Florida is a popular vacation destination for Iowans and it’s not difficult to see why. It has a year round great climate, the sea, the beaches and the best theme parks, such as Disney World and Universal Studios. There is also the Everglades, the Florida Keys and many other great attractions.
Florida is a great place to unwind, have fun and enjoy yourself.
The casual holiday lifestyle doesn’t include drinking and driving, however. Florida takes DUI offenses very seriously. If you are stopped by the police while on vacation in the Sunshine State, it’s a smart move to know what you should do if they arrest you for DUI.
Having an out of State License is No Defense
There’s no use pleading with a police officer and telling them you’re on vacation from Iowa. DUI in Florida is the same whichever state your license was issued. If you are convicted of DUI in Florida it will affect your Iowa license through the National Driver Registry.
What Will Happen if You are Stopped for DUI
You may be stopped because a police officer thinks your driving is erratic. You might also be stopped at a routine checkpoint and if the officer thinks you may have been drinking you will probably have to do a variety of field sobriety tests. These normally include standing on one leg, walking in a straight line, repeating the alphabet and so on. If the officer thinks you are impaired, he or she will take you to the police station or even a jail.
Here you will take a test for blood alcohol. This is typically a breath test, but could also be a blood test or urine test. If you are found to have a blood alcohol level of more than 0.08%, then you will be charged with DUI.
A Florida DUI charge involves both an administrative and a criminal hearing in a local court. Unless you hire a Florida DUI lawyer to file a plea in absentia, you will have to be present at both of these two hearings even if you are from out of state.
A DUI Conviction Can be a Life Changing Event
Being arrested for DUI while on vacation here in Florida will not only ruin the fun while away from home, it could affect your family, your job and your future career if you are convicted. These are some of the things that will be affected if you are convicted for a DUI offense.
- Your right to drive while you are in Florida will be cancelled, even if your Iowa license is not suspended by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
- Your Iowa license may be suspended if it is checked through the National Driver Registry once you get back home.
- You will have to rely on family and friends or public transportation to get around when you get back home. This could be a great inconvenience.
- Having a DUI conviction may affect your vehicle insurance policy and increase your premiums dramatically.
- You could be fined or even face imprisonment depending on the situation.
- Your employer might not approve of a DUI conviction. At the very least it may affect your chances of promotion or you may even be fired if driving is a condition of the job.
- Having a DUI conviction can seriously affect your chances of getting another job in the future.
It is in your best interests to fight your charge and get it thrown out or at least reduced in severity. The best way to do this is to hire an experienced DUI attorney to help you.
Why you Should Hire a Florida DUI lawyer
If you are arrested for DUI while on vacation in Florida, you should consider hiring an experienced DUI lawyer in Florida. A Florida based lawyer will know the state’s laws much better than anyone from out of state and they are close at hand to offer you advice and help to fight your case.
If you are unsure who to choose, then you can get a lawyer form your home state to recommend a qualified Florida based lawyer in the city you are arrested in. If your Iowa lawyer can’t help, then there are many ways that you can find a good lawyer to represent you. The best and fastest method is to use the internet. Not only do most reputable Florida lawyers have their own website there are several third party lawyer rating websites which will suggest a suitable DUI lawyer in the city you are arrested in.
How a DUI lawyer can help you with a DUI charge
If you have been charged with DUI because you have failed a sobriety test or you have blown over the legal limit of 0.08%, then a DUI lawyer may be able to get your charge thrown out or a sentence reduced. Sobriety tests are very subjective. The police officer who gets you to do these tests makes up his or her mind about whether you are likely to be drinking and driving. Even if you have a health condition which makes it difficult to complete these tests well, or you take medicine which can be confused with alcohol, you may still fail these tests.
The DUI lawyer knows how to find out if your arrest followed the correct procedures. This includes if your Miranda rights were read and the test for blood alcohol test were done properly. Often, the arresting officer fails to follow the correct procedures or the blood alcohol test is suspect and your lawyer can get your charge dropped or your sentence reduced.
About the Author
David Haenel, of Finebloom & Haenel, P.A., is a DUI Lawyer who represents clients throughout the state of Florida. His DUI defense law firm has offices in Tampa, Sarasota, and Orlando and is trusted by hundreds of clients every year who receive DUI charges.