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Fort Myers DUI/DWI Law Blog

What if you are caught driving on a suspended license?

As a Floridian driver with a suspended license, there may be times in which you're tempted to drive anyway, whether it's to make an important meeting or because the distance is so short that you're certain you won't be caught. However, there are consequences if you are caught, and they aren't anything you would want to deal with.

Penalties for this action in Florida differ depending on the number of convictions you're on. According to the Florida State Legislature, however, even a first conviction for driving on a suspended license might be considered a second degree misdemeanor. You could end up in jail for a maximum of 60 days and paying up to $500. A second conviction could bump you up to a first degree misdemeanor, which would result in a possible year of jailtime in addition to a $1,000 fine.

Getting into a DUI crash that isn't your fault

Drivers in Florida with a blood alcohol content level of over .08 percent or above will be charged with driving under the influence. If that driver also gets into an accident, the charge will likely be bumped up to aggravated DUI. But what if the driver, despite being intoxicated, is not actually at fault for the accident?

Matters of fault are difficult to handle even without throwing alcohol into the mix. It's noted within Findlaw that probable cause or reasonable suspicion for further investigation is usually set lower than usual in the event of an accident. What does this mean? Simply put, if an officer suspects someone involved in an accident to have been drinking, they will be allowed to conduct field sobriety tests, breathalyzer tests, and other things in order to determine if an arrest should be made. This is important to note because it already sets the stage for potential bias. By being labeled impaired at the time of the accident, it would theoretically be easier for the blame to fall on the driver with a DUI.

What's at risk when you crash while under the influence?

If you have caused damages or lethal injury to another party in a DUI-related crash in Florida, you could be facing some severe consequences. We at Steven Wetter wish to highlight exactly what’s on the line for you if you don’t treat your charges as the high stakes matters that they are.

First, understand the consequences. If you have killed someone in an accident, you may face 8 to 10 years in prison. Permanent or serious injury could land you with up to 4 years. The duration of the prison stay and other factors such as fines all depend on additional factors, which can include:

  •           Past DUI convictions
  •           Your blood alcohol content level
  •           Whether or not you were speeding or driving aggressively
  •           Having a suspended license

What's the difference between vehicular and DUI manslaughter?

If you have hit another driver in Florida and it resulted in their death, you may be facing either vehicular manslaughter or vehicular homicide charges. But what are the differences between the two? Despite the similar names, they can carry vastly different charges, since one may be a misdemeanor and the other is considered a felony.

According to the Free Dictionary, the legal definition of vehicular manslaughter is causing the death of someone else through the illegal operation of your own vehicle. In this scenario, "illegal operation" can include aggressive driving, negligence, drunk driving, speeding, and other acts that intentionally break laws and endanger others. In some cases, a vehicular manslaughter charge can be categorized as a misdemeanor. This type of charge will net you with a maximum of one year in prison, or a fine without time in prison. It is considered less severe.

The effect of DUI charges on a student

Students in Florida may suffer from a little shortsightedness in certain areas. A night out on the town or a good party may be someone's top priority, but the fact of the matter is that a DUI conviction can negatively impact a student's future in big ways.

Some types of students are going to face more hurdles than others. For example, U.S. News states that most medical colleges require a student to disclose their criminal records. This includes any past convictions, including DUI or underage drinking convictions. It is very possible that having a charge like this on record will be enough reason for that college to deny the applicant entrance into the school. If a student was convicted of any felonies because of or in addition to their DUI conviction, they could be facing even harsher judgment. Seeing a felony on someone's record can immediately shape a person's opinion, especially because the nature of the felony is not as readily available and people will not immediately know that it is a less severe felony.

What is a BUI?

If you own a boat, you may have been tempted to - or already have - spent time out on the water while drinking. While it isn't illegal to have alcohol on deck in the same way that it is to have open alcohol in your car, that doesn't necessarily mean you're in clear water if an officer pulls you over. We here at Steven Wetter will guide you through the nuances of potential BUIs.

First, what is a BUI? Like a DUI, it's simply boating while under the influence. The legal blood alcohol content level is also the same on the water as it is on land. What does this mean for you? If you blow a .08 on a breathalyzer test, you could be subject to penalization in the form of arrest and a BUI charge.

What is social host liability?

As a Florida resident who is considering throwing a party, you should carefully take into consideration whether or not you will have alcohol available, especially if there are minors present. This is because there’s a chance you might be held accountable for anything your drunk party guests do.

According to Investopedia, social host liability is similar to dram shop laws, which hold bars or clubs accountable in part for the actions that their patrons may take or for the injuries they may receive due to those actions. However, the scenarios in which social host liability applies are much narrower, but can include things like house parties or private gatherings. It involves anyone who provides alcohol to a guest, or the host of the place that is serving alcohol.

10 signs police look for prior to a DUI stop

You know the police need to have probable cause to make a DUI stop. Without it, they can't pull you over, even if it's after 2 in the morning and the police are out fishing for drunk drivers. People have a right not to be interfered with until police have a reason to believe a crime has been committed.

So, what do the police look for before flipping on the lights and the siren? It's important for young professionals to know, as a DUI can have a dramatic impact on their careers. Ten key things officers may watch for include:

What if a cop comes to your party?

There are plenty of reasons for Floridians to throw parties. Whether you’re celebrating the end of an exam period, a birthday or holiday, or just wanting to have a good time on the weekend, relaxing and hosting an event might seem ideal. But if you have underage drinking on your property and the police come by, you might find yourself in a pickle.

The Cooper Point Journal illustrates what you should know about your rights when it comes to the authorities showing up at your door. Normally, they will arrive because of noise complaints filed by the neighbor. It is important to note that they cannot legally enter your home without a search warrant, though you should keep in mind that they can enter if they have reason to believe there’s an emergency within, or if you invite them in. For that reason, you should hold any discussion with them outside of your home with the door shut behind you.

What can your Florida driver's license be suspended for?

In Florida, you can have your license suspended for a number of different reasons. At Steven Wetter, we understand that driving is vital to your day-to-day existence, and that having your license taken away can be a huge detriment to your livelihood. We wish to help you understand just what you can lose your license for, so you can be aware of what not to do.

The lesser-known causes for suspended licenses are actually pretty common. For example, did you know that in Florida, you can lose your license just for leaving traffic fines or tickets unpaid? Additionally, you make rack up “point violations” which can result in the same thing. This means you have too many violations or infractions in a certain span of time. Finally, if you make three major offenses, you can be labelled a habitual traffic offender, which is grounds to lose your license.

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