West Palm Beach DUI Lawyer
Have You Been Arrested for DUI in Palm Beach County? You Need an Attorney
If you’ve been arrested for DUI in Palm Beach County, you probably have a lot of questions. Am I going to jail? Will I lose my driver’s license? How much is this going to cost? At Scott Berry Law, Board Certified Criminal & DUI lawyer Scott Berry will answer all of your questions and take the time necessary to help you understand the consequences you face. He will not only guide you through the process but zealously advocate for you through every step of that process, contact our West Palm Beach DUI lawyers today.
Am I Going to Jail?
DUI is a crime in the state of Florida. It is not a mere infraction, like a speeding ticket or running a stop sign. While a speeding ticket will result in a fine and points against your license, a DUI conviction could result in a jail sentence or probation.
Most first time DUI offenders do not go to jail. As long as there was no property damage and no one was injured, probation is a more likely result. But probation can include conditions like community service, fines and court costs, attendance at classes, alcohol or drug treatment, a driver’s license suspension, the immobilization of your vehicle, or even the installation of an ignition interlock device on your car. All of these conditions are time consuming and expensive. Depending on the circumstances of your case, a criminal defense attorney can negotiate the severity of these conditions. Of course, if you have damaged property, injured or killed another person, or have a criminal history, the likelihood of incarceration increases. In some cases, incarceration may even become mandatory.
Will I Lose My Driver’s License?
Most likely, you are going to lose your driver’s license for some period of time if you have been arrested for a DUI.
There are two different license issues with which you should be concerned. First, your driver’s license will be revoked as a result of a conviction in the criminal case. This is something that can sometimes be negotiated with the prosecutor as part of a plea agreement if your attorney is able to convince the prosecutor to reduce the charge. If the prosecutor insists on a conviction for DUI, you will be limited to negotiating the length of the suspension.
Second, your license will be suspended by the Department of Motor Vehicles if you either blew over the legal limit or you refused to blow into the machine. That suspension began on the day of your arrest, although you should have received a temporary license, if eligible (the DUI citation you received acts as a temporary license), which is good for 10 days from the date of your arrest.
During that 10 day period, you can request a formal review hearing through the DMV. At that hearing, your lawyer can challenge the suspension and if successful, get your license back. Unfortunately, in most cases, the DMV will uphold the suspension. If you are eligible, you can also request an immediate hardship license within that 10 day period. Failing to request either a hearing or an immediate hardship license will result in the loss of your driving privilege for 30 days (if you blew over the limit) or 90 days (if you refused to blow) before you would be eligible for a hardship license.
Defending West Palm Beach-Area Clients Against Criminal Prosecution
Throughout Florida, law enforcement officials have been expanding efforts to crack down on drunk driving offenses. Being convicted of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated can have serious consequences, including loss of license, higher insurance costs, heavy fines and jail time.
Florida Guidelines: Penalties for a DUI Conviction
Intoxicated driving is always a serious criminal offense. The specific penalties that a drunk driver will face will depend on several different factors. Most notably, this includes their past criminal record (or lack thereof) and the specific circumstances of their DUI arrest.
With that being said, a first-time drunk driving conviction can come with very serious penalties. If you have been arrested for a DUI in Palm Beach County, FL, you should contact criminal defense lawyer Scott Berry as soon as possible. Mr. Berry is prepared to defend your rights and to help you navigate the criminal justice process. Florida’s basic guidelines for drunk driving penalties are as follows:
- First time offense: A maximum fine of $500, a maximum license suspension of six months, and maximum jail time of six months.
- Second time offense: A maximum fine of $1,000, a maximum license suspension of twelve months, and maximum jail time of nine months.
- Third time offense: A maximum fine of $2,500, a maximum license suspension of five years, and maximum jail time of twelve months.
Beyond these penalties, a conviction can also come with many other adverse consequences. A defendant may face skyrocketing auto insurance costs, they may lose out on employment opportunities, and they may be required to perform community service.
