• How Long Does a DUI Case Take in Pinellas County

How Long Does a DUI Case Take in Pinellas County

By |2023-09-12T13:23:47-04:00September 12th, 2023|Categories: DUI Driving Under the Influence|Tags: , , , |

Determining how long your DUI case in Pinellas County will take is affected by the severity of your charges. But, in some unique cases and with the support of our experienced Pinellas County DUI defense lawyers you may be able to get your case dropped within days of the arrest.

Here is an overview of how long a DUI case takes in Pinellas County and what to expect:

How Long Will a DUI Case Take to Resolve in Pinellas County?

Misdemeanor DUI Case Length:

  • Florida’s ‘Speedy Trial’ rule means that a defendant should be brought to trial within 90 days of their arrest in a misdemeanor DUI case.
  • However, many DUI cases in Pinellas County take longer than 3 months (as much as 6 months) as delays occur.
  • For example, law enforcement officers regularly fail to send all the required information to the state attorney’s office (which is needed for a defense).
  • Defendants are often asked to sign a waiver of the speedy trial rule if more time is needed to gain additional information for a solid defense. In these cases, the attorney can then avoid you from having to go to a hearing and court.
  • The defendant can then also avoid having to miss work just to sit in court for a day to hear a brief speech from their attorney about an uncontested continuance.
  • Our Pinellas County DUI attorneys will always try to make the process as short and undemanding as possible.
  • In most cases, a defendant should only be in court for an essential reason and not just to hear their attorney deal with a formality.

Read Related: Pinellas County DUI DROP Program

Felony DUI Case Length:

  • Florida’s ‘Speedy Trial’ rule means that a defendant should be brought to trial within 175 days of their arrest in a felony DUI case.
  • However, at peak times in largely populated areas such as Pinellas County, it can take as long as 5-7 months.

Potential for Fast Results:

  • It should be noted that in some cases our clients have had their cases dropped very quickly, without the need to even go to trial. This happens when we realize the arrest was unlawful or there has been an apparent misunderstanding.
  • For example, we had a client who was arrested for a DUI after she was stopped for speeding after she crossed the Gandy Bridge. She had only had one drink and felt certain she was OK to drive. The arresting officer disagreed.
  • She had provided a breath sample of .000% BAC and had taken no controlled substances but was waiting on a pending urine result as proof.
  • We worked fast and aggressively to get the prosecutor to provide the urine results sooner than expected.
  • Our client did not need to go to court, and with this evidence, we managed to get the prosecutor to drop the charge entirely.

How Quickly Can a DUI Defense Lawyer Help Me?

  • Our Pinellas County criminal defense attorneys can act aggressively and immediately to defend our clients.
  • We know that in some cases, a rapid response can acquire critical evidence to resolve misunderstandings (such as those involving medication or samples that are pending).
  • Our DUI defense lawyers will also act fast to challenge your driver’s license suspension (you have just 10 days from the date of the arrest to make this challenge).

Read Related: Are DUI Breath Test Results Always Accurate?

The Criminal Case Process:

  • The criminal case process begins with a ‘First Appearance in court, within 24 hours of your arrest (if you haven’t been released on bond). During this hearing, the judge will explain your charges and review the police reports to confirm if there is probable cause for your arrest.
  • The second step is ‘Arraignment’. This formal and mandatory hearing will see you charged with the DUI and you get to make a not guilty (or guilty) plea. Your attorney can waive your appearance at this hearing, and make the plea on your behalf.
  • The pretrial conference is next. It typically occurs several weeks after the arraignment and weeks before the trial. Scheduling and any possible claims for an illegal arrest or invalid evidence will be discussed. Offers may be made to you by the judge.
  • If it’s believed your rights were violated, a ‘Suppression Hearing’ date may be set.
  • If your DUI case in Pinellas County goes to a Jury Trial, you can expect a complicated and lengthy process with detailed planning and preparation. However, this time is always worth it to prevent life-long consequences of a conviction.

The Administrative Process

  • If you refused a breath test during your DUI arrest, or you blew higher than .08 BAC on it, then your license will be automatically suspended by the DMV.
  • You can challenge the suspension, but you have just 10 days from the date of your arrest!
  • Your attorney will request a civil administrative hearing to make the challenge.
  • You may be able to acquire a temporary hardship license if you challenge the suspension.
  • These temporary licenses last for 42 days, allowing you to drive for essential employment purposes.

Read Related: How to Keep My License After a DUI in Florida

DUI Defense Attorney in Pinellas County, FL

If you’ve been arrested for a DUI in Pinellas County, please contact our criminal defense lawyers for a swift and aggressive response.

Our experienced team regularly helps people charged with both unlawful arrests or in need of a strong defense, to gain a future free from the consequences of prison and a criminal record.

Free Consultations

Our Pinellas County criminal defense attorneys at Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A., are part of one of Tampa Bay’s most prestigious law firms. We have the reputation and connections to make things happen.

Contact us today for a free consultation to get started or CALL (727) 381-2300