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Experienced Tampa DUI Lawyer for First-Offense DUI Charges

At Buda Law, we understand the stress and fear that those facing first-time DUI charges often experience. The best thing that anyone who finds themselves in such a position can do for themselves is equip the help of an experienced lawyer who has a successful track record fighting DUI charges in Tampa. 

Without the right representation, you could face serious consequences, even if it’s your first and only offense. Attorney Andrew Buda, a former prosecutor and now an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Tampa, has handled thousands of cases and knows the criminal justice system inside and out. This unique perspective allows Attorney Buda and his legal team to effectively challenge the prosecution’s case while strengthening yours. 

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No matter the allegations you face, your case is in good hands when you work with the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Buda Law. For a free consultation from our Tampa DUI lawyers, call  (813) 322-2832 or send a message online today.

What Happens When You Get a DUI For the First Time?

If you are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving for the first time, the law enforcement officer will ask you questions and observe your behavior. If there are signs of alcohol or drug use, the officer may ask you to blow into a roadside breathalyzer or step out of the vehicle to perform field sobriety tests. If you fail your field sobriety or breathalyzer tests, meaning you appear to be impaired or your blood alcohol level is over the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08%, or if you refuse to submit a breath test altogether, you will likely be arrested and taken into custody. 

Upon your first DUI arrest, you may face immediate DUI penalties such as the administrative suspension of your driver’s license for a minimum of 6 months. You will later be required to appear in court, where the judge will determine your case’s outcome. Possible consequences include expensive fines, community service, probation, and even jail time.

Not only that, but you may need to attend DUI education courses, complete a substance abuse evaluation, and, if recommended, undergo treatment. Your car may also be impounded, and you might be required to install an ignition interlock device at your expense. 

These far-reaching consequences highlight the seriousness of a DUI charge in Florida, even when it is your very first offense. For help navigating the legal process and mitigating the potential penalties you face, seeking the help of a first-time DUI lawyer is absolutely essential. 

Tampa First DUI Attorney

Understanding Florida’s Implied Consent Laws

When you drive a car or are in “actual physical control: of a vehicle in Florida, state law mandates that you provide consent to a chemical test to determine your blood alcohol content if lawfully arrested for a DUI. This includes a breath, blood, or urine test. 

Law enforcement officers are required to inform you about the implied consent law, including the fact that your driver’s license will be suspended if you refuse a lawful breath test.

Refusing a breath test for the first time results in a one-year administrative license suspension and can even lead to harsher criminal penalties. However, refusing the test also means that you give prosecutors very little concrete evidence to prove that you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, which can sometimes make fighting your charges in court easier.

What is the Penalty for a First DUI Conviction in Florida?

A first-offense DUI with a BAC above the legal limit (0.08%) but below 0.15%  is classified as a second-degree misdemeanor in Florida, carrying penalties that include fines, jail time, license suspension, and more. If you plead guilty, you may face a fine ranging from $500 to $1,000 (or up to $2,000 if your blood alcohol level was 0.15% or higher or if there was a minor in the vehicle) and a jail sentence of up to six months.

Additionally, your driver’s license will be suspended for a minimum of 180 days (and up to a year) and you will be required to complete at least 50 hours of community service. If you are unable to complete the community service, you may pay an additional fine of $10 per hour of the required service (up to $500).

According to the Florida DUI penalty chart, a conviction for a first offense can also include up to one year of probation, completion of DUI School, substance abuse evaluations, and a 10-day vehicle impoundment. Depending on the facts of your case, you may also be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle.

If your BAC exceeds 0.15%, you own a commercial driver’s license, or you have any other aggravating factors present, you will likely face even harsher penalties for your first offense, making hiring an attorney for your first DUI even more crucial. This is especially true if your impaired driving leads to a devastating accident, such as DUI manslaughter. Attorney Buda handles all types of DUI cases, including underage DUIs, drug-related DUIs, BUIs, and even commercial DUI charges in Tampa

If you’re facing these strict penalties for driving under the influence in Florda, call Buda Law ASAP to help put up a strong fight against your charges.

Tampa DUI Defense Attorney for First DUI

How Much Does a First-Time DUI Cost in Florida?

In Florida, a first-time DUI (without aggravating factors) typically costs anywhere from $500 to $1000 in fines. If you are unable to complete the community service that is required you may pay an additional fine of $10 per hour for the community service ordered.

Of course, this only considered the fines imposed by the court for your conviction. Other factors to consider include attorney fees, possible medical bills and/or car repair expenses for yourself or other victims in the event of an accident, lost wages, increased insurance premiums, transportation costs due to the loss of driving privileges, and more.

As a result, you can end up paying thousands of dollars in DUI costs for even a first-time offense if convicted.

How Many Hours of Community Service for DUI First Offense?

A first DUI offense in Florida typically requires at least 50 hours of mandatory community service. If the community service requirement cannot be met, an additional fine of $10 per ordered hour may be paid instead.