Aggravating Factors in Florida DUI Cases
Notably, the above listed DUI penalties are for offenses in which there are no aggravating factors. If there are aggravating factors present in your West Palm Beach drunk driving case, you may face additional penalties. Some of the most common aggravating factors including:
- Extreme intoxication;
- Causing a serious accident;
- Having a child present in the vehicle;
- Attempting to evade police officers;
- Intentionally driving in a reckless manner; or
- Resisting arrest.
These aggravating factors have the potential to turn a DUI into a felony offense.
How Much Will This Cost?
I charge $1,995 for a misdemeanor DUI in Palm Beach County. The charge is higher if the case originated outside of Palm Beach County because I have to account for travel time and expenses. I charge a trial fee of $1,000 per day that is due 45-60 days before trial. My fees do not include costs for things like experts, court reporters, and subpoena service. I also charge a separate fee of $750 to handle DMV hearings related to DUI driver’s license suspensions. My initial fee is due up front.
If your charge is a felony DUI, my fee increases to $2,995 plus $2,000 per day for trial. My fees for DUI Manslaughter and Vehicular Homicide cases are decided on a case by case basis.
In addition to my fees, you will also have to worry about the costs of a conviction. If you are placed on probation, you will have to pay court costs, fines, costs of supervision, and costs associated with the various classes and treatment you may be ordered to do. You will also be responsible for the costs of drug testing, immobilizing your vehicle, and the installation and upkeep for any ignition interlock device that is required of you. Finally, the DMV will charge you fees to reinstate your driver’s license and your insurance company may increase your fees as a result of your arrest. These other costs will likely total several thousand dollars.
Committed to Helping Clients
DUI/ DWI attorney Scott Berry understands that good people can make mistakes. He strives to satisfy his clients’ emotional, financial and legal needs by zealously representing your interests at every turn. Scott is knowledgeable about complex Florida DUI laws, and he analyzes every aspect of your case — from the initial traffic stop to breathalyzer tests — to build your defense. He knows what the prosecution needs to get a conviction, and he challenges the evidence against you with the skill he has developed throughout his career. DUI attorney Scott Berry works hard to make sure that you get the respect you deserve and the results you desire.
When our legal team takes on your DUI case, we will work tirelessly to get you the very best results. Our law firm fully understands that every DUI defense must be fully individualized to fit the specific circumstances of the case at hand. In some cases, Florida DUI charges must be challenged aggressively. False charges cannot be allowed to stand. Your good name must be cleared.
In other cases, the best defense strategy is to focus on limiting the negative consequences of a conviction. This includes making sure that you stay out of jail, and working to maintain your driving privileges. In some cases, a license suspension can be reduced, and a defendant may be able to get a hardship license that allows that to drive to work and for family obligations during the entirety of the suspension period. The bottom line: West Palm Beach drunk driving defense lawyer Scott Berry is prepared to get you the best possible results in your case.
What to Do If You are Stopped
If you have been pulled over by the police, there are several ways that you can help yourself:
- Remain calm. Police officers can interpret nervousness in your voice as a sign that you are hiding something or are intoxicated. Whether you have consumed alcohol or not, remaining calm is a good way to ensure that police officers do not question your sobriety.
- Always have a clean center console or glove box. Fumbling through these compartments to find your registration or insurance can be misinterpreted as intoxication. Keeping the glove box or center console neat and clean allows you to swiftly grab your identification and present it to a police officer.
- Do not consent to a search of the car. Any evidence found in your car could be used to support a DUI conviction, so do not allow the officer to perform a search.
- Contact a DUI/DWI attorney immediately.
Contact Our West Palm Beach DUI Defense Lawyer Today
At Scott Berry Law, P.A., we have deep experience handling all types of intoxicated driving cases. If you have been arrested for DUI/DWI, you need a qualified West Palm Beach DUI lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you win your case.
For a free, no obligation DUI defense consultation, please call our legal team today at 561-281-7155 or reach out to us online. With an office in West Palm Beach, we represent defendants throughout Palm Beach County, including in Boca Raton, Wellington, Jupiter, Boynton Beach, North Palm Beach, Delray Beach, Palm Springs, Greenacres, and Lake Worth.