If you’ve ever experienced a DUI arrest in Florida, you know how stressful and traumatic it can be. Thoughts of losing your driving privileges, paying hefty fines out-of-pocket, serving a jail sentence, and carrying a ruined reputation may cross your mind. This level of trauma can only escalate when you find yourself in an uncommon scenario. If you’ve been arrested for DUI in a rental car, for example, you may be unsure how to approach the situation.
Fortunately, an arrest in a rental vehicle isn’t that different from any other DUI arrest. An experienced DUI lawyer can help you understand the potential penalties associated with your arrest and the most strategic defense strategies to implement based on the circumstances of your case. An attorney may be able to help you reduce or completely eliminate the charges against you.
Are There Additional Legal Penalties for a DUI Conviction in a Rental Vehicle?
For the most part, an arrest for driving under the influence is the same whether you’re in your own car or a rented vehicle. If a police officer pulls you over under suspicion that you’re driving under the influence, they’ll likely ask you to complete a series of field sobriety tests. Your performance on these tests will be a factor in their decision to arrest you. If the officer can establish probable cause that you were driving under the influence, you’ll be detained, processed, and asked to submit to a blood alcohol content test. This remains the same no matter the type of vehicle you were driving.
In general, regardless of the vehicle, you can be sentenced for driving under the influence in Florida if you’re caught driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more. If you’re lawfully arrested for DUI, there can be administrative consequences such as a license suspension and fees, regardless of whether you’re ultimately convicted of the crime. If you are eventually convicted of DUI, you may face additional criminal penalties.
After your initial arrest, the court will send you a summons in the mail. This document will tell you when to appear for a preliminary hearing. It’s generally a wise choice to hire a DUI attorney, before this hearing. Your lawyer will review the evidence in your case and advise you on your available options and the defenses you can implement to avoid any potential jail time and other penalties associated with a conviction.
The Differences Between a DUI Arrest in a Rental Car and a DUI Arrest in Your Own Car
Despite there not being any procedural or legal differences between an arrest in a rental vehicle and one in your own car, there are still a few additional factors to consider. Keep in mind the following elements:
Returning Your Rental Car to the Agency
You will need to consider how you’ll return the rental car to the agency. Upon your arrest, your license will more than likely be confiscated, which makes returning the rental a challenge. You and your criminal defense attorney may be able to work with the Department of Motor Vehicle to grant you a temporary license. If not, the police might call the rental agency and have someone from their office come pick it up. This can happen at the scene of the crime or at a later date.
What If Your Car Is Impounded?
Depending on your case, the rented vehicle may be impounded to deter any future drunk driving occurrences or if it was damaged in an accident. If this is the case, you’ll be responsible for paying for daily charges and repairs. If you secured collision insurance through the rental agency, determine if it covers the cost of repairs, the time the vehicle spends at the shop, and other services.
If your car is impounded, your allotted time to return the vehicle may be limited. Rental agencies won’t care about your DUI. They just want their property returned to them on the correct date. You can expect to incur more charges the longer the car stays in the impound lot.
Note that renting a car in the future may be difficult with a DUI conviction on your record.
Contact an Experienced DUI Defense Lawyer in West Palm Beach
Getting arrested for DUI while driving your personal vehicle is an undeniably stressful experience, and getting a DUI while driving a rental car can be even more nerve-wracking. If you find yourself in this predicament, don’t try to handle the situation alone. Hiring the right legal professional is the first step to giving yourself a chance to win your case. For assistance, look no further than Attorney Brian Gabriel.
Contact Criminal Defense Attorney Brian Gabriel to learn the steps you should take after being arrested for DUI in a rental vehicle. Attorney Brian Gabriel has served the community of West Palm Beach for more than 30 years as a DUI defense attorney. He understands the complexities that are often involved in these cases and can guide you on the right course of action to protect your reputation and future. Call (561) 622-5575 or complete a contact form for a free consultation.