Serving West Palm Beach Residents Arrested for DUI
West Palm Beach is known for providing tourists and residents with great beaches, restaurants, shopping and nightlife. Many people enjoy going out to City Center, Clematis, The Kravis Center and the Norton Museum of Art. With so much nightlife and entertainment there are many DUI arrests in West Palm Beach.
If you were arrested in West Palm Beach for DUI, your case will be in front of one of the county court judges in the West Palm Beach courthouse. There are several judges in the county court division and each case is assigned a prosecutor. Our DUI attorney will look for weaknesses in the DUI case against you to help you achieve the best possible outcome.
What is the penalty for a first DUI in West Palm Beach?
A first DUI in West Palm Beach can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. The DUI is a misdemeanor as long as no one was seriously hurt in an accident. A misdemeanor DUI is punishable by up to six months in the county jail if the breath test or the blood test results showed an alcohol level of less than .15. A misdemeanor DUI is punishable by up to nine months in the county jail if the tests showed an alcohol level of .15 or more. A first DUI is punishable by up to one year in the county jail if there was an accident. A DUI is a third DUI degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison if an accident occurred, and someone sustained serious bodily injury.
In West Palm Beach, where do people get DUIs?
It is possible that your West Palm Beach DUI was committed on one of these roads. As local residents, we know the speed limits along the roads that may be relevant to your DUI stop. Traffic infractions require probable cause for the police to stop you. Did you get stopped for speeding, or for failing to maintain a single lane? It is possible to challenge these types of stops, leading to a dismissal of your dui case.
- Belvedere Road
- Okeechobee Blvd.
- Palm Beach Lakes
- Dixie Hwy.
- Federal Highway
- Australian Ave.
- Donald Ross Road
What is your DUI defense strategy?
The DUI defense strategy that we use involves finding and exploiting weaknesses in the prosecutor's case against you. We will want to know why you were stopped by the police officer. Many times, the police stop a driver without a valid reason. The police need to have probable cause that you committed a traffic infraction to stop you, or reasonable suspicion of DUI. The police must need a reason to stop you. Without a reason, we can potentially get the entire DUI case thrown out.
I have already had one DUI, what happens if I am convicted of a second DUI?
Florida law requires that a second DUI offender to be sentenced to a minimum of ten days in jail if the second DUI arrest occurred within 5 years of the first DUI conviction. If this is your second DUI offense, you absolutely need to speak to a DUI lawyer. Additionally, you will be facing a five-year driver's license suspension.
The police didn't read me my Miranda rights, does the case go away?
Unfortunately, Miranda only applies to statements made by a Defendant as a result of a "custodial interrogation". These are statements designed to elicit an incriminating response, while a defendant reasonably believes he or she is not free to leave police custody. For example, a person who is in the back of a police car on his way to jail is an example of someone who is in police custody. A police officer who then asks the defendant if he had been drinking while driving is interrogating the defendant, because that question is designed to elicit an incriminating response.
However, in the context of DUI cases, the prosecutor many times does not need a Defendant's statement to prove their case.
I blew over a .08 on the breath test in West Palm Beach, will I go to jail?
Just because you blew over a .08, the legal limit in Florida, does not mean that you will be convicted of DUI. There are many ways that we can attack the DUI case to have it either reduced to reckless driving or possibly get the charge thrown out. The police need to follow proper legal procedures to have evidence used against you. In some DUI cases, the police violate a defendant's fourth amendment rights by stopping the vehicle without probable cause. Such violations may allow us to have any evidence obtained by the police to be inadmissible. The police must also observe you for a period of twenty minutes prior to the administration of the breath test. If the police did not conduct the mandatory observation period, then the results of the breath test may be inadmissible.
I refused to take the breath test, what happens next?
In most cases, if you refused the breath test, your license will be suspended for one year for a first-time breath refusal. If you have a prior DUI breath refusal, your license will be suspended for 18 months by the DMV. However, refusing the breath test makes it much more difficult for the prosecution to prove that you were driving under the influence. This is because the prosecutor will not be able to tell a jury that you blew over the legal limit. Instead, he or she will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury that your normal faculties were impaired. It is more difficult to convince a jury that someone's normal faculties were impaired compared to presenting objection evidence of intoxication, a breath test reading of .08 or higher.
It is much easier to get a DUI reduced to reckless driving if a person did not take the breath test than if a person gave a breath test reading that measured .08 or higher.
How do I reduce my West Palm Beach DUI to reckless driving?
