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First DUI in Pinellas County

Florida’s DUI statute requires that the court impose certain minimum mandatory penalties after a conviction. The courts in Pinellas County also have the discretion to impose harsher penalties up to the statutory maximum.

The best way to avoid those consequences is to get the DUI reduced to a lesser charge or dropped completely. For a first DUI, you might be eligible for the Pinellas County D.R.O.P. diversion program that will result in a reduction of the DUI to reckless driving in exchange for completing enhanced sanctions that might include an ignition interlock device.

Without a reduction to a lesser charge, the penalties for a first DUI include twelve (12) months of probation to complete the following special conditions: 

  • up to six (6) months of jail time in the Pinellas County Jail (§316.193(2)(a)2.a);
  • Level I DUI School;
  • drug and alcohol evaluation and complete all recommended follow-up treatments;
  • 50 hrs Community Service;
  • fines and costs of $983.00 as required by §316.193(2)(a);
  • driver’s license revocation period of six (6) months to one (1) year as required by §322.28(2)(a)1; and
  • ten (10) day vehicle impound or immobilization as required by §316.193(6) (a-c).

If the BAC was .15 or higher or if a child passenger was found in the vehicle, then the first DUI is punishable by:

  • up to nine (9) months in Pinellas County Jail as required by §316.193(4)(b)1;
  • a total fine and costs of $1,518.00 as required by §316.193(4)(a); and
  • a requirement that you must install a mandatory ignition interlock device (IID) in all vehicles that you lease, own, or routinely operate for at least six (6) continuous months.

Attorney for First DUI in Pinellas County

If you were arrested for a First DUI in Pinellas County, FL, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Sammis Law Firm. We represent clients charged with DUI and fight charges for having a BAC over .15 or property damage.

We understand how to challenge the results of a breath test, urine test, or blood test used to determine your alcohol level or the presence of controlled substances.

Whether you were arrested by a deputy with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, a trooper with the Florida Highway Patrol, or an officer with a local police department, we can help.

The main office of Sammis Law Firm is located in downtown Tampa, FL. We recently opened an office in Clearwater near the CJC Courthouse. Our office is located at 14010 Roosevelt Blvd Suite 701, Clearwater, FL 33762-3820. 

Don’t face the judge alone. Contact our experienced criminal defense lawyers for any drunk or impaired driving offense in Pinellas County, FL.

Call 727-210-7004. 

Frequently Asked Questions in Florida DUI Cases

How much does a DUI lawyer cost in Pinellas County, FL?

The typical attorney fees for a first DUI in Pinellas County include both representation in the criminal case in court and the administrative formal review hearing at the DHSMV. Those attorney fees might run between $2,250 and $4,500 depending on whether you are eligible for the D.R.O.P diversion program.

The fees are higher if you have any prior DUI convictions, a BAC over .15, a crash with property damage or personal injury, or a child passenger.

How likely is jail time for a first DUI in Florida?

If you are willing to resolve your case short of trial, the chances of receiving jail time at sentencing are extremely unlikely. Most misdemeanor DUI cases can be resolved without jail time.

Even if you go to trial and the jury returns a “guilty” verdict, no jail time is required for a first DUI.

The more important consideration for most people after a DUI arrest is avoiding a DUI conviction and the minimum mandatory penalties and collateral consequences that go along with the conviction.

What happens when you get your first DUI in Pinellas County, Florida?

After an arrest for a first DUI in Pinellas County, FL, you only have 10 days to hire an attorney who can help you contest the administrative suspension of your driver’s license. Your attorney can also represent you at the first court date called the arraignment.

In most cases, your attorney will enter a written plea of not guilty and waive the formal arraignment. If you do not have an attorney, then you must attend the arraignment to enter a “not guilty” plea and ask for an attorney to be appointed to represent you if you cannot afford a private attorney.

Can a DUI be dismissed in Florida?

Yes, a DUI might be dismissed in Pinellas County, FL, for any number of reasons including:

  • no lawful basis for the initial traffic stop;
  • prolonged detention prior to the arrest;
  • no probable cause for the arrest; or
  • insufficient evidence of impairment from alcohol or drugs.

Evidence might be suppressed if you were not read the Miranda warnings or implied consent warning prior to any alleged refusal to submit to testing of your breath, urine, or blood.

Is your license suspended immediately after a DUI in Florida?

Yes, if you either refused to submit to a breath test, blood test, or urine test, or had a BAC over .08, then the arresting office can seize your driver’s license and trigger an administrative suspension that might last for six (6) months to eighteen (18) months depending on whether you have any prior administrative or court ordered suspensions for DUI on your driving record.

After the arrest, you have only ten (10) days to demand a formal review hearing to contest the administrative suspension of your driver’s license. We can help you file that demand and represent you at the hearing.

Additional Resources

DUI School for First Offense in Pinellas – Learn more about the registration process for the Level 1 DUI Program offered at two (2) locations or pre-registration online. The fee is $326.50 for the DUI Level I Drug and Alcohol Education Course in Pinellas County and includes twelve (12) hours of classroom instruction and an evaluation. To register for the DUI School at SunCoast Safety Counsel, you must live, work, or attend school in Pinellas County. The following documents are needed for registration: photo ID, the DUI citation, any crash report, and the results of any chemical test of the breath, blood, or urine, or a refusal affidavit.

This article was last updated on Thursday, October 27, 2022. 

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