been formally charged with DUI in Florida. The state has very strict deadlines when it comes to appealing your case or applying for a restricted driver's license. That's why it's critical that you contact our law firm immediately. We're available 24 hours a day.
What You Should Do
If you have been charged with DUI in Florida, we strongly advise you to take the following steps:
- Remain silent - Once you have been charged with DUI, you have the right to refuse to answer any questions law enforcement officials ask you. Anything you say can be used against you in a court of law. That's why it's always smart to stay silent.
- Be polite - If police do ask you questions and you do choose to answer them, keep your answers short and polite. "Yes, sir" or "no, ma'am" will often be enough. You do not need to say anything else. And if you don't want to answer any questions, staying silent is probably the smartest thing to do.
- Request a lawyer - You have the right to request an attorney to represent you. Do it. We explain in more detail below the reasons why. The point is you can - and should - ask for legal counsel as soon as possible after your arrest.
- Remain calm - Even if you don't say anything, police officers will likely observe you for any unusual behavior. If you can't remain upright or lose your balance, they might try to claim that you appeared intoxicated. Sit still, stay quiet and wait for your lawyer.
- Pay attention - Watch the police officers watching you. Try to remember as much as you can about what they did before and after they arrested you.
- Did they read you your Miranda rights?
- Did they physically harm you in any way?
- How did they administer a breathalyzer test?
- If they administered a blood test, what did they do with the test sample?
- Did the police allow you to call a lawyer when you asked for one?
Every detail matters, especially when it comes to something as serious as being charged with DUI in Florida. The more information you have, the stronger your case will likely be.
Should I plead guilty to DUI in Florida?
No. You should absolutely not plead guilty to DUI in Florida and here's why. If you plead guilty right away, you will forfeit the opportunity to exercise all other legal options available to you. These options could include:
- Getting your charges dismissed
- Agreeing to a non-criminal plea deal
- Receiving a restricted driver's license to drive to work and school
- Reducing the amount you owe in fines
- Avoiding jail time
Don't simply assume there's nothing you can do if you have been charged with DUI. Even if the arresting police officer insists it's in your best interests to plead guilty to DUI, make sure you talk to a lawyer first. The police officer might be right. But you won't know for sure until you talk to an attorney who understands how the legal system works in Florida and who's looking out for your best interests.
That's why we strongly urge you to contact our law firm. Florida DUI attorney Mark Sieron has been defending the rights of people charged with drunk driving since 1985. A former prosecutor, attorney Sieron knows how to analyze arrest reports and find the facts needed to produce positive results. We would be honored to serve your legal needs. Contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Why should I hire a lawyer if I'm charged with DUI?
There are so many reasons why you should hire a lawyer if you have been charged with drunk driving in Florida. Some of the major reasons:
- Your lawyer can request to have your charges dismissed - This is the first and most important step any attorney should take if you have been charged with DUI in Florida. The sooner you can get your charges dismissed, the sooner you can get your life back to normal.
- Experienced DUI attorneys understand the law - Years of experience have taught lawyers what to look for if someone has been charged with drunk driving. Don't try to represent yourself. You could easily miss an important detail that could dramatically change the outcome of your case.
- Your lawyer can speak on your behalf - Once you hire a lawyer, you don't need to talk to the police anymore if you don't want to do so. Your lawyer can speak entirely on your behalf, with your approval. This approach often pays off since attorneys know what to say based on years of handling DUI cases.
- Your lawyer can analyze your arrest report - A knowledgeable attorney can often find inconsistencies in a client's arrest report. Perhaps the arresting officer filled the form out incorrectly - or failed to follow Florida's DUI laws. Clues to such infractions may exist in your arrest report and your attorney may be able to find them.
- Your lawyer can help you apply for a temporary driver's license - If your driver's license has been revoked or suspended due to your DUI charge, your job could be in jeopardy if you can't drive to work. We can help you apply for a hardship driver's license. These licenses allow people to legally drive to work or school.
- Your lawyer can contest the administrative suspension of your driver's license - If the police officer takes your driver's license on the night of the arrest, your lawyer can contest the suspension of your license by requesting a formal review at the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle (DHSMV).
- Your lawyer can file motions with the Court - Where appropriate, a lawyer can file motions to suppress evidence (like breathalyzer results) or dismiss charges. If these motions are granted, the charges are often dismissed.
- Your lawyer can represent you in court - Representing yourself in court could be a serious mistake. The judge or prosecutor might say things you don't understand. And if you don't respond immediately in court, you could miss out on opportunities to have your charges dismissed or penalties reduced.
- Your lawyer can appear for you in court - Your lawyer can file a Waiver of Appearance, a document that allows your lawyer to appear for you in most court hearings, allowing you to resume your normal life.
- Your lawyer can appeal your DUI conviction - Just because you have been convicted of DUI in Florida doesn't mean you have run out of options. A lawyer can help you file an appeal or take other legal action on your behalf to have your DUI conviction overturned or your charges dismissed.
You have rights. We can fight for them. Contact Aguilar & Sieron. Not all lawyers are the same. Attorney Mark Sieron stands out for a reason. He's been representing people charged with DUI in Florida for more than three decades. He knows how the legal system works in Clay County and throughout Northeast Florida and how to produce results. Contact us today. We're eager to serve you and earn your respect.