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St. Petersburg DUI Attorney

DUI Laws in St. Petersburg, Florida & Your Defense

A DUI can happen when you least expect it. Florida defines DUI as driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08, but many people don’t know how much they can drink before they reach the legal limit. Simply consuming a few glasses of wine at dinner can lead to unexpected red and blue lights in your rearview mirror.

If police recently arrested and charged you with a DUI, remember: A DUI arrest is not a conviction, and there is still time to take the necessary steps to alter the case’s outcome and keep it off your record. The attorneys at Khonsari Law Group’s number one priority is to clear your name. Then we will work diligently with you to do everything we can to keep your DUI charge off your record.

Florida law defines a DUI as driving under the influence of alcoholic beverages, chemical substances, or controlled substances. The law also sets impairment of normal faculties or unlawful blood alcohol concentration at 0.08 or above. Breathalyzer tests determine most initial DUI charges.

Florida law requires you to take a breath test if requested by officers. You could lose your license for 18 months if you refuse this test. Breath test results form the cornerstone of many DUI prosecutions, but these results are far from perfect.

accredited businessWith help from a St. Petersburg DUI lawyer, you can and must challenge the prosecution’s case.

Someone charged with a DUI needs a defense lawyer with experience in this field because DUI laws are intricate. Mr. Khonsari, recognized in the past as a top DUI prosecutor, not only has the knowledge and experience to defend DUI cases but also knows what the prosecutors need to prove to win their case against you.

Call Mr. Khonsari and the Khonsari Law Group team today to schedule a free consultation on your case.

Table of Contents

Keep Your License Following a DUI Arrest in St. Petersburg

breathalyzer being administeredIf law enforcement officers arrested you for DUI and you refused any breath or blood testing or your test result was over 0.08, your license is in danger of suspension. Unless you take action within ten days after your DUI arrest, the state could suspend your driving privileges.

The length of the suspension period will vary depending on any prior DUI offenses on your record and whether you failed or refused a test. At worst, Florida can suspend your license for up to 18 months, and you won’t be able to obtain a hardship license.

At the very least, you will lose your license for six months and must wait 30 days before applying for a hardship license.

A request for a formal review hearing notifies the government that you are challenging the suspension of your license. You must make this request within ten days of your arrest. After your request, you will attend a hearing within 30 days.

Additionally, you may receive a temporary driving permit that allows you to continue driving for up to 42 additional days.

There are many advantages to requesting a formal review hearing. These advantages include keeping your driving privileges and obtaining valuable information about the evidence with which the government might criminally prosecute you.

Going into a formal review hearing without the assistance of a Florida DUI attorney is a mistake, so seek legal help quickly.

St. Petersburg DUI Laws

If convicted of a DUI, the punishments and penalties vary drastically depending on the number of past DUI convictions.

Offense Jail Time Fines & Penalties License Suspension
First Offense Six to nine months $500 to $2,000 180 days to one year
Second Offense Nine months to one year $1,000 to $4,000 Up to Five years
Third Offense Up to one year $2,000 to $5,000 Up to 10 years

A judge also must require the following by Florida DUI statutes if convicted:

  • DUI school and any recommended follow-up alcohol treatment or counseling
  • A minimum of 50 hours of court-mandated community service
  • Victim impact panel class
  • Possible installation of an ignition interlock device

In addition to the fines and penalties of a DUI conviction, you can also expect a minimum of a 10-day vehicle immobilization or impoundment (unless your family has no other means of transportation), increased insurance costs, and a criminal record, which can limit job opportunities.

Common Defenses Against St. Petersburg DUIs

Prosecutors and law enforcement officers want you to believe their investigation and case against you are airtight. But the truth is that you may have several grounds available to fight a DUI charge.

In some cases, the court may order that the prosecution is not entitled to use illegally seized evidence like a warrantless blood draw. In other cases, your defense may result in your acquittal at trial or the dismissal of your charges pretrial.

Inaccurate Breath Test Result

If you submitted to a breath test, you likely did so on a machine prone to errors. If the officer did not follow the appropriate testing protocol precisely, the accuracy of the breath test result is questionable.

Similarly, if the breathalyzer machine was not regularly maintained and calibrated, it may not have given accurate results when you submitted your breath sample. St. Petersburg DUI lawyers can subpoena the records necessary to evaluate the breath machine’s accuracy.

Lack of Probable Cause to Stop or Arrest for DUI

Police need enough evidence to show there is some reason to believe you committed a criminal or traffic offense before they can stop your vehicle on the road. Similarly, an officer may not arrest you for DUI unless they have probable cause to believe you committed that offense.

