Tampa Bay Florida DUI – Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

Robert Hambrick Photo 1During my nearly thirty years in practice as a Largo Criminal Defense Lawyer in Florida, I’ve come to identify some questions from my DUI or DWI clients that are common. Below are examples of these questions, but regardless of the answers provided, your best course of action is to immediately take action by contacting defense lawyer Robert Hambrick for a full free consultation immediately before your reputation is blemished, before you are found guilty, before your driving privileges are suspended and before a Judge sentences you to possible time in jail.

If you’ve been arrested for DUI you need to hire the best Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorney for your needs whose goal will be to find the best possible solutions so that you can get on with your life.

1. Can I go to jail if I’m convicted of a DUI – DWI in Florida?

Yes, you can be given time in county jail even on your first DUI conviction if there are sufficient aggravating factors in your case. For example, some aggravating factors would include injuries in an accident, a high blood alcohol leve at the time of drivingl, belligerancy at the time of arrest, reckless disregaurd of the lives of others or any other alleged act that makes the DUI untypical. So although it’s often true that many initial DUI or DWI convictions result in serious fines and a suspension of driving privileges, it is possible to spend some time in jail under certain circumstances even on a first offense.

2. How long will my driving privileges be suspended?

That depends on a many factors, which are delineated in the Florida Statutes. Factors include whether you’ve been convicted of a DUI or DWI previously, whether there was a refusal to submit to a bloodtest and the level of your BAC at the time of your arrest. Be sure that your Clearwater criminal defense lawyer makes every possible argument for your suspension to be as short a time as possible under the statute and that if your license must be suspended that your attorney shows you how to request a hardship license for school or work from the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles. Most suspensions last anywhere between six months, but under certain circumstances DMV can require a lifetime revocation, depending on the factors listed above.

3. Will my insurance costs rise as a result of a Florida DUI – DWI conviction.

Yes, though the Court has no jurisdiction over this the Insurance companies base their coverage rates on risks associated with each driver, and the presence of a DUI or DWI on your record usually is deemed by the insurance companies to pose a significant risk. Expect to have to pay more for a number of years until the risk becomes smaller. Some Florida studies have shown that insurance costs may rise by as much as $10,000 over the five years after a DUI or DWI conviction in urban areas such as Tampa, St. Petersburg, Largo and Clearwater.

4. If a police officer wants to give me a field sobriety test, should I refuse?

You have the right to refuse. If you have a physical disability that would place you at a disadvantage in taking the test tell the officer about the disabilty in detail. An officer can not force you to take an FST. You could also ask to speak to a Tampa Criminal Defense Lawyer The exercises are subjective based on the officer’s observations and opinions, Impartial studies have proven that even experienced police officers often don’t know how to grade them correctly or make mistakes in observation or make decisions based on factors other than the tests themselves. There often is no video record made of the exercises, tho lately more police cruisers have been outfitted with cameras and any FST given at the police station will be filmed. If it’s not filmed it’s only the officer’s word will be used as evidence against your word. Refusal to cooperate with a field sobriety test can be used as evidence against you in a trial. Refusal of a breath, blood or urine test can increase your ultimate penalties and result in a longer and more immediate suspension. A refusal for the second time can be charged as an additional crime by itself.

5. Should I ask for an attorney if I’m arrested?

The Constitution of the United States guarantees your right to legal representation, and you have the right to make such a request at any time prior to answering any questions from law enforcement that relate to your arrest. It never hurts and possibly may help a great deal to invoke your right to counsel. Feel free to call me at any hour at any time on any day and I will do my best to help you or someone you know.

6. Do I actually have to be driving to get arrested for a DUI in Florida?

No. All that’s required is that you’re in actual physical control of the vehicle at the time of your impairment. Even if you’re found sleeping in your car while it’s parked, you still could be charged with a DUI or DWI as long as you’re deemed to be in actual physical control of the car, meaning that if your keys were in your pocket or where you could find them you had control of the car and the means to drive even though you weren’t driving. Clearly, in any case such as this you will want to protect your rights by finding the best Clearwater Defense Attorney to examine every fact and exploit every weakness in your case as soon as possible.


CALL ROBERT HAMBRICK anytime for important and timely DUI information including changes in Florida DUI law, questions and answers about field sobriety tests, check point stops, legality of DUI stops in Tampa Bay and many other significant DUI issues, DUI statutes, case law, driving restrictions and suspensions of driver’s license.