Each case is different, and not every case gets reduced to reckless driving. A prosecutor will consider a driver's criminal history and if there are any aggravating factors in the case when negotiating with the DUI client's lawyer on a reduction to DUI. For more information on “wet reckless” plea deals, read our blog post on how to get a DUI reduced to reckless driving.
I was sleeping in my car in West Palm Beach when the cops arrived, can I get a DUI?
Florida law states that a person can be arrested for DUI if he or she is in "actual physical control of the vehicle." Actual physical control can mean that a person was sleeping in the front seat with the keys in the ignition. Whether someone was in actual physical control of the vehicle depends on the facts of each case. West Palm Beach DUI lawyers can tell you whether you were in actual physical control of your vehicle when the police arrested you for DUI.
Will I go to jail for a first DUI?
In most DUI cases, if you do not have a criminal record, we will be able to get you into the Palm Beach County DUI Diversion program. This program allows for first-time DUI offenders to avoid jail time. Additionally, the program provides the added benefit of having your DUI charged reduced to reckless driving. You will also not receive points on your license.
Can I get a DUI removed from my record?
A DUI can't be removed from your record. This is why it is important to consult with a DUI lawyer. We may be able to get your case reduced to reckless driving, or even get the charge dismissed completely. This will all depend on the facts of your individual case. A reckless driving charge where adjudication is withheld can make you eligible for a record sealing.
Will my insurance go up for a DUI?
Florida Statute 324.023 states that a person convicted of DUI, must purchase and maintain bodily injury insurance in the amount of $100,000/$300,000 for a period of 3 years. This is referred to as FR-44 insurance and a person convicted of DUI must have it before their license can be reinstated.
The FR in FR-44 is for Financial Responsibility, and the financial responsibility certificate is mailed to the Florida Department Highway Safety Motor Vehicles by the driver's insurance carrier.
Additionally, you will have to pay the DMV a $150 to have your license reinstated.
When is a DUI a felony?
A DUI is a felony if you have two prior DUIs and the second DUI conviction occurs within 10 years of the third DUI arrest. For example, if the second DUI conviction happened in 2013, and the third DUI arrest happened in 2022, then you can be charged with felony DUI. Felony DUI is punishable by up to five years in state prison and a ten-year driver's license suspension. Florida law requires a defendant convicted of felony DUI to serve 30 days in jail or an inpatient rehabilitation facility.
A DUI is also a felony if anyone involved in a DUI crashed suffered serious bodily injury.
Why did the police officer ask me to walk in a line and to pick my leg up and count to thirty?
The walking in a line is the walk and turn test. This is one of the main field sobriety exercises or agility tests used by police officers to provide ammunition in their DUI case against you. The truth is that the officer already believed you were impaired prior to asking you to perform this test. Even if you aced this test, there is a good chance that the officer still would have arrested you. The same thing goes for the one-leg stand test. The officer asked you to count while holding your leg up. This is a divided attention task because you were tested on your ability to simultaneously perform a mental exercise (counting) with a physical exercise (holding your leg up). The problem is that these tests lack scientific reliability. It is not easy to perform these tests on the side of the road while you were auditioning for your freedom to the police officer. These tests are voluntary. You do not have to do them.
What can a West Palm Beach DUI Attorney do for me and my case?
If this is your first DUI, you will need a lawyer for your DUI to help you to obtain a hardship license from the bureau of administrative review. Communicating with this department on your own can be extremely time consuming and difficult. We are in a much better position to obtain a hardship license for you than if you try to do it on your own. This license allows you to drive to and from work, for medical reasons and to maintain your livelihood. Hiring a DUI attorney will give you the best chance at getting your case dismissed.
We will review the arresting officer's dash cam footage and body cam footage. We review this footage for many reasons. First, we want to know why you were stopped. An illegal stop is grounds for getting the entire DUI case thrown out of court. Second, we want to know if the officer's opinion that you were impaired can be supported or corroborated by video evidence. A DUI defense involves challenging the officer's opinion that you were impaired by drugs or alcohol. We can do this by showing that you did well on the field sobriety tests, or by providing alternative reasons for poor performance. We can see if the officer's written observations of you are consistent with the video evidence.
We will go to court for you so that you do not have to attend court. This saves you valuable time by not having to miss work or school.
Our objective in a DUI case is to get it reduced to reckless driving or to get it dismissed if the facts warrant a dismissal.
If you have been arrested for DUI in West Palm Beach, call our office for a FREE consultation at 561-588-2781.