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Drinking and Driving

What to Do If You Get Caught with a DUI in Palm Beach County

There were over 33,600 people convicted of a DUI in Florida in 2011. More to the point, there have been 1,987 people arrested in Palm Beach County for a DUI between January and June of this year.

Those are some sobering numbers.

It is clear that DUI arrests are a serious concern for Florida residents and appear to be of particular concern for Palm Beach County residents. The question then becomes just what to do if you get caught with a DUI in Palm Beach County?

While there is not a one-size-fits-all answer – different circumstances in cases require specialized legal consultation – there is some practical advice. Read on to learn different principles to consider and don’t hesitate to give us a call today if you need an individual consultation.

Different Types of DUIs and DWIs

DUI stands for driving under the influence. DWI stands for driving while impaired or driving while intoxicated. OWI stands for operating while impaired. OVI stands for operating a vehicle under the influence. DUII stands for driving under the influence of intoxicants.

There are many more regional terms, but they often refer to the same offense – driving a vehicle while under the influence of a mind or mood-altering chemical, often alcohol. In fact, the most common chemical found in individuals when arrested for a DUI is alcohol.

Regardless of the particular terminology used, there are guidelines to the levels at which someone’s blood alcohol content (BAC) becomes legally dangerous to drive. The limit is .08% across most of the United States, though it may be possible to be arrested or charged with a crime with a lower BAC.

What You Need to Know About DUIs in Palm Beach County

Palm Beach County is no exception to the .08% BAC rule. This does not mean that it is safe to operate a motor vehicle if your BAC is under .08%. Florida stature 316.193 allows for a DUI to be “…proved by impairment of normal faculties…”

It is better to be safe than to be sorry, as the saying goes.

Penalties for being caught with a DUI in Palm Beach County vary by the number of previous convictions. Criminal penalties include license revocation, fines, community service, probation, vehicle impoundment, and imprisonment. There is also any number of civil penalties depending on the specific situation and those involved.

License revocation is a minimum of 180 days for a first conviction. Convictions following the first increase the period of revocation, with mandatory permanent revocation being a possibility for multiple offenses or DUIs involving the death of an individual.

Fines range from between $500 and $2,000 (depending on the individual’s BAC) for a first conviction. They increase over time if you have been successfully charged with this crime. Community service, meanwhile, is a mandatory fifty hours for the first time. Like with the fines, this may go up if you commit the same offense again.

Probation and imprisonment are also dependent on the number of times the crime was committed. Probation for a first conviction may not exceed a year. Imprisonment for the first offense may not exceed nine months. Extenuating circumstances might play a part in the length of probation and imprisonment as well.

Impounding of the vehicle depends on the number of prior convictions. A first conviction brings with it ten days of impoundment. A second guilty sentence brings with it thirty days of impoundment.

It’s important to note that if the length of impoundment will vary if vehicle used in a DUI arrest is a family’s only form of transportation or if it is used by employees of the arrestee.

The above are simply guidelines. DUI accidents which involve property damage, personal injury, serious bodily injury, death, and more are subject to changes in penalties. Penalties may also change based on whether the vehicle used is a commercial motor vehicle.

Considering the serious nature of being caught with a DUI in Palm Beach County, it is highly advisable to seek professional legal representation. This is true even of a first offense.

That’s where The Berman Law Group becomes an invaluable asset. Our team of industry-leading attorneys is ready to make sure you get the legal help you need. If you have any questions for a DUI Defense Lawyer, contact us today.