DUI & Criminal Division

Why You Should Avoid A DUI Charge In The Florida Keys

January 16, 2024

Reason 1 – It Can Become Very Costly

A DUI conviction goes beyond just legal consequences like jail time and suspended driving privileges; it also poses a significant challenge to your financial wellbeing.  As per the data from Florida’s Department of Motor Vehicles, the total cost – inclusive of fines, insurance hikes, attorney charges – of a DUI conviction typically circles around a staggering $8,000. This financial burden itself underscores the critical need for top-notch legal representation to craft a solid defense, and that’s not even taking into account the benefits of dodging jail time or keeping your license. 

Here are some potential expenses you might need to cover: 

  • Fines — Generally, for a first-time DUI offender, fines range between $500 to $1,000. However, if you were caught with a blood alcohol content exceeding .15 percent, the fine doubles. Repeat offenders can expect even steeper fines.
  • DMV charges — The DMV may charge additional fees for providing your driving records or handling other tasks linked with reinstating your driving privileges or granting you a temporary license.
  • Probation costs — If you’re sentenced to probation, expect to pay out of pocket for drug tests, telephonic reporting, monitoring, among other administrative charges.
  • Community service — Your punishment might also involve community service. In lieu of this, sometimes you can opt to pay an hourly rate instead.
  • Alcohol education program — Florida courts often mandate completion of an alcohol education program. Be prepared for an associated fee, which is usually around $300.
  • Towing and impoundment costs — Even if you’re not eventually convicted, the cost of tow truck service and impounding your vehicle, a common practice after a DUI arrest, can also add up.

Clearly, scoring a victory in court or at least coming away with a lenient plea deal can save you significant amounts of money. Engaging the services of a well-versed attorney who has a proven track record with DUI cases can be a true game-changer. These cases require specialized knowledge that your average criminal defense attorney might not possess. A competent lawyer can potentially have your charges dropped or lessened and even if you’re still convicted, they can help to mitigate the penalties and the far-reaching implications of a DUI on your personal record.

Reason #2: The Potential to Spoil Your Holiday 

Florida Keys, an archipelago known for its mesmerizing beaches and perpetual festive spirits, assures a delightful vacation. Among the many enjoyments is the pulsating nightlife of Key West. However, it is paramount to be cautious. The law enforcement authorities in the city adopt a zero-tolerance stance towards driving under the influence (DUI). If you’re caught driving over the permissible legal limit while on vacation, it can turn a fun-filled break into a challenging ordeal. 

Dangers of navigating a vehicle or boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs cannot be undermined. To curb such behavior, many states enforce strict punishments. Notably, in Florida, penalties for DUI violations escalate with every recurrent offense. However, even first-time offenders can face up to six months of imprisonment or a fine of $1,000. Additionally, community service and attending DUI classes are common mandates. Engaging legal assistance from entities like The Ticket Clinic can help ameliorate the damage. 

Reason #3: Legal Ramifications of a DUI Conviction in The Keys can be Severe 

Repeat DUI convictions usher in more significant repercussions. Should you have two or more DUI records within five years, it leads to compulsory imprisonment. Four DUI instances invariably categorize you as a felon irrespective of the time elapse between offenses, and penalties only surge further. Given the hefty stake, it becomes critical to contest any DUI allegations fervently. 

This discussion on multiple offenses primarily concerns Florida residents. However, out of state vacationers shouldn’t assume they can evade the issue simply by leaving Florida. Wondering how it’s possible to suspend a license issued by another state? The National Driver Registry’s Problem Driver Pointer System caters to the answer, maintaining records of individuals whose driving privileges have been retracted or had serious traffic-related accusations. 

If apprehended for a DUI offense in Florida, your license will face suspension in your residence state for an equivalent or longer time, depending on your state’s regulation. Non-compliance with court fees or other reinstatement prerequisites from Florida has heavy implications like not getting your license back. Additionally, your insurance company will undeniably learn about your conviction and elevate your rates. To safeguard against adverse circumstances post a DUI arrest in a foreign state, seek adept legal representation like The Ticket Clinic before appearing in court. 

Also noteworthy, disregarding a court appearance for a DUI can lead to consequences graver than a license suspension. With possible jail sentences a part of DUI or Boating Under Influence (BUI) penalties, evading responsibilities can provoke an out-of-state warrant leading to your arrest. Instead of constantly living under a cloud of legal troubles, take proactive measures and engage legal help from The Ticket Clinic to mitigate your DUI implications.

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.