Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Frequently Asked Questions
If you have been arrested for a DUI, you likely have many questions. The best way to get answers to your questions is by contacting an experienced St. Petersburg DUI attorney at Stechschulte Nell who can help you understand your options after a review of the specifics of your case. To help you be better prepared to understand what you will face with your DUI charges, we have prepared the following DUI FAQ.
Will I lose my license for a DUI?
Law enforcement takes your license at the time of an arrest for DUI and an automatic license suspension begins 10 days following your DUI arrest. You have 10 days from the date of your arrest to appeal and/or obtain a hardship license from the DMV. If the 10 days expires, your license will be suspended for either 180 days or up to a year for a first time DUI arrest. You will need to act quickly if you wish to fight this automatic suspension or if you wish to obtain a hardship license so you can continue to drive to work.
Will I go to jail for a DUI?
You can be sentenced to jail, even for a first DUI offense. Repeat DUI offenders are subject to longer jail terms and mandatory minimum sentences for a felony DUI.
Can I defend myself against a DUI?
There are a number of possible defenses that you can raise when you have been charged with a DUI. You can allege that the cop conducted an illegal traffic stop of your vehicle, a problem with the breath test or field sobriety tests or lack of control of your vehicle. Your Tampa criminal defense attorney will explain your options for DUI defenses so you can make an informed choice.
Will I have a criminal record?
If you are convicted of a DUI, you will have a criminal record. This can disqualify you from certain jobs, especially those requiring a commercial driver’s license. The record of conviction can also be used against you to impose more serious penalties in subsequent DUI cases. Your Tampa Bay DUI attorney can help you to explore whether you can defend yourself or plead guilty to lesser charges to avoid a criminal record.
What happens if I plead guilty?
If you plead guilty, you admit you engaged in a DUI and you can be sentenced without having to go to trial. Often, if you choose to plead guilty a Tampa criminal defense lawyer can negotiate a deal for a lesser sentence or permission to plead to less serious charges such as reckless driving.
Do I have to submit to field sobriety testing?
You do not have to submit to field sobriety exercises such as the heel-to-toe test or reciting the alphabet. You may wish to decline these tests as they are often subjective, people have difficulty passing them even when sober, and they can provide more evidence to use against you.
Do I need a lawyer for my DUI case?
You should always have a lawyer representing you when you are accused of a DUI. Your attorney can investigate your case, help you identify potential defenses, retain any needed experts, help you navigate the justice system and build a case to achieve the most favorable outcome.
The Hillsborough County DUI attorneys at Stechschulte Nell have helped clients throughout the Tampa Bay area and surrounding areas to defend themselves against DUI, keep their licenses and avoid going to jail. Contact us today to learn how we can assist you with your DUI case.