D.U.I., or Driving Under the Influence is one of the most prevalent criminal charges in the state of Florida. A DUI charge in Miami-Dade, Broward, Monroe, or Palm Beach County carries with it a tremendous amount of cost, both emotionally and monetarily. DUI can be charged as either a misdemeanor (most common) or a felony depending upon the particular facts and circumstances of the arrest.
There are two types of hearings when you are charged with DUI.
I. ADMINISTRATIVE LICENSE HEARING/ DMV
It is important to contact Michael Zemon right away so he can explain the different deadlines involved in a DUI charge. In most cases, your DUI citation (ticket) is your license for the first TEN days from the date that you were charged. However, you cannot drive unless it is confirmed you are eligible. For example, it does not apply if you did not have a previously valid driver’s license.
DRIVER’S LICENCE SUSPENSION
When you are charged with a DUI in Florida, your driver’s license will be suspended in MOST cases. This is an AUTOMATIC suspension that is imposed by the State of Florida (DHSMV) and has nothing to do with the court system. When you are charged with DUI in Dade, Broward, Palm Beach (or any other county in Florida) and your breath alcohol level is greater than the legal limit of 0.08 g/210 L, your license will be suspended for a period of SIX months from the date of arrest. This suspension time is completely SEPARATE from any license suspension that the COURT may impose. If you refuse a breath, blood or urine test, your driver’s license will be suspended for ONE YEAR (first refusal) or EIGHTEEN MONTHS (if previously suspended for a refusal). You can also be charged with a separate misdemeanor crime if you refuse breath, blood, or urine and have previously refused any of those tests.
IMPORTANT: IN ORDER TO CHALLENGE THE (DHSMV) SUSPENSION, YOU OR YOUR ATTORNEY MUST FILE FOR A HEARING AT THE DMV WITHIN TEN DAYS FROM THE DATE THAT YOU WERE CHARGED WITH DUI.
This hearing is called a Formal Review Hearing. It is your only opportunity to challenge the initial suspension of your driver’s license. If you do not request this hearing within ten days from the date that the citation was issued, you will lose the opportunity to have a hearing to challenge the suspension. However, you should call Michael Zemon right away even if you are passed the ten days. There may be an opportunity to obtain an exception depending on the circumstances.
As a criminal defense lawyer who has handled DUI cases in Dade, Broward, Monroe, and Palm Beach Counties for more than nineteen years, I have attended hundreds of these hearings. Challenging the initial license suspension is important because it provides an opportunity to have the suspension overturned and your full license restored while your case is pending in court. Additionally, when I file for the Formal Review Hearing to challenge the license suspension, I will obtain a driving permit, if you are eligible, which will allow you to drive for approximately six weeks after your ten day DUI citation ends.
Having your driver’s license suspension overturned by invalidating the suspension at the Formal Review Hearing will enable you to have your full driving privileges restored, while your case is pending in court. Remember, this has NO bearing on your court case. If your driver’s license suspension is NOT overturned, you will have either a 30 day period (for a breath or blood greater than 0.08 g/210L) or a 90 day period (if you refused a breath, blood, or urine test) of HARD TIME. This is a term that refers to a period of time where NO DRIVING WHATSOEVER is permitted. After this period of “hard time” you may be eligible to obtain a hardship driver’s license while your DUI case is pending in court. As of July 2013, the law has changed to allow the possibility to avoid this HARD TIME. A criminal defense attorney can assist you in obtaining this hardship license by explaining the options and the procedures involved. Call Michael Zemon today to find out about this. It is a decision that needs to be carefully determined.
It is very important to retain a criminal defense attorney who has had extensive experience with DUI cases in order to provide to provide yourself with the best opportunity to restore your driving privileges. Michael Zemon has taught at the Master of DUI seminar and has more than nineteen years experience in handling DUI cases in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties.
The second hearing in a DUI case involves the court system. This is the criminal hearing. After the process regarding your driver’s license has commenced, your case will be assigned to a judge either at the County (misdemeanor) or Circuit (felony) level.
