Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
When someone gets arrested, it is a terrible and stressful time. And while you are still processing what happened, and how it is going to affect your life, you might be worrying about getting an attorney. You may be wondering which attorney to hire, or whether there is really any difference between different attorneys.
There are definitely big differences. There are a number of smart, experienced DUI attorneys in our area who are more than capable of defending your case the right way. I count myself among that group. However, there are also a lot of bottom-of-the-barrel attorneys who will do nothing on your case except plead you guilty the first chance they get. It is attorneys like this that give all of us a bad name.
Choosing a DUI Lawyer in Fort Walton Beach and Destin
First of all, you not only need an attorney with experience in defending criminal cases, but also DUI cases. Secondly, you need a DUI defense attorney who has more than just "handled DUI cases." You need one who has had success in defending them. Beware of the DUI attorney who says, "I've handled hundreds of DUIs." Don't assume that just because they have handled a lot of DUIs that they have ever won a single case.
How much should I expect to pay for a quality DUI attorney?
You would expect to pay more for an attorney that has fought for their clients time and time again, year after year, with the results to back up their reputation, right? There is some truth in the adage, "You get what you pay for."
Sometimes we get calls from prospective clients telling us that another attorney will take the case for as little as $500 down. I’m sorry to be blunt, but what kind of service do you think you are going to get from the cheapest attorney?
Attorneys who advertise low money down are not interested in giving you the very best defense possible. Usually, they are struggling to keep the lights on and will take any amount of money they can get. Do you honestly think an attorney who is that desperate is going to care about what happens in your case?
I am in court every week in Okaloosa County, and for over 12 years, I have been watching the same handful of attorneys plead every single client they have guilty as charged. No pretrial motions, no reduced charges, no trials. Just the same guilty plea they could have gotten on their own.
At Flaherty Defense Firm, we keep our fees affordable while also offering the very best in criminal defense representation. For over 12 years, we have been defending clients charged with DUI in Fort Walton Beach and Destin. In that time, we have learned how to provide the very best possible defense to our clients, but we have also learned how to treat people that need to be able to trust that their attorney will always act in their best interest.
Information Center About DUI Cases
Rather than trying to jam all of the information about DUI cases into one page, we decided to divide it into sections to make it easier to navigate and find the information about the specific issue you need. So take a look at the list below. Once you find the page you think will be most helpful, click on it, and the link will take you to a section specifically about that issue.
- Misdemeanor DUI
- Felony DUI
- DMV Formal Review Hearing
- BAC/Breath Science
- Field Sobriety Tests
- DUI Refusal
- DUI with Serious Bodily Injury
A first or second arrest for DUI is a misdemeanor offense. A first DUI will generally result in sanctions such as a driver’s license suspension, class requirements and probation. A second offense requires a mandatory 10 days in the Okaloosa County Jail, a longer driver’s license suspension time and the requirement of the ignition interlock device.
If you have 2 or more prior DUI, DWI, OUI, or any other drunk driving related conviction, a 3rd offense can be charged as a felony. With a felony DUI, you are facing possible prison time, at least a 10 year suspension of your license, and a mandatory adjudication of guilt as a convicted felon. When the State is looking at your prior drunk driving convictions, it doesn’t matter where they occurred. However, if you didn’t have counsel when you received the prior convictions, it is possible that a resourceful defense attorney can use that to your benefit.
Once you have been issued a DUI citation, you only have 10 days to request a Formal Review Hearing from the DHSMV before your license is suspended.
Breath tests are performed using the Intoxilyzer 8000. As with any machine, the potential for error is real. The most common error with the Intoxilyzer 8000 is human error. If you were arrested for DUI and provided a high breath sample, don’t panic. Let my expertise work for you. My team will challenge the validity of the test and aggressively attack the State’s most “reliable” evidence.
Field Sobriety Tests are inherently subjective. Before you are asked to perform Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs), law enforcement already has a suspicion that you are under the influence. If you click on the link above to our Field Sobriety page, you will see a lot of information about the tests that are used in DUI cases in Okaloosa County, and how we plan to neutralize this evidence.
Although a refusal will guarantee you a longer suspension of your driver’s license, it may save you from a DUI conviction. If you refused a test of your blood alcohol content after being arrested for DUI, call us to learn about how to leverage that into a better result.
A DUI with serious bodily injury conviction carries a mandatory prison sentence. The potential prison sentence will be determined by the seriousness of the injury that was sustained. If you have been arrested for a DUI with serious bodily injury, contact my team immediately to discuss your options.
Finding the Right Fort Walton and Destin DUI Attorney
I hope the information on these DUI pages is helpful to you. Flaherty Defense Firm is ready to take your call and answer any questions that you have. We are ready to step in and defend you. All you have to do is pick up the phone and call us at 850-243-6097.
While no case has a guaranteed outcome, we have a track record of successfully defending misdemeanor and felony DUI cases in Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Niceville, and throughout Okaloosa County. If you are ready to put a professional team to work for you, contact Flaherty Defense Firm at 850-243-6097 for a free consultation.