First DUI in Pasco County, FL

After being arrested for DUI, people experience a wide range of emotions from being angry about the way they were treated by the arresting officer or being frightened about the consequences the accusation might have on their future.

To protect yourself after an arrest for a first DUI offense in Pasco County, FL, you should act quickly.

You have two cases pending against you. First, the arresting officer seized your driver’s license and triggered an “on-the-spot” administrative suspension. You only have ten (10) days to hire an attorney to demand a formal review hearing to challenge the administrative suspension of your driver’s license.

Our attorneys can demand the formal review hearing for you and pick up your 42-day permit from the Bureau of Administrative Reviews (BAR) office in Clearwater, FL.

Although some people might tell you to enroll in DUI school and go to the BAR office in Clearwater to waive all your rights and stipulate to the suspension, we take a different approach. Call us to find out why we ALWAYS recommend demanding a formal review hearing, especially after a first DUI arrest.

Second, you have a criminal charge for DUI pending against you. Your criminal defense attorney will help you aggressively fight the case at the courthouse in New Port Richey or Dade City, FL.

The goal in the criminal case is avoiding a DUI conviction by getting the prosecutor to drop the charge, getting the court to dismiss the charge, or getting a reduction to a less serious charge (such as reckless driving).

If you need some good news, the State Attorney’s Office for Pasco County, FL, just announced the creation of a new DUI diversion program called D.R.O.P. for anyone arrested for DUI in Pasco. Contact us to learn more about the eligibility requirements for DUI arrests on or after June 1, 2021.

Attorneys for a First DUI in Pasco County, FL

Most of our clients have no prior record of any kind. Suddenly their life is upside down because of a criminal accusation that they were driving under the influence.

At Sammis Law Firm, the four attorneys are focused exclusively on criminal defense with a particular emphasis on DUI defense. Call us to find out why we ALWAYS recommend demanding a formal review hearing, especially for a first DUI.

The administrative suspension will remain on your driving record for the next 75 years unless you get it invalidated at a formal review hearing.

Don’t waive all your rights by stipulating to the suspension during a waiver review hearing. Instead, hire an attorney to demand a formal review hearing on your behalf and secure your 42-day permit.

Contact us to find out more about how aggressively fight a 1st DUI arrest. We can explain the requirements to participate in the new DUI Diversion Program called D.R.O.P. for any arrest on or after June 1, 2021.

Call (813) 250-0500 today.

Criminal Penalties for a First-Time DUI Conviction

The statutory penalties that come with a first DUI conviction include:

  • 12 months probation with a possibility of early termination or up to 6 months in jail;
  • a fine of $500 to $1,000;
  • a minimum of 50 hours of community service;
  • a 10 day vehicle immobilization;
  • successful completion of Level I DUI school and any required follow up treatment;
  • a six (6) to twelve (12) month driver’s license suspension (in addition to any administrative suspension that was imposed).

The statutory maximum jail sentence for a first DUI is six (6) months. The statutory maximum jail sentence is longer if any enhanced penalties apply for:

  • a blood/breath alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or above;
  • a child passenger;
  • a prior conviction with enhanced penalties classified as:
    • second DUI within 5;
    • third DUI within 10 years of any prior conviction; or
    • fourth lifetime DUI;
  • a crash causing:
    • property damage or non-serious injury;
    • serious bodily injury; or
    • death.

Collateral Consequences of a First DUI Conviction

In addition to the criminal penalties that can be imposed by the court, other collateral consequences can last long after the criminal case is resolved.

For instance, you will face a huge increase in your car insurance premiums for a least the next three years. During that time, you will be required to obtain and maintain FR44 insurance.

You might be unable to travel to Canada or other foreign counties. You might be unable to obtain a concealed weapon permit, maintain a professional license, rent an apartment, or work with children. A criminal conviction can make it more difficult to pursue an education or find employment.

You might be able to avoid many of those collateral consequences if your DUI charge is reduced to reckless after entering the new DUI Diversion program called D.R.O.P.

Can the Court Withhold Adjudication for a DUI?

For most people arrested for a first offense, they would be entitled to avoid a conviction by asking the court to withhold adjudication.

But for a DUI, even a first offense, the court is not permitted to withhold adjudication for a DUI offense. The only way around this rule is to get the charges dropped or reduced to a less serious offense such as reckless driving.

Florida’s Rule of Traffic Court 6.290 and section 316.656, Florida Statutes, provides that the court is not allowed to suspend, defer, or withhold adjudication of guilt or the imposition of sentence for the offense of DUI.

For purposes of determining which offenses are subject to this rule, the rules prohibit a withhold of adjudication for any of the following offenses:

  • driving or being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while:
    • having an unlawful blood alcohol level; or
    • being under the influence (to the extent normal faculties are impaired) of:
      • alcoholic beverages;
      • any chemical substance set forth in section 877.111, Florida Statutes; or
      • any substance controlled by chapter 893, Florida Statutes.

This article was last updated on Wednesday, May 19, 2021.