Alcohol Related Offenses
West Palm Beach DUI Lawyer
Facing criminal charges for driving under the influence is one of the most common ways that ordinary people fall into the criminal justice system. After all, driving under the influence of a substance does not require ill intent, and a DUI stop is typically initiated when a driver is stopped for a simple traffic violation. Unfortunately, the story is all too familiar: you have just a few drinks with your friends, think you’re sober enough to drive home, and suddenly find yourself on the wrong side of the law. Your life can quickly dissolve into a series of consequences that can negatively affect your finances, mental health, social life, and job. Likewise, you may also have to face court appearances, fines, and a suspension or revocation of your license.
Nevertheless, there are ways to sidestep a conviction if you manage to secure the help of an experienced DUI defense attorney. Fortunately, you don’t have to search far and wide for effective legal counsel. At The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel, we have decades of experience protecting defendants in your shoes and are dedicated to fighting for your rights, no matter the circumstances of your case or what led you to this point. Our goal is to mitigate the effects of a DUI where we can –– whether through seeking a dismissal or reduction of your charges or a reduction of the penalties you may face following a conviction.
What Constitutes Driving Under the Influence in Florida?
DUI, short for “driving under the influence,” means driving a vehicle while deprived of full possession of normal faculties or with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or above. According to Florida Statute Chapter 316, an individual may face a DUI charge if they are found to do the following:
- Operate a vehicle or are in physical control of a vehicle
- Are under the influence of alcoholic beverages, a chemical substance identified in Florida Statute Chapter 877, or any controlled substance in Chapter 893
- Have a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or a BAC of 0.08 grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath
It’s also important to note that you don’t necessarily have to have a BAC above 0.08% to be arrested for DUI in Florida. Even if your BAC is less than 0.08%, you can be arrested and subsequently charged with DUI if the arresting officers believe your judgment and motor control are fully impaired while being in physical control of a motor vehicle along a roadway. This includes impaired sight, hearing, coordination, comprehension, depth perception, and judgment. Likewise, note that the term “in actual physical control of a vehicle” means you had the capability and power to dominate, direct, or regulate the vehicle.
Through his years of experience, attorney Brian Gabriel has represented clients facing all kinds of alcohol-related charges, and dedicates a significant portion of his practice to fighting DUI charges. Brian Gabriel’s representation of DUI defendants generally starts with all attempts necessary to try to overturn the immediate suspension of a person’s driving privilege. During the administrative litigation that occurs through the Department of Motor Vehicles, our firm investigates the underlying facts of the criminal offense and will do everything possible to help you retain your driving privileges during this challenging period.
Felony DUI Charges
A person charged with DUI in the past may face a felony DUI charge depending on the circumstances of their prior arrest. Felony DUI arises in the following situations:
- A third DUI that occurs within ten years of a previous DUI conviction
- A fourth or subsequent DUI, regardless of when the priors occurred
- DUIs that result in severe bodily injury or the death of another person
In his many years of representing clients with these serious offenses, Brian Gabriel takes a common-sense approach to the appropriate formulation and preparation for a successful defense.
Under Florida Law, DUI manslaughter is a criminal charge brought against a person who is accused of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and, as a result, caused or directly contributed to the death of another person. Individuals convicted of DUI manslaughter face a minimum sentencing of four years in prison and, depending on the circumstances surrounding the case, probation and community service.
The most harshly regulated alcohol-related offenses are those that involve the death of another person. If you’ve been charged with DUI manslaughter or vehicular homicide, we’re devoted to providing compassionate legal counsel and effective advocacy. This field of criminal defense work is different from most others, and as a result, the expertise, preparation, and necessary work is far and above most all other offenses.
DUI cases involving those under the age of 21 can be far more strict and damaging. While it usually takes a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent for a DUI charge, drivers under 21 are prohibited from having a BAC of .02 percent or higher. Minors found driving under the influence in Florida are tried as adults, meaning that they may face the same penalties as someone above the age of 21 facing a DUI conviction. This may include revocation of driving privileges, immobilization of a vehicle, community service, mandated alcohol abuse treatment, and even jail time.
Perhaps the penalty that defendants most wish to avoid after a Florida underage DUI charge is the suspension or revocation of their license. If you’re underage and refuse to submit to alcohol and drug testing, your license may be suspended for up to one year. If you provide a BAC sample of .02% or more, your license may be suspended for up to six months. If your BAC was .05% or more, you may also be required to complete a DUI education program.
Avoiding a DUI conviction as a minor is especially crucial given the impact of such a charge on a young person’s life. Even a smudge on a minor’s criminal record can hurt their chances of being accepted into college, their ability to find employment, or their chances of securing housing. Attorney Brian Gabriel has experienced defending young individuals in this situation and may be able to protect their license and reputation.
What Are the Penalties for Driving Under the Influence in Florida?
