Should You Fight Back Against a First Time DUI?
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a serious offense in the state of Florida. And if you are arrested, charged, and convicted of a DUI charge, even if it’s a first offense, you may face serious legal consequences. Which is why if you are charged with a DUI, you may be wondering whether or not you should fight the charges, or plead guilty to the charge from the get-go. Here’s a look into things you should consider when facing a DUI charge for the first time:
The Consequences of a First Time DUI
Before you decide whether or not you are going to plead guilty or defend yourself against charges, it is important to understand the consequences of a first time DUI offense. For a first time DUI offense in Florida, you will probably face:
- Up to six months in jail (although there is no minimum incarceration period);
- A community service sentence;
- Probationary period;
- License revocation;
- Mandatory attendance at a DUI school; and
- Fine between $500 and $1,000.
If your first time DUI is particularly serious, for example, if you have a very high blood alcohol content (BAC) level at the time of arrest, if you have a minor in the vehicle, or if you refuse a breath or blood alcohol test, the consequences will likely be more serious.
It Depends On Your Circumstances
Keeping the above consequences in mind, whether or not you plead guilty to a first time DUI or defend yourself against the charges depends on the consequences. Our lawyers almost never recommend that a defendant plead guilty to charges at the original hearing; it is almost always within one’s best interests to plead not guilty originally and start the process of building a defense.
You may want to retain your “not guilty” plea and fight charges if evidence against you was illegally obtained, if you truly are innocent, or if you believe that your Constitutional rights have been violated. If evidence is stacked against you, you may want to plead guilty if a plea bargain with the prosecution can be reached. This is something that your attorney can both explain to you and represent you during.
Contacting an Attorney as Soon as Possible Is Key
In all cases, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible after being arrested and charged with a DUI, and you should not enter a plea of guilty or not guilty before speaking with an attorney. Your South Tampa DUI attorney will review your case and the evidence against you, and give you an informed, knowledgeable recommendation about whether or not you should fight back against charges, and if so, what strategy is best for your case.
At the Law Offices of Mark G. Rodriguez, P.A., our Florida DUI lawyer knows that being charged with a DUI is scary. However, a DUI does not necessarily mean a conviction, and we can help you to defend yourself against charges and understand your options for having charges reduced and mitigating the most severe of sentencing. To learn more, please request a free consultation by calling us today, or sending us a message. We promise to work diligently on your behalf.