Getting a DUI charge is devastating no matter what you do for a living, but when you’re a professional who needs a license to find work and stay employed, the aftermath of a criminal record is exponentially more severe. Having a DUI on your record may damage your reputation as an expert in your field and diminish your chances of finding work, as employers may think poorly of your ethics and values. Ultimately, the career you worked so hard to break into is at stake, and it may be nearly impossible to continue working in your field if you’re convicted.
You should move quickly to seek sound legal counsel the moment you learn you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence in Florida as a licensed professional. You will need to report your DUI charge to your profession’s licensing board, and your livelihood may depend on the process of presenting a solid defense in court.
What Are the Consequences of a DUI in Florida?
A DUI conviction may lead to harsh penalties in the Sunshine State. For a first DUI, you may be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. Upon conviction, you may be sentenced to:
- Up to one year in jail
- Up to $500 in fines
- License suspension for up to one year
- Mandatory DUI school
- Community service
If you refused a breath test or registered a BAC of less than 0.15, you may be sentenced to up to six months in jail. If your BAC was 0.15 or higher or you had a minor in your car at the time of your DUI, the judge may sentence you to nine months in jail. If your DUI caused a car crash, the judge may sentence you to the full twelve months in jail.
A second DUI conviction in Florida is also a misdemeanor charge; however, the penalties may increase if your previous DUI occurred within the past 5 years. Your third and subsequent DUI arrests may lead to felony charges, which may lead to a prison term and steeper fines upon conviction.
What Does This Mean for a Licensed Professional?
Licensed professionals are under tremendous pressure and scrutiny to meet strict requirements and uphold the values set by their licensing boards. When you are arrested as a licensed professional, you are required to report your arrest to the board. The board you report to depends on your specialty, and you may have between 15 and 30 days to report your charge. After you report your DUI, the licensing board and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation may launch an investigation to ensure your performance at work is not compromised by your charge.
Professionals who must report DUI charges include the following:
- Real estate agents
To avoid compounding repercussions from your DUI, you must search for an experienced DUI lawyer who understands what’s at stake when your license is in jeopardy. A DUI attorney who serves the West Palm Beach area like Brian Gabriel can comb through the details of your arrest and challenge questionable aspects—whether they be errors committed by law enforcement officers or technical errors produced by the tools used to record your blood alcohol level. There may be a wealth of mistakes made during the investigation of your DUI leading up to your arrest, and you should not lose hope that a positive BAC test will ruin your career and future.
Act Now to Fight Your DUI as a Licensed Professional!
The sooner you act, the better your legal representative can fight the charges against you. The earlier an attorney becomes involved in your case, the better your chances will be of avoiding a conviction. In some cases, it may even be possible to have your charges dismissed.
Call Attorney Brian Gabriel at The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel for quality legal counsel in the West Palm Beach area regarding a DUI with a professional license. Brian Gabriel understands that everyone makes mistakes, and you do not deserve to face more severe backlash due to needing a professional license. Call (561) 622-5575 or complete a contact form for a free consultation.