Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol affects your ability to drive. The more alcohol or drugs in your system, the harder it is for a driver to abide by Florida traffic laws and the higher the risk for personal injury and property damage. The state of Florida is one of the strictest in the nation when it comes to patrolling and prosecuting DUI’s and DWI’s.
If convicted of a DUI in Florida, a driver could face jail time, heavy fines, probation, drivers’ license suspension, DUI school and attending a victim impact panel. But what happens if there is property damage in addition to the DUI? The good news is that if this is your first DUI and there are no serious injuries, then a DUI with property damage will be a misdemeanor rather than a felony. The bad news is that there will likely be additional punishments attached. In many situations, the judge in these cases will ask the driver to pay restitution for the damage cause by his or her drunk driving. This restitution is intended to fix or replace the damaged property and can be quite costly depending on the extent of the damage. Other punishments can include: community service, DUI school and jail time of up to one year. That’s right, even if you have no other criminal record; there is still the possibility that you will spend an entire year in jail as a result of your Florida DUI with property damage.
Beyond a reasonable doubt. That is the standard the prosecution in these cases must meet. All three of the following elements must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict a driver of a DUI with property damage:
- The driver actually drove the vehicle or was in actually physical control of the vehicle
- As a result of driving the vehicle, the driver contributed to or caused damage to the property of another
- Which driving or in actual control of the vehicle, the driver was either under the influence of drugs or alcohol to the extent that it impaired his or her normal faculties or had a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher.
As you can see, proving all three elements is not a slam dunk for the prosecution and two out of three is never good enough in these cases. When property damage is involved, eye witness testimony is an extremely valuable piece of evidence for both the prosecution and the defense.
If you have recently been in a DUI accident that included property damage, you should get in touch with the attorneys at Finebloom & Haenel P.A. to help you fight these criminal charges. There are viable defenses in these types of cases and working with an attorney on your defense can help get you the best result possible. Call us day or night for a free consultation on your case. We look forward to helping you!