Second-Time DUI in St. Petersburg, FL2024-03-04T15:09:16-05:00

Second-Time DUI in St. Petersburg, FL

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All is not lost if you have been arrested for a Second-Time DUI in St. Petersburg, FL. It is just going to be harder than the first one. The main factors are when you had the first one in relation to this one and if there are any additional charges. Examples of additional charges are driving on a suspended license, refusal to submit to the intoxilyzer, or leaving the scene of an accident. The police love to pile on additional charges if you have been in trouble before.

We have handled countless second-time DUIs in front of every judge in Pinellas County. We know what they expect and how to defend these cases. We use this experience to prepare you for what is to come.

This article will address what is likely to happen in your DUI case in Pinellas County.

Understanding Second-Time DUI Offenses

In St. Petersburg, FL, there are categories of second-time DUIs and it all comes down to when you had the first DUI in relation to the second. If 5 years or more have gone by since the first, then you are in a lesser offense category. This is called a second outside of 5. But, if less than 5 years has passed, then you face more penalties including a higher fine, 10 days minimum of jail and a 5 year driver’s license suspension. This is called a second within 5. Florida law places a red line on the 5 year mark, and it often just comes down to luck.

How do you calculate the 5 year enhancement for a second DUI?

For a “second within 5” DUI, the second DUI must take place within 5 years of the date of the prior conviction. Conviction is the key word. The 5 years is not calculated from the time that you were arrested for your first DUI, the 5 years begin from when you pled to the DUI in court. Also, you cannot game the system by extending your second DUI court dates out past the 5 year mark. All that matters is when you got the second DUI, not when you plea to it.

Penalties for Second-Time DUI Offenses in St. Petersburg, FL

There are certain mandatory penalties that Florida requires if you have to plea to the DUI. Here are the second DUI mandatory penalties:

Second Within 5 years- Blow below .15

  • Fine-$1518
  • Probation- 12 months
  • Driver’s License Suspension- 5 years
  • Jail- Minimum 10 days
  • Impound of vehicle- 30 days

Other Conditions- Multiple Offender DUI School, Alcohol Evaluation and any recommended treatment, Victim Impact Panel, No Alcohol/Bars/Clubs, Investigative Costs, 1 year ignition interlock device.

Second Within 5 years- Blow above .15/ accident/person less than 18 in car

  • Fine-$2558
  • Probation- 12 months
  • Driver’s License Suspension- 5 years
  • Jail- Minimum 10 days
  • Impound of vehicle- 30 days

Other Conditions- Multiple Offender DUI School, Alcohol Evaluation and any recommended treatment, Victim Impact Panel, No Alcohol/Bars/Clubs, Investigative Costs, 2 year ignition interlock device.

Second Outside 5 years- Blow below .15

  • Fine-$1518
  • Probation- 12 months
  • Driver’s License Suspension- Up to 1 year
  • Jail- No mandatory jail
  • Impound of vehicle- 10 days

Other Conditions- Multiple Offender DUI School, Alcohol Evaluation and any recommended treatment, Victim Impact Panel, No Alcohol/Bars/Clubs, Investigative Costs, 1 year ignition interlock device.

Second Outside 5 years- Blow below .15/accident/person less than 18 in car

  • Fine-$2558
  • Probation- 12 months
  • Driver’s License Suspension- Up to 1 year
  • Jail- No mandatory jail
  • Impound of vehicle- 10 days

Other Conditions- Multiple Offender DUI School, Alcohol Evaluation and any recommended treatment, Victim Impact Panel, No Alcohol/Bars/Clubs, Investigative Costs, 2 year ignition interlock device.

Challenging Second-Time DUI Charges: Strategies for Defense

Facing a second DUI charge in St. Petersburg, FL can be daunting. However, with the right defense strategy, it’s possible to avoid the harsh consequences that unprepared people and public defender clients get.