How Likely is Jail Time for First DUI in Florida?

For a first-time DUI offense in Florida, time in jail can range from a few days to several months (6 months at most) depending on the facts surrounding your case.

Florida has very strict DUI laws set in place, and if you are arrested for drunk driving, it is very likely that you will serve at least some jail time. However, with the help of a skilled Tampa DUI attorney like those at Buda Law, you can shorten this length of time or have it dismissed completely.

How To Get Out of a DUI First Offense

When it comes to getting out of a first-offense DUI charge, your best bet is to seek the help of experienced criminal defense attorneys specializing in DUI cases in your area. A qualified attorney can assess the specifics of your situation, including the circumstances of your arrest and any mitigating factors, to build a strong defense strategy. They may challenge the validity of field sobriety tests or breathalyzer results, scrutinize police procedures for any errors or misconduct, and/or negotiate with prosecutors to potentially reduce charges or seek alternative sentencing options.

With their knowledge of Florida DUI laws and experience in court proceedings, a reputable Tampa DUI lawyer can play a pivotal role in achieving the best possible outcome and minimizing the impact of a DUI charge on your life and future.

Tampa DUI Lawyer for First-Offense DUI

Reducing Impaired Driving Recidivism Program (RIDR)

In 2018,  the State Attorney’s Office in Hillsborough County introduced the Reduced Impaired Driving Recidivism (RIDR) initiative, designed to improve highway safety by reducing impaired driving scenarios. This DUI diversion program also offers first-time DUI offenders (with no aggravating factors attributed to their charge) a chance to reduce their charges and the resulting penalties through rehabilitation efforts. 

Understanding the specifics of the Hillsborough County RIDR program is crucial for anyone facing DUI charges. While RIDR offers a beneficial opportunity for those without a prior DUI conviction, eligibility hinges on meeting specific criteria related to the circumstances of your arrest. Factors that may disqualify a person from RIDR include:

  • Driving with a minor in the vehicle;
  • Causing injury or property damage during the offense;
  • Pending or previous convictions for DUIs, reckless driving, or vehicular homicide;
  • Leaving the scene of an accident;
  • Currently participating in a Pre-Trial Intervention program;
  • Being on probation;
  • Adjudication or adjudication withheld for any felony within the previous 5 years;
  • And more. 

Each case is evaluated individually and eligibility can vary based on additional factors determined on a case-by-case basis. If you are facing a first-time DUI charge and are unsure about your eligibility for RIDR or want to learn more about what it can mean for you, call an experienced Tampa DUI attorney at Buda Law who can assess your case and advise you accordingly.

First DUI in Florida

Do I Need a Lawyer for a First-Time DUI?

Facing first-time DUI charges in Florida can be scary, overwhelming, and challenging to handle on your own, especially if you are looking to fight or reduce your charges. That is why it’s so important that those in these scenarios have a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney by their side. 

A private attorney specializing in DUI law can help you throughout the entire legal process, providing advice, guidance, and aggressive representation. Your lawyer will thoroughly examine the details of your case, identify any procedural errors or rights violations, and overall work to develop a strong defense strategy. Their legal knowledge and experience can be critical in negotiating with prosecutors, potentially reducing charges, advocating for RIDR, or even avoiding a DUI conviction altogether. So, while it’s not legally required, hiring a DUI defense lawyer can help ensure your rights are protected and increase the likelihood of a more favorable outcome.

It’s important to note that you should act quickly after your arrest, as you only have a 10-day window from your DUI arrest to request an administrative hearing. Failure to do so within this timeframe will result in the automatic suspension of your license, prohibiting you from driving. In this scenario, your best course of action is to discuss options for a hardship license with an experienced attorney in the coming months.

Why Choose Andrew Buda As Your Tampa DUI Defense Attorney?

Buda Law is a respected criminal defense and personal injury law firm serving the Tampa Bay Area. Andrew Buda, a former prosecutor who can act as your private DUI defense attorney, has years of trial, courtroom, and negotiation experience to get you the best results possible. He and his legal team will take the time to meet with you in a free, one-on-one consultation to help you understand your options and what the best course of action possible is. 

DUI First Offense

Call an Experienced Hillsborough County DUI Lawyer at Buda Law for a Free Consultation Today

Facing a first-time DUI charge can be daunting given Florida’s tough laws and the potential for severe penalties. That’s why it’s crucial to have legal representation from a team of experienced Tampa DUI defense attorneys to help fight for the dismissal of your charges. Despite the looming consequences, there’s still a chance for the accused and their DUI defense lawyer to appeal the charge and seek dismissal.

Here at Buda Law, our team has extensive experience in defending a wide range of crimes, including felonies, misdemeanors, domestic violence, first-time DUI offenses, and more. For a free consultation regarding your DUI case in Tampa, FL or the surrounding Pinellas or Hillsborough County areas, call our law office at (813) 322-2832 or reach out online to get in touch today.


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