DUI / DWI

DWI and DUI

Most licensed drivers know that DWI stands for Driving While Intoxicated or Driving While Impaired and DUI is Driving Under the Influence, but few really understand the difference. How does DWI compare with DUI? How does Duval County handle these cases? Either of these charges can cost you loss of your legal right to drive, community service, fines and in some cases – jail time. When do you need from DWI lawyers in Duval County?

Duval County has a well deserved reputation of aggressive prosecution of these charges. If you have been arrested for DWI or DUI in Duval County DWI lawyers Sean D. and Sam H. with The Dick Law Firm can provide the experience needed to protect your legal rights. There are a number of DWI lawyers in Florida.  Our practice deals exclusively with Duval County so we are extremely knowledgeable with the Duval County Criminal Justice System. We are a small law firm dealing exclusively in Criminal law so you will get the individual attention you deserve from an experienced Duval County Criminal defense attorney.

When someone is arrested for DUI or DWI they will be facing two separate cases, the criminal case and a civil (administrative) case arising out of the Implied Consent process.

DWI Implied Consent Statute

Florida like all other states have an implied consent law requiring those arrested for DWI to submit to testing. In 1995 the Legislature enacted the  Implied Consent Statute, which everyone signs when he or she receives their driver’s license. This basically says you agree that, in exchange for the privilege of driving, you will consent to give evidence against yourself (in the form of a chemical test) if you are arrested for driving under the influence.

Section 724.011 of the State Transportation Code:

§ 724.011. CONSENT TO TAKING OF SPECIMEN. (a) If a person is arrested for an offense arising out of acts alleged to have been committed while the person was operating a motor vehicle in a public place, or a watercraft, while intoxicated, or an offense under Section 106.041, Alcoholic Beverage Code, the person is deemed to have consented, subject to this chapter, to submit to the taking of one or more specimens of the person’s breath or blood for analysis to determine the alcohol concentration or the presence in the person’s body of a controlled substance, drug, dangerous drug, or other substance.(b) A person arrested for an offense described by Subsection (a) may consent to submit to the taking of any other type of specimen to determine the person’s alcohol concentration.

You Need Experienced Duval County DWI Lawyers on Your Side

The State must provide the burden of proof in both criminal and civil cases, but that burden is different in criminal and civil cases;and your rights are also slightly different in the criminal and civil procedures. The burden of proof is much lower in the civil case than in the criminal case. The State must only prove by a preponderance of the evidence, which means simply that it is more likely true than not true, that the driver violated the Implied Consent Law by refusing a chemical test. The services of an experienced Criminal Defense attorney is a necessity in these situations to ensure your rights are protected during the implied consent proceeding by filing an implied consent petition on your behalf.

In order to achieve a criminal conviction for DWI the State must prove ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’, a much higher standard in the criminal justice system, that the driver had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more or that the driver had lost the normal use of his physical or mental faculties.
DWI vs. DUI

Unlike many other states, DUI is a crime that can only be committed by a minor under 21. defines a DUI offense under section 106.041 of the Florida Alcoholic Beverage Code as:

§106.041. DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL BY MINOR.

(a) A minor commits an offense if the minor operates a motor vehicle in a public place while having any detectable amount of alcohol in the minor’s system. It is not necessary to prove intoxication in a DUI conviction.

A DUI is a class C misdemeanor with a maximum fine of $500, possible loss of license but no jail time. If you are found to have a blood alcohol level .08 % or you have lost the normal use of your mental or physical faculties, you could get arrested for DWI, the more serious of the two crimes.

A first DWI offense is a Class B misdemeanor. A Class B misdemeanor is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine not to exceed $2000. Your driver’s license will also be suspended for 90-180 days upon conviction for DWI. Probation may be awarded in lieu of jail time with the addition of community service up to 100 hours and numerous other requirements. You can receive a DWI at any age (above or below 21). Punishments increase with each conviction.

Blood Alcohol Levels Above 0.15%

Does it make a difference how drunk you are when arrested? What do the BAC numbers mean? Laws do take into account levels of blood alcohol above the legal limit of 0.8%.

In many states driving privileges can be restored during a suspension, but you must demonstrate to the court a special hardship. You might be allowed to drive only to work and back if you have an ignition interlock installed on your vehicle. One of 15 states that apply this Ignition interlock device to first time offenders’ vehicles if their blood alcohol levels are considered overly high. This interlock is mandatory for first offenders as a condition of suspending jail sentence if their BAC is 0.15% or higher.

The Duval County DWI Lawyers at the Dick Law Firm defend DWI cases on a regular basis. We have the experience with the Duval County Criminal Justice System that Jacksonville attorneys don’t have. Contact us for a free consultation as soon as possible if you find yourself in this situation. We are dedicated to protecting you legal rights and providing you the best possible outcome for your individual case.