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Tampa, Florida Criminal Defense & Family Law Blog

Do you need to blow a .08 to get a DUI?

The "legal limit" for a driver who has been drinking is .08%. At that blood alcohol concentration (BAC), the court assumes that the person was drunk enough for their driving to be impaired.

That's all true, but it's given rise to a certain myth, which is that you cannot get a DUI as long as you do not blow a .08%. People who have been drinking may think they can avoid legal charges -- and may think that they have actually not broken the law -- if they blow a .07%.

Florida law enforcement warns against New Year's drunk driving

New Year's Eve is a time for celebration in Florida and across the United States. For many, that involves going to parties and drinking alcohol. While there is nothing illegal about that, some might believe they are in a condition to drive and get behind the wheel after drinking. Law enforcement planned to be out in force to catch and arrest drivers who might be driving while intoxicated.

It is a positive in Florida that the state is ranked near the bottom for DUI arrests in the U.S., coming in 46th. In the state, out of 100,000 people, 151 are arrested for DUI. Nationally, that rate is 330 for every 100,000 people. Separate research states that Florida was 42nd in the nation in the reduction in DUI arrests in the decade from 2009 to 2018, at slightly higher than 47%. Still, there is an average of 30 drunk driving fatalities every day. With New Year's such a prominent day for alcohol consumption, it is a concern that law enforcement is taking very seriously as it prepares for a crackdown.

How does a police investigation affect your case?

Your arrest by Florida police or other agents may have been a confusing time. Officers likely searched you, took your photograph and fingerprinted you. They may have confiscated your clothing and other personal belongings, and they may have taken other samples from you, such as your handwriting, saliva or hair. Any of these may become part of the evidence prosecutors will use against you in court.

When you face criminal charges, police will conduct a thorough investigation to gather enough evidence to make a case against you. Depending on the type of crime you stand accused of committing, police may spend a great deal of time collecting evidence from the crime scene. Because you will probably not be present when investigators gather information, it may help you to have a general idea of the process.

Hillsborough law enforcement officer arrested for drunk driving

Across Florida, law enforcement is on the lookout for drivers who might show the signs of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. When a traffic stop is made, anyone can face drunk driving charges -- even fellow members of law enforcement. For these individuals, it is just as important, if not more so, for them to understand the potential penalties they will face, if they are convicted.

An off-duty deputy for the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office was arrested for suspected DUI. The man's vehicle was stopped in the early-morning hours after 2 a.m. As the case was investigated, the driver did not take a breath test. He was placed under arrest for probable cause.

When will there be an administrative license suspension for DUI?

In Florida, when a driver is being investigated for drunk driving charges, there are many penalties that can be assessed. Most will be after the person has been convicted. That includes jail time, fines and a driver's license suspension. However, there is an administrative driver's license suspension that the law enforcement officer can issue immediately. Understanding when this can occur and what can be done about it is an important part of defending against a DUI charge.

There will be a first administrative suspension for drivers who are 21 and older and are shown to have a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher, and if the person is under 21 and has a BAC of 0.02 or higher. The suspension is for six months. With a second suspension or subsequent suspension, it will be one year for those 21 and older with a BAC of at least 0.08 and for those under 21 who have a 0.02 BAC.

Man arrested after fatal accident while allegedly high on drugs

When people are arrested for driving under the influence in Tampa and across Florida, they might automatically associate it with alcohol. However, many incidents involve people who were allegedly high on drugs. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can hinder a person's judgment and lead to recklessness, diminished reflexes and an auto accident. Still, people who are involved in a crash - especially one in which there was a fatality - and are confronted with charges for operating under the influence should understand the potential penalties they will face. And with that information, craft a strong defense.

An auto accident that claimed the life of a 57-year-old woman was allegedly due to another driver who was high on methamphetamine. The driver was arrested as a result. Based on reports, the 31-year-old man was traveling on the interstate shortly before 6 a.m. in a 2017 Toyota Corolla. He was heading south and was said to be driving at significant speed. Law enforcement believes the driver noticed a police vehicle in front of him and tried to slow down by hitting the brakes hard.

Tampering with or circumventing an ignition interlock device

Facing drunk driving charges in Florida can lead to a variety of penalties that could negatively impact a person's life in myriad ways. With fines, potential jail time and the loss of driving privileges, it is important to formulate a strong and effective defense to avoid the worst possible consequences. One penalty that a person convicted of operating under the influence might face is having an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle.

This device is designed to ensure the driver is not under the influence with the requirement to blow into it to register their blood-alcohol level. Still, there are potential violations with this device and these too can result in penalties. If a person tampers with or circumvents the ignition interlock device and does not have a driver's license, there can an extension of the driver's license suspension as well as fines between $250 and $500 for every violation. If the person cannot pay that fine, there can be a lien against that vehicle.

How do police decide when to pull a driver over?

Perhaps you've been out with friends enjoying your weekend, or maybe you're on your way home from a romantic evening out with your partner when you see the flashing lights behind you. Nothing can ruin a pleasant evening like a stop for suspected drunk driving. At this point, you may be wondering what brought law enforcement's attention to you, and why he or she decided to pull you over.

Police have a significant amount of objective authority to make a traffic stop, but there are limits to what they can do. For example, police cannot stop a driver on the basis of his or her skin color, gender or even the type of vehicle the person is driving. To make a DUI traffic stop, there must be a specific reason to do so, called reasonable suspicion. 

One-time reality show cast member arrested for drug possession

When a drug arrest is made in Florida, some might believe that it was for the sale, distribution or trafficking of drugs. However, many people who are arrested simply face drug possession charges. In these cases, when a person faces drug charges, it is important to understand how to lodge a defense for an acquittal or seek an outcome that does not involve incarceration. Having legal help can be key to this goal.

A man who was once on a television reality show was arrested amidst drug possession allegations. The former cast member of "Deadliest Catch" had a warrant for his arrest when law enforcement found him and discovered a white powder in his possession, which was determined to be heroin.

Drunk driving arrest made after fatal Hillsborough county crash

There are several reasons behind why drunk driving laws exist and are upheld. The ultimate goal is to increase public safety, both for the drunk driver themselves and any other driver or passenger on the road. Penalties for drunk driving have gotten steeper in recent years if a person is convicted of such a crime. A fatal accident recently occurred in Hillsborough County and the driver has been arrested in connection with that crash.

The accident happened with traffic heading south on Tampa's I-75. The arrested, a 35 year old male, is accused of rear-ending a motorcyclist. The bike burst into flames and to make matters worse, the driver in the passenger vehicle left the scene of the crime. It wasn't noted as to why alcohol is thought to have been a factor in the crash.

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