Florida has some of the most rigid DUI penalties in the country. Several factors can affect the degree of punishment in a Florida DUI case, including your blood or breath alcohol level at the time of arrest, if the DUI involved injuries or fatalities, prior DUI convictions, the presence of a minor in the vehicle, open containers, or even what you say to law enforcement at the time of the arrest. Here’s a general guide to the penalties you may see:
- 1st offense: Incarceration for up to 6 months, a fine of between $500 and $1,000, license revocation for between 180 days and one year, and perhaps the installation of an ignition interlock device for up to 6 months
- 2nd offense: Incarceration for up to 9 months, a fine of between $1,000 and $2,000, license revocation for between 180 days and one year, and the installation of an ignition interlock device for two years
- 3rd offense: Incarceration for up to 12 months, a fine of between $2,000 and $5,000, license revocation for between 180 days and one year, and the installation of an ignition interlock device for two years
Other possible punishments, which depend on the circumstances of your case, include probation, community service, and vehicle impoundment.
What Are Florida’s Implied Consent Laws?
If you’ve been pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence, it’s also important that you understand Florida’s “implied consent” laws, which are defined in Section 316.1932 of the Florida Statutes. This requires all drivers lawfully arrested for DUI to submit to a blood, urine, or breath test in order to determine the alcohol content of blood or breath. In addition, such testing can be used to detect the presence of a controlled or chemical substance if lawfully arrested for driving under the influence.
Drivers who unlawfully refuse testing risk a driver’s license revocation of up to one year. If you refuse to consent a second time, you may face a first-degree misdemeanor that includes an 18-month driver’s license suspension, up to one year in jail—or 12-months of probation—and fines of up to $1,000.
Preparation of a Proper DUI Defense Strategy
It’s always anticipated in these types of cases that the State will employ certain experts to make their presentation of evidence as persuasive as possible to a jury of their peers. The same should be anticipated by any individual faced with this most severe legal challenge. Our firm has the expertise and experience in the areas of accident reconstruction and laboratory science. Preparation of a proper defense strategy must always contend with all portions of law enforcement’s investigation, including:
- The defendant’s level of alcohol impairment
- Police observations of impairment
- Scientific evidence of blood analysis
The use of innovation and skillful execution to attack any prosecution is always the best defense. In all DUI cases—both felony and misdemeanor—we bring years of experience and expertise to your case to obtain the best results possible for the client. Brian Gabriel’s knowledge and familiarity with all police investigative procedures, field sobriety testing requirements, and more are crucial and will be instrumental in helping protect your best interests.
Motion to Suppress
A motion to suppress evidence is a request by a defendant that the judge exclude specific evidence from their trial. The defense often makes this motion in advance of a trial, and if the defendant wins, the prosecution or judge may be forced to dismiss the case. This approach can be instrumental. Short of a trial, this technique is perhaps the only way possible to achieve your desired results without suffering the risks of going to trial and the associated costs.
The severity of these charges along with the possibility of the multitude of different punishments make proper legal representation a necessity. As such, it’s of utmost importance to find an attorney who has the sufficient degree of knowledge, expertise, and experience necessary to be able to properly defend you in these types of cases.
Why Choose the DUI Defense Lawyers at Gabriel Law Firm?
DUI defense litigation is one of the most complicated legal defense processes for defendants to navigate. As such, if you wish to find success, it’s crucial that you partner with a lawyer who understands Florida DUI defense laws and who has experience litigating these types of cases. Enter, attorney Brian Gabriel.
With every alcohol-related offense that our firm handles, attorney Brian Gabriel is put into motion, investigating and preparing to defend the allegations and opinions of alcohol or drug impairment. Furthermore, through his years of experience, Brian Gabriel carries a vast amount of knowledge regarding the three key aspects of Florida DUI:
- Scientific principles behind measuring and testing BAC
- Instruments used to test for alcohol, including the testing of breath, urine, and blood
- Standard methodology for testing BAC
Each alcohol-related charge presents different obstacles. Having sufficient knowledge regarding the legalities of all traffic stops is usually one of the starting points. Furthermore, understanding the principles of accident reconstruction is crucial. We’ve assisted thousands of clients with alcohol-related offenses, with each investigation beginning with the reason for the traffic stop and the legality of the arrest. We’ll then look at roadside sobriety testing, interrogation issues, videotaping policies, and any other evidence that may be useful.
Contact an Experienced West Palm Beach DUI Defense Lawyer
If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence in the West Palm Beach area, it’s crucial that you don’t try to handle the situation alone. Hiring a best-in-class team of legal professionals is the first step to giving yourself a chance to win your case. For legal assistance, look no further than The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel. By partnering with our firm, you can be assured that your rights will be protected and attorney Brian Gabriel will fight for you.
Brian Gabriel has served the West Palm Beach community for more than 30 years as a DUI and criminal defense lawyer. He understands the complexities involved in these cases and can guide you on the right course of action to protect your reputation and future. After a DUI arrest, you can be assured that you’re in good hands. Call us at (561) 622-5575 or complete our contact form for a free consultation today.