Defending Second-Time DUI charges often involves questioning the circumstances surrounding the arrest. This could include:

  1. Evaluating whether the traffic stop or arrest was lawful
  2. Disputing the breath test results
  3. Scrutinizing the officer’s observations
  4. Challenging the amount of evidence used to show impairment

These tactics aim to expose any potential errors or inconsistencies that could undermine the prosecution’s case.

For instance, traffic stops must be based on a reasonable suspicion that a traffic law has been violated or a crime has been committed. If law enforcement initiated a stop without a valid reason, all the evidence can be suppressed.

The accuracy of breathalyzer or blood tests is another common point of contention. These tests must be conducted under strict protocols, and any deviation could result in false readings.

Field sobriety tests are highly subjective and can be influenced by factors such as medical conditions, driver fatigue, or even nervousness. One of the best ways to show why you performed poorly on the field sobriety tests is to get medical records of underlying health or medical conditions to explain.

Remember that each DUI case is unique.

Importance of Prompt Legal Counsel

Perhaps the best advice that we can give for a second DUI is to get a head start on completing the conditions that may be ordered. It is not an admission of guilt to do the DUI school, counseling, and Victim Impact Panel while the case is pending. In fact, if you don’t complete these conditions, you will lose out on potential leniency. If you don’t want to be proactive and get in front of the case, you might as well just hire a public defender.

Key Roles of a Defense Attorney

1. Evaluating Evidence

Analyzing the prosecution’s evidence to identify any inconsistencies or errors that could be pivotal in weakening the case.

2. Case Customization

Each second DUI offense defense is unique. For example, we employ a personalized approach, ensuring that individual factors are considered in crafting an effective defense. Options such as enrollment in treatment programs and counseling can serve as alternatives to incarceration, addressing underlying issues while satisfying legal mandates.

3. Negotiation Expertise

We engage in negotiations with prosecutors, aiming for charge reductions. We always try to get the DUI charge reduced, whether it be reckless driving or in some circumstances, careless driving.

4. Sentencing Advocacy

In cases where a conviction is unavoidable, we advocate for minimum penalties and explore avenues for sentence mitigation on behalf of their clients. Our goal in this circumstance is to make the punishment as little as possible.

Case Result: How We Successfully Defended a Client Against a Second-Time DUI Charge in 2024

Pinellas Justice Center- defense attorneys Sean McQuaid and Ranger Jackson won a not-guilty for their client in a challenging DUI trial. Their client, facing a second DUI offense coupled with driving on a suspended license, was acquitted by a jury in a remarkably short deliberation time. This case study delves into the details of the trial, the defense strategy, and the implications of this victory.

Background

The defendant was arrested in April 2023 by the St. Petersburg Police for DUI and driving on a suspended license. This arrest marked his second DUI offense. Previously charged with DUI in 2021, the defendant had completed all required penalties but failed to reinstate his driver’s license. Consequently, his license remained suspended, leading to the subsequent arrest when an officer pulled him over after running his tag.

Upon arrest, the defendant exhibited signs of evasion and was suspected of alcohol impairment. His refusal to perform field sobriety exercises and to submit to a breathalyzer test (a double refusal) positioned him unfavorably in the eyes of the prosecutors, who generally view double refusals with particular disapproval.

The Trial

The Decision to Go to Trial

Facing the prospect of a lengthy jail sentence and a five-year suspension of his driver’s license, the defendant opted for a trial. This decision was bolstered by the defense team’s analysis of police reports and video evidence, which suggested a lack of substantial proof of impairment.

Jury Selection and Testimonies

The defense felt confident in their jury selection, setting the stage for a trial where the State Attorney’s Office relied heavily on the arresting officer’s testimony. This officer, inexperienced in court testimony, struggled under cross-examination by Sean McQuaid. Her credibility was further undermined by the backup officer, who, despite witnessing the arrest up close, testified to observing no signs of impairment in the defendant.