The first court hearing that your case will be scheduled for is called an arraignment. Many times a defendant, through his or her attorney, will enter a plea of NOT GUILTY at this hearing. In a DUI case, I will file a written plea of not guilty, demand a trial by jury, demand discovery (this is all the information that the State will use to prosecute your case, including police reports, video tape evidence, and other evidence). The case will then be set for a status hearing of some type (these hearings are given various names depending on the county in which the arrest was made). I will attend these hearings. Depending on the county and judge presiding, your presence may or may not be required at these hearings.
A DUI case will take anywhere from a few months to a year or more to resolve, depending on several factors. Results for a DUI case range from complete dismissal of the charges, to reduction of the charge (typically, a DUI charge, if reduced, is reduced to reckless driving), or a resolution involving a conviction for DUI. An experienced criminal defense attorney is your most valuable resource in obtaining the best result possible for your DUI case. I have achieved many favorable results in DUI cases through various strategies.
There are many tools available to an experienced criminal defense attorney to assist you in obtaining a favorable result in your DUI case. Whether it involves filing motions to suppress or dismiss to remove or limit some or all of the State’s evidence, negotiating with the prosecutor to have the charges dropped or downgraded, or conducting a jury trial, I will carefully evaluate your DUI case to decide which option will allow us to achieve the best result with the least possible risk. I take pride in providing individual attention and careful consideration to each client’s DUI case.
Michael Zemon has taught at the Masters of DUI seminar and has more than nineteen years experience in handling DUI cases in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties.
Please call him at 305-324-2211 in Miami-Dade and 954-704-2211 in Broward for a free consultation. We can explore all of the possibilities with regard to your DUI charge.
If you have been arrested for DUI and it is either your third or subsequent DUI, or there are serious injuries or death of another involved, it is likely that your DUI will be charged as a felony. This becomes a much more serious charge than a misdemeanor DUI, and the potential punishments are much greater. If you are charged with felony DUI in Dade, Broward, Monroe, or Palm Beach Counties, call an experienced criminal defense attorney to assist you with your case. Michael Zemon has been handling cases in Dade, Broward, Monroe, and Palm Beach Counties for more than 19 years.
A felony DUI can be extremely severe with regard to the range of punishments that the State Attorney’s Office will be looking to give. These can range from jail time up to a significant amount of prison. Do not leave a serious felony like this to an inexperienced attorney. Call Michael Zemon for a free consultation to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your felony DUI case.
If you were arrested or issued a citation for a criminal offense, do not wait; call my office immediately to schedule a free consultation. You may waive certain rights if you wait to contact an attorney. I will meet with you at a mutually convenient time to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your case and explore defenses to your charges.
If you are charged with a felony crime in Dade, Broward or Palm Beach County, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Felonies carry greater potential punishment than misdemeanor crimes and are potentially detrimental to a future career. Felony charges include: Aggravated Assault / Battery, Child Abuse/Neglect, Habitual Driving on a Suspended License, Drug Possession /Sales/Transport/Trafficking, Grand Theft, Fraud, Hit and Run with injury or death, ID Theft, Burglary, Robbery, Manslaughter, Murder, Sexual Assault, and many others. Please call or email to inquire about representation.
Generally, a misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in county jail. Trials for misdemeanors are held in the state’s lower court, occasionally referred to as County Court. (Names for these courts vary from state-to-state).
Felonies begin in the state’s lower court system but may move up to the state Circuit Court, or higher court. There are many types of felony crimes. Punishment typically allows for one or more years in a state prison.
Examples of misdemeanor crimes include:
-possession of drug paraphernalia
-obstruction of justice
-resisting arrest without violence
-loitering and prowling
-contracting without a license
-False police report or insurance
-Traffic Misdemeanors ex- DUI, Reckless Driving, Drag Racing, Suspended License ect ….
-many other charges