One of the most common crimes that people are routinely arrested for in the Pensacola area is driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol. While nearly all alleged offenders in charged with this offense had absolutely no criminal intent, prosecutors and judges still impose strict penalties because of the threat to public safety inherent to the crime.
Even people who are convinced that they were legally drunk when they were arrested can be able to have these criminal charges reduced or dismissed. Police officers in Florida must follow very specific procedures when arresting alleged offenders for DUI, and one oversight or failure to comply with the law can often result in cases being thrown out.
Were you or your loved one arrested in Florida for alleged drunk driving? Do not assume that being charged with the crime is the same as being convicted. Contact Terrezza Law for help getting the most favorable outcome to your case.
John Terrezza is a criminal defense attorney in Pensacola who defends individuals facing DUI charges throughout Escambia County and Santa Rosa County. Call (850) 764-5291 right now to take advantage of a free, confidential consultation that will let our lawyer review your case.
Under Florida Statute § 316.193, motorists can be charged with DUI if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or are under the influence of alcohol or any controlled substance to the extent that their normal faculties are impaired. The former scenario in which a BAC test establishes a quantifiable number that exceeds the legal limit is referred to as a “per se DUI” because the alleged offenders have violated the law simply by being over the legal limit—regardless of how free they might appear to be from physical impairment.
The other cases in which alleged offenders are arrested without BAC evidence are more subjective. When an alleged offender agrees to a blood or urine test, the presence of any controlled substance may be used as evidence of intoxication.
Every DUI is different though, and some arrests have completely different standards. For example, alleged offenders under 21 years of age can be charged with an underage DUI for having a BAC of 0.02 or higher.
Additionally, while most cases are handled in state courts in Florida, any arrest on federal property can be prosecuted in United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida at the Winston E. Arnow Federal Building in Pensacola. While many cases involving DUI on federal land are prosecuted under state law, there can still be additional penalties and sentences of incarceration may have to be served in a federal prison rather than a state jail felony.
When a person pleads guilty or is convicted of DUI in Florida, the range of possible punishments can be severe. Many alleged offenders can have trouble with basic daily needs including maintaining or finding employment because of the extent of some sentences.
Penalties in drunk driving cases vary depending on a multitude of factors, including whether an alleged offender has been previously convicted of DUI, how high a person’s BAC was, and whether minors were in the motor vehicle at the time of the alleged offense. Some of the possible consequences of a conviction may include, but are not limited to:
One very important consequence of a DUI in Florida is that a conviction involves a mandatory adjudication of guilt. This makes a person's criminal record ineligible for expunction or sealing.
Every drunk driving case involves a unique set of circumstances surrounding the arrest, but some defenses apply to multiple cases. Even if a person failed a breathalyzer test, it may still be possible for the charges to be thrown out because of an error by law enforcement.
Some of the most common defenses against DUI charges in Florida include, but are not limited to:
Pensacola Police Department — Visit this website to learn more about the police department for the city of Pensacola. You can find information about specific divisions of the police force, various programs the department has, and recent news releases. The website also has answers to several frequently asked question.
Pensacola Police Department
711 North Hayne Street
Pensacola, FL 32501
Escambia County Sheriff's Office — Pensacola is the county seat of Escambia County. With a population of more than 300,000 people, the Sheriff’s Office employs over 650 people in various capacities. You can learn more about the office’s precincts, operations, and administration on this website.
Escambia County Administration Building
1700 West Leonard Street
Pensacola, Florida 32501
Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) | Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles — The FHP is overseen by the state’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. On this website, you can learn more about the mission, oath, and policies of the FHP. You can also find maps of troop boundaries and traffic incidents.
Pensacola FHP Station
150 West Stumpfield Road
Pensacola, FL 32522
If you were arrested for DUI in Florida, expressing heartfelt and sincere remorse is unlikely to earn much sympathy in court. You can give yourself a stronger chance of proving your innocence or otherwise achieve a favorable outcome by contacting Terrezza Law.
Pensacola criminal defense attorney John Terrezza aggressively defends clients in communities all over the greater Escambia County area, including Milton, Pensacola Beach, and Gulf Breeze. You can receive a complete evaluation of your case during a free consultation as soon as you call (850) 764-5291 or complete an online contact form today.
This article was last updated on Friday, January 13, 2017.