The officers may have lacked the requisite evidence to support their stop and arrest of you. This may invalidate your stop, arrest, and any evidence officers obtained afterward including samples of your breath or blood.

Failing to Show Impairment of Faculties

If the government does not have a breath or blood test result, they may still attempt to prosecute you for DUI. To do so, they would base their case around evidence that drugs or alcohol impaired your normal faculties.

Without roadside testing or evidence of your inability to stand upright, the prosecution may have difficulty proving you were sufficiently impaired. A St. Petersburg DUI lawyer will look at all the evidence collected by officers, including body and car cameras, to determine whether this is a viable defense in your case.

What Is DUI Manslaughter?

If you caused a wreck while driving under the influence and another person died in that crash, you might face a DUI manslaughter charge. Depending on the individual circumstances of your case, your DUI manslaughter charge could carry varying consequences, including mandatory imprisonment for up to 15 years, fines of up to $10,000, permanent revocation of your driving privileges, and more.

Just as a Florida DUI charge deserves a vigorous defense, a DUI manslaughter charge will require an aggressive defense to avoid these harsh penalties. Learn more about DUI manslaughter and how the KLG team can help defend your rights against this serious accusation.

Your Rights in a St. Petersburg DUI Investigation

The U.S. and Florida Constitutions affirm that people charged with crimes have legal rights during investigations and trials. These rights protect people from aggressive law enforcement tactics and overzealous prosecutors.

As critical as these rights are, you can inadvertently waive them or fail to use them to their full potential. Doing so can mean the difference between success in your case or a conviction.

The Right to Remain Silent

You do not have to answer any questions that an officer may ask. If the officer asks for your name and address, you may provide them with your driver’s license. You do not have to tell the officer how much you had to drink or when you last consumed alcohol.

Never interfere with the officer’s investigation by providing false information. However, you do not need to give the officer any incriminating information or make their investigation easier.

The Right to a St. Petersburg DUI Attorney

The law gives you the right to have an attorney present at all critical stages of your case. You thus have the right to have a DUI attorney present with you when police question you.

Once you invoke your right to have an attorney present, officers must stop asking questions until your St. Petersburg DUI lawyer arrives. This attorney can be one of your choosing; however, if you cannot afford a DUI attorney, you have the right to have the court appoint one.

The Right to Challenge Witnesses Against You

A successful DUI defense depends on the right to cross-examine the government’s witnesses and contest its evidence. The ability to conduct an effective cross-examination is a skill that only a seasoned St. Petersburg DUI lawyer possesses. With this skill at your defense’s disposal, you can expose inconsistencies in the prosecution’s case and weaknesses in their evidence.

What to Look for in a St. Petersburg DUI Lawyer?

When you’re looking for a DUI attorney to represent you, the attorney’s experience handling DUI cases matters. Florida’s laws and regulations surrounding DUIs are complex and periodically updated.

If you or your attorney are not familiar with the current state of the law, your legal rights and case may suffer as a result. For this reason, you should look for a law firm that regularly handles DUI cases and is not afraid to take your case to trial if needed.

Contact an Experienced St Petersburg DUI Defense Lawyer Today

If the police arrest you for a DUI, hire an experienced DUI criminal attorney. Your freedom is at stake. A DUI conviction can add a criminal conviction to your record and directly affect your day-to-day life.

Attorney Rohom Khonsari is an experienced former prosecutor who understands how the Florida court system works and how to handle DMV administrative proceedings. You don’t have to live in fear of a DUI conviction.

Contact our office in St. Petersburg today at (727) 269-5300 for a free legal consultation with our experienced St Petersburg DUI lawyers.

Featured Testimonial

Client Reviews & Testimonials

Khonsari Law Group
150 2nd Ave N
Suite 970,
St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Mr. Khonsari’s representation of my teenager for a DUI exceeded all our expectations. He is not only extremely knowledgeable about the legal system, but as a former prosecutor he has the ability to view a case from the perspective of both the defense and the prosecution.

Mr. Khonsari worked tirelessly preparing the best possible defense in order to achieve the best possible outcome, which he did. He clearly explained each step of the process, and discussed our options openly and honestly with us. He was never too busy to take a phone call, or to discuss any concerns that we had. He managed to make a situation that was frightening and stressful less so because of his compassion and empathy. I would highly recommend Mr. Khonsari to anyone in need of legal assistance.

Written by: Kathy T.
DUI Pinellas County
5 / 5 stars★★★★★