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DUI Defense Attorneys

If you have been arrested for DUI (driving under the influence) in North Florida, you may be wondering if a DUI charge is a felony or a misdemeanor. In criminal law cases, crimes are either classified as misdemeanors (punishable by 1 year or less) or felonies (punishable by 5 years or more).  Depending on the circumstances, a DUI could be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony.  A first or second DUI offense is always a misdemeanor, unless an aggravating factor exists, such as death or serious bodily injury to another.  A DUI manslaughter is always prosecuted as a felony.  A DUI with injuries could be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the seriousness of the injuries. A third DUI, if committed more than 10 years after a previous DUI, is a misdemeanor, but a third DUI within 10 years of a previous conviction, could be prosecuted as a felony.  A fourth or subsequent DUI can also be prosecuted as a felony.  The state prosecutor decides how the defendant will be charged. Many times, a criminal law attorney in Jacksonville, FL can influence the prosecution, depending on the circumstances surrounding the arrest and the facts of the case. This could determine whether the DUI crime will be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. For more information, DUI offenses are covered under Section 316.193, Fla. Stat.  

Section 316.193, Fla. Stat. states that a driver or person in “actual physical control” of a vehicle, who is impaired by alcohol or drugs, is guilty of DUI. The penalties for a first conviction for DUI, with no aggravating factors, include fines of $500 to $1000, a maximum of 6 months incarceration, DUI school, and 6 months suspension of the driver’s license. For a second conviction of DUI, with no aggravating factors, the penalties include fines of $1000 to $2000, a maximum of 9 months incarceration, advanced DUI school, and 6 to 9 months suspension of the driver’s license. If the second DUI conviction is within five years of the first conviction, there is a mandatory penalty of 10 days in jail.  Additionally, for second convictions, the driver must have an ignition interlock device installed in all vehicles operated by the convicted person, at their own expense, for a period of 1 year.

Importance of Having Legal Representation When Charged with DUI

A first or second DUI prosecution, with no “aggravating factors” such as serious injury or death, is always prosecuted as a misdemeanor. However, the penalties can be quite severe. Being arrested and charged with DUI is a serious matter that can have lasting repercussions on many aspects of your life, income, and freedom. Having an experienced criminal law attorney is the first step towards obtaining a successful outcome in any criminal prosecution. At Fallgatter Catlin & Varon, P.A. we have extensive experience handling all types of DUI cases. Curtis Fallgatter is a former Federal Prosecutor with over 40 years of criminal law experience. Recognized as one of the most successful criminal defense attorneys in America, Curtis is often called upon to give legal opinions on complex criminal matters on local and national television. Lisa Varon has been practicing criminal law for over 25 years and is the former President of the Northeast Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Together they represent over sixty years of shared experience in handling all types of cases involving crimes of every size, dimension, and severity. From DUI, DUI manslaughter, murder, and assault to white-collar crimes such as embezzlement and racketeering, the law office of Fallgatter Catlin & Varon, P.A. are with you every step of the way. If you have been arrested for any offense, before answering questions or making statements to any official, contact our office at 904-353-5800. Protecting your legal rights is essential to obtaining a fair outcome in your case.