Recently, two brothers in Jupiter, Florida, were booked into the Palm Beach County Jail for DUI. Dozens of drunk driving arrests take place in Palm Beach County daily; however, what makes this incident unusual is that both men were arrested at the same time for drunk driving in the same vehicle.
On April 15th, Palm Beach Gardens police received a tip about a reckless driver at 11:30 p.m. When an officer arrived, he found one of the brothers behind the wheel of a Nissan SUV. When the officer approached the vehicle, the driver was standing next to it. His younger brother entered the driver’s seat from the passenger seat and tried to put the car in reverse to flee the scene, but the officer pulled him out of the car.
By law, a person is considered to be “driving” a car if he or she is in control of the vehicle, even if it’s not moving. This is why some people face charges even if they are sleeping in their cars. The police report for the drunk driving incident mentioned that both men smelled of alcohol and displayed signs of impairment.
The arresting officer gave each driver a field sobriety test. The younger brother, age 20, agreed to a breath test and recorded a sample of 0.21 BAC, considerably higher than the 0.08 threshold to be considered impaired. The older brother, age 24, refused the test. Police stated that neither man had a valid driver’s license. Had the second brother had a valid license, refusing the breath test would have caused an automatic one-year license suspension.
Both men were booked into the Palm Beach County Jail Thursday morning. The older brother is charged with DUI and driving without a license, while the younger brother faces several charges, including charges of DUI, DUI over 0.15, and driving without a license. While the older brother left the jail on his own recognizance, the younger brother was still jailed as of midday Friday on $4,000 bond.
Penalties for a First Offense DUI in Florida
A first DUI in Florida is a misdemeanor offense; however, it’s not to be treated lightly. A DUI conviction can never be expunged, and the offense could follow you for life, affecting many aspects of your life even after you’ve served your sentence. A first DUI with a BAC over 0.08 but less than 0.15 may lead to:
- Up to six months in jail if you refuse a breath test or if your BAC was below 0.15 and there was no car crash;
- Up to nine months in jail if you have a BAC of 0.15 or higher or were driving with a minor in the vehicle;
- Up to 12 months in jail for a DUI car crash.
You may also face administrative penalties regarding your driver’s license. You may face a license suspension from 6 months to one year.
Penalties for DUI Over 0.15
A DUI with BAC of 0.15 or higher results in enhanced penalties upon a conviction. If you blow a BAC of 0.15 or higher or drive with a minor in your car, the minimum fine for this DUI charge is $1,000 and may be as high as $4,000. You may also go to jail for 9 months. If your DUI resulted in an accident, you could be sentenced to one year in jail.
Additionally, you may be ordered to install an ignition interlock device (IID) at your own expense for a minimum of 6 months.
What Happens if You Drive Without a Valid License in Palm Beach County?
Driving without a valid license is a second-degree misdemeanor offense in Florida, which may lead to a fine of up to $500 and up to 60 days in jail.
If you have a valid driver’s license but do not have it on you at the time of a traffic stop, you may be cited for an infraction. The infraction will be in addition to the violation that caused the traffic stop. However, you may be able to bring your license to court to prove that you had a valid license at the time you got a ticket to get the infraction for driving without a license dismissed.
Quality DUI Defense in Palm Beach County
DUI is a serious charge that requires immediate attention from an experienced DUI lawyer. Attorney Brian P. Gabriel has helped people facing DUI charges throughout Palm Beach County for more than 30 years. His persistent investigation and passion for clients’ rights ensures that you will receive competent representation. He has fought against the state-approved breathalyzer test and has had several successful results for clients with various types of DUI and related charges.
Find out how he can protect you throughout the legal process with a free consultation! Call 561-622-5575 or complete our contact form. Our goal is to help you achieve the best possible results.