DUI & Criminal Division

Pinellas County Is Serious About DUI Arrests

January 29, 2024

In our previous blog we highlighted that the Tampa Bay Area is Florida’s DUI hotspot for several years in a row. Further, Pinellas County is the place where law enforcement makes the most DUI arrests in the entire state. Local agencies here regularly apply and receive extra money from grant programs to conduct extra DUI saturation patrols. For example, Pinellas recently participated in the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign. It’s no surprise we get plenty of calls from people faced with their first DUI charge in the Tampa area.

Don’t Waste Time – Speak To A Tampa DUI Lawyer

If you have been charged with a DUI offense for the first time in St. Petersburg or Pinellas County, FL, it’s likely that you’re trying to process a wave of questions and uncertainties. Worries about potential jail time and the future of your driving privileges can be stress-inducing. However, you’re not alone in this. Here at The Ticket Clinic, we are committed to our clients. Calming your fears and informing you about your rights is the first step. Afterwards, we swiftly assess the best way forward.

Reminder! It’s imperative to engage with the DMV within a span of 10 days after a DUI or DWI (drunk driving) charge, failing which your driving privileges could be automatically suspended.

First DUI in Pinellas County: What’s At Stake

If you’re facing your first DUI/DWI charge in Pinellas County, you could be looking at a jail sentence of as long as six months. On top of that, you might find your driving privileges revoked for anywhere between six months to a whole year. 

Given these potential outcomes, it’s crucial to arm yourself with an experienced DUI/DWI defense attorney capable of safeguarding your rights. When it comes to battling drunk driving charges in Pinellas County, FL, The Ticket Clinic boasts over three decades worth of expertise. We pride ourselves on our commitment to guide you through the complex maze of law, elucidating the criminal proceedings surrounding your DUI charges, as well as the civil process pertaining to your driver’s license suspension or revocation. We’ll also provide you with a comprehensive breakdown of your possible courses of action. 

Applying our vast knowledge and proven track record of securing successful outcomes for those grappling with Florida DUI charges, we’re here to provide practical, strategic advice tailored to your situation. 

What Could Happen To Your Driver’s License & Driving Record?

When facing a first-time DUI, you might find a local law enforcement officer snatching away your driver’s license. Don’t worry, if your license was in good standing at the time of the DUI arrest, you could qualify for a BPO (Business Purposes Only) permit/license. You’ll find this notation at the bottom of your citation if you’re eligible. 

Take note, though, if your blood alcohol test returned a result exceeding .08, your license could face suspension for a whole half year, an action implemented by the DMV. Similarly, if you declined to submit to a blood alcohol or urine evaluation, you might be looking at a 12-month suspension, also governed by the DMV. Whilst these circumstances can be harnessed by your attorney in your defense, they are separate from the criminal DUI charge you may face. 

A word of advice – don’t dally, make sure you head to the DMV Office of Administrative Reviews within a 10-day window to request a waiver review hearing. This proactive approach can pave the way to meeting specific conditions required to avail the BPO license, empowering you to drive for work during the remainder of the suspension. A necessary caveat to note here is that BPO licenses are exclusive to first-time DUI charges. 

Florida has adopted a tough stance on DUIs. In fact, if you land a DUI conviction, that black mark will tarnish your criminal record for an incredible 75 years. Despite DUI charges being impermeable to sealing or expunging, several strategic actions can be taken to prevent a conviction. This may include pleading to a lesser charge or entering into a pretrial diversion program if you meet the eligibility criteria. 

Given the grave implications of facing a DUI conviction, should you find yourself in this predicament, it’s essential to engage with a proficient DUI attorney to identify and execute your optimal strategic defense.

First-Time DUI Penalties in Florida

Florida statutes detail the penalties for a first-time DUI conviction.

Florida First-Time DUI Penalties

  • Jail Time: up to 6 months; if BAC is .15 or higher, up to 9 months max
  • Fines: up to $1,000; if BAC is .15 or higher, up to $2,000 max
  • Community Service: 50 hours; “buy-outs” can be made at $10/hour, with a typical max of one-half of the hours
  • Probation: up to 12 months; probation of 12 months may be ordered instead of jail time, with an option of early termination after 6-months if all conditions are met
  • Vehicle Impoundment or Immobilization: required for 10-days; not concurrent with incarceration; may be dismissed if the vehicle is driven only by employees of the defendant’s business

DUI school, alcohol or substance abuse counseling, victim impact panels, and investigative fees are commonly associated with DUI cases. Interlock ignition devices are required to be installed for a minimum of 6-months if the BAC was .15 or higher.

Pinellas County PD Doesn’t Mess Around, Hire A Pinellas County Traffic Lawyer

A DUI conviction not only has immediate effects but also can have long-lasting effects too. It impacts your freedom and your future, and it can affect your personal and family life, as well as your career.

Do not simply plead without an attorney. A DUI attorney will thoroughly review the details of your case to develop the most appropriate strategy for your particular situation, working hard for the best outcome possible, such as:

  • get the charges dismissed,
  • reduced charges to reckless driving, or
  • reduced charges to careless driving, which amounts to a civil infraction.

It’s important to contact an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible after a DUI arrest in Pinellas County, FL. A strategy can be implemented quickly and can make a huge difference in multiple factors of your case, including whether you can drive, have to face jail time, and more.

At The Ticket Clinic, we have the skills and experience to strongly advocate for you when facing prosecutors and judges. We work diligently through each aspect of the process, communicating with you regarding each step. Our Clearwater office at 1705 Clearwater Largo Rd might be our closest location to you.

Contact a Pinellas County First-Time DUI Attorney Near Me

Are you grappling with DUI charges in Pinellas County for the first time? Reach out to a reliable DUI attorney. Get in touch with the Florida DUI Lawyer/ The Ticket Clinic and arrange your no-cost consultation today. Boasting over three and a half decades of expertise in handling both criminal defense and DUI cases across St. Petersburg and Pinellas, we have a deep understanding of the procedures.

Rolando A. Sanchez, Esq.

Originally from Miami , grew up in Central Florida.  After high school, he joined the U.S. Air Force where he worked on F-15E fighter jets as an Avionics Technician.  He was Honorably Discharged. Afterwards, he attended University of Central Florida and received a BSBA Finance Degree, cum laude.  Next, he attended Barry University for law school and among other things, served as V.P. of the Veterans Legal Society.  Since graduating in 2016, Mr. Sanchez has dedicated his career to helping those charged with criminal matters.  These cases include traffic, misdemeanors and felonies, including trials and post-conviction relief. Mr. Sanchez is the lead attorney in Ticket Clinic’s Kissimmee office, handling cases in Osceola, Polk, Hardee and Desoto Counties.