Flaherty Defense Firm, Fort Walton Beach Criminal Lawyer
Offices in Fort Walton Beach, Destin, and Crestview
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Destin DUI Lawyer

Tourists go to Destin for a fun vacation. Even locals enjoy the beautiful beaches, Crab Island, great restaurants and bars, and shopping at the Outlet Mall and Destin Commons.

Nothing ruins a good time faster than seeing the blue lights of a police car behind you as you drive home or back to your condo after a night out and a few drinks. If the unthinkable has happened and you were arrested for DUI, it is important to take steps right away to minimize the damage so that you can get on with your life. The first step is to call an experienced Destin DUI attorney.

Defending Out of Town Visitors Arrested For DUI in Destin

Being arrested in your home town is scary enough. I can’t imagine how stressful it must be to be arrested in a strange city where you don’t know anyone. You are probably worried about what this DUI charge is going to do to your driver’s license in your home state. You might be wondering whether you will have to remain in Destin until your court date, or if you will have to return at a later time.

Let me help ease some of your stress right away. If you have been charged with a misdemeanor DUI, you will not have to return for your court date if you have a local DUI attorney. One of the very first things we will do for you is have you sign a legal document that excuses you from your court dates and authorizes us to appear in court on your behalf.

The effect of a DUI in Destin on your home state driver’s license

If you are worried about whether your DUI will affect your ability to drive back home, rest assured that there are steps we can take right away that will help. As long as you request a hearing with the DMV within 10 days of your arrest, your driving privilege in Florida will be protected for at least another month. This will likely mean that your home state will hold off on suspending your license at least until a final decision is made in your case in Destin.

When you call us about your case, we will immediately file this request for the DMV hearing even if you haven’t hired us yet. That way, you won’t have to worry about the 10 day deadline passing.

Giving you the help you need with your Destin DUI

A lot of times when someone comes to see me after a DUI arrest, they are extremely embarrassed and ashamed. I always try to reassure them that being arrested for DUI doesn’t mean you are a bad person or a “drunk”. Maybe you were on vacation and having a good time and things got a little out of hand. Maybe you only had a couple drinks but the officer smelled alcohol on your breath and arrested you. Either way, we will NOT judge you. Whether we meet in person or talk over the phone, our job is to help you, not make you feel worse.

What will a Destin DUI defense attorney do for me?

Any good attorney should know that DUI cases are complex and require a lot of expertise. With over 16 years experience defending Destin DUI cases, we have developed methods and strategies that get results for our clients.

It starts with a very thorough review of all of the evidence in your case. That can include police reports, witness statements, dashboard videos, body cameras worn by the police, police station videos, and breath machine calibration and maintenance records. We will review the traffic stop that led to your arrest, the field sobriety tests that the officer based his/her decision to arrest on, and if there was a breath test, whether the Intoxilyzer was operating within compliance. Having our level of experience means that we know what to look for, and what to do if we find something that will be helpful to your DUI case.

What are the penalties for a DUI in Destin?

(1) First Offense DUI

A first offense DUI is a misdemeanor. The penalties can vary based on whether there was a breath alcohol reading over 0.15 or not.

For a first offense with a breath alcohol less than 0.15, if you are convicted of DUI, you face up to 6 months in jail, however this is very unlikely. You face 12 months probation, between $500 and $1000 in fines and court costs, a 6 to 12 month suspension of your driver’s license, community service, the completion of DUI school and a victim impact class, and an impound of your vehicle.

For a first offense with a breath alcohol of 0.15 or higher, you face up to 9 months in jail, the fine is doubled, and you may be required to install an Ignition Interlock on your vehicle for 6 months.

Even if we are unsuccessful in winning your DUI case, or getting it dismissed, we should at least be able to get the over 0.15 enhancements taken off and have the case treated as a first offense. That way, you save $500.00 on the court costs and you won’t have to install the ignition interlock device.

(2) Second Offense DUI

If you have ever been convicted of DUI or any drunk driving related offense, in any state, Florida will count it against you and treat your current offense as a multi-offender. The penalties go up quite a bit for a second offense. If your Destin DUI charge occurred within 5 years of your first offense, you face a mandatory minimum 10 day jail sentence, with a maximum of 9 months in jail. Your driver’s license can be suspended for up to 5 years for a second offense. You could also be required to pay up to $2000 in fines and court costs, and be required to install an Ignition Interlock on your vehicle for 12 months.

(3) Third Offense DUI

A third offense DUI can be charged as a felony if it occurred within 10 years of your most recent DUI conviction. If you are convicted, you face up to 5 years in prison, with a 30 day minimum mandatory jail sentence. Your driver’s license can be suspended for up to 10 years, your fines and court costs will be up to $5000, and you will be required to install an Ignition Interlock for 2 years.

Any DUI conviction beyond your third will automatically be charged as a felony, with up to 5 years in prison and a lifetime revocation of your driver’s license.

Easing your stress after a DUI arrest in Destin

We approach DUI cases with a simple goal: winning your case. This could be accomplished a couple of different ways including filing a motion to dismiss in court, winning at trial, or negotiating a reduced charge. I promise you that we will never just settle for the first plea offer. We will work tirelessly to achieve the best result possible.

In short, we will treat you like a human being. We will take your Destin DUI case seriously because we know how important the outcome is to you. We will treat your case the way we would want to be treated if it was us that was in trouble.

Whether you were in Destin on vacation, or whether you are a local who was arrested in Destin for DUI, we are ready to help you. Call Flaherty Defense Firm 24/7 at (850) 243-6097 and let us help you start feeling better.

Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Inc.
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Avvo Clients Choice 2014
The National Trial Lawyers
national college dui defense