Verdict and Sentencing

After a mere 17 minutes of deliberation, the jury returned a not guilty verdict on the DUI charge. The judge, addressing the suspended license charge, opted for a lenient approach, imposing only a fine and expressing confidence that the defendant had learned from his mistakes.

Analysis

Legal Strategy and Execution

The defense’s approach—meticulously dissecting the prosecution’s evidence and highlighting the arresting officer’s inexperience—proved pivotal. The decision to call the backup officer to the stand was a strategic masterstroke, as her testimony directly contradicted her colleague’s claims, significantly bolstering the defense’s case.

Implications of the Verdict

This verdict not only spared the defendant from severe penalties but also underscored the importance of a well-crafted defense strategy in DUI cases. It highlights the variability of trial outcomes and the critical role of jury perception in determining a case’s resolution.

Conclusion

The acquittal in this DUI trial at the Pinellas Justice Center marks a significant victory for both the defendant and his legal team. It reflects the complexities of DUI cases, where evidence, witness credibility, and legal expertise converge to shape the trial’s outcome. For the defendant, this case represents a second chance and an opportunity for personal growth and responsibility. For the legal community, it reinforces the value of thorough preparation, strategic planning, and the indispensable role of defense attorneys in ensuring justice.

First-Time DUI in St. Petersburg, FL
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If you are facing a second DUI charge in St. Petersburg or anywhere in Pinellas County, don’t delay in seeking legal representation. Contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation.

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Options for License Restoration After a Second DUI Conviction

Losing your driving privileges as a result of a second-time DUI conviction in St. Petersburg, FL can be a significant setback. However, it’s important to know that there are options available for license restoration.

The process usually involves completing the court-ordered sanctions and then applying to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) for reinstatement. The specific requirements can vary depending on the details of your case, but typically include:

  1. Serving any mandatory suspension or revocation period
  2. Completing a state-approved DUI program
  3. Paying all fines and court costs
  4. Providing proof of bodily injury liability insurance

An additional requirement for those with a second DUI conviction is the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) in their vehicle. This breathalyzer-like device prevents the car from starting until the driver provides a breath sample proving they are not under the influence of alcohol.

We can give you more detail about how long your suspension is during your consultation. Do not listen to what the police or the deputy at the jail told you.

Why You Need a Second-Time DUI Criminal Defense Attorney

A Second-Time DUI Criminal Defense Attorney is not just someone with experience in handling such cases, but also someone who is committed to securing the best possible outcome for clients facing a second DUI charge.

The penalties for a second DUI conviction can be harsh, including substantial fines, license suspension, and jail time. Given the high stakes involved, it is crucial to have legal representation from an attorney who specializes in defending against these charges in Pinellas County.

Hire a Local DUI Attorney

One of the biggest mistakes that you can make is to hire a lawyer who is not in Pinellas County. As local lawyers who are in court every day at the courthouse on 49th St., we see Tampa lawyers come in to court and get their clients hammered al the time. Handling a case in Tampa is not like handling a case in Pinellas County. It is a lot harsher in Pinellas compared to Hillsborough. Your lawyer needs to be familiar with the judges and the prosecutors and understand what to expect or it is not going to go well for your case. There are a lot of good lawyers in Pinellas County- hire one.

Why Choose US as Your DUI Attorneys

When it comes to choosing a criminal defense attorney for your second DUI case, experience matters. We are top-rated attorneys with a proven track record in handling DUI cases in Pinellas County.

Here’s why you should consider us as your lawyers:

  1. Expertise: We have extensive knowledge of DUI laws and understand the intricacies of these cases.
  2. Defense Strategies: We have developed effective defense strategies that have helped many clients achieve favorable outcomes.
  3. Negotiation Skills: We are skilled in negotiating with prosecutors to potentially reduce charges or penalties.
  4. Courtroom Experience: If your case goes to trial, he has the experience and confidence to represent you effectively in court.
  5. We Know the Judges and Prosecutors: We know every judge and every prosecutor in Pinellas County. We know what to expect and can guide you accordingly.

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