Driving under the influence of alcohol is not a blanket charge in Sarasota for anyone registering a BAC of .08 (adults) or above; rather, there are varying degrees a Sarasota DUI charge can assume depending on the severity of the incident as well as the criminal record of the individual. In Florida, a driving under the influence charge can be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony. Felonies in general are much harsher charge and carry stiffer penalties and more lasting consequences than a misdemeanor does. As a constitutional protection for the defendant, felonies are also much harder to prove.
So what constitutes a felony DUI in Sarasota? In order for the state to charge a driver with a felony DUI, the prosecution must present compelling evidence that demonstrates why an enhanced charge is necessary and appropriate in the case. Here’s a look at some of the situations in which a prosecutor may argue for a felony DUI in Sarasota:
- High BAC Level: In Sarasota, a BAC reading of .08 or above will get you charged with a DUI. This number is actually the limit in every state in the U.S. Having a BAC reading substantially higher than the .08 may elevate a case to a felony. At the very least, a high BAC reading will typically result in harsher punishments.
- Injury: If a DUI involved death or serious bodily injury and the prosecution in the case can prove that the driver was the case of it (a high standard of proof) then a DUI will likely be charged as a felony DUI. For instance, a DUI with serious bodily injury in Florida is classified as a third degree felony and carries the possibility of five years in state prison.
- Multiple DUI’s: Sarasota does not look kindly on multiple DUI’s for obvious reasons. In addition to the possibility of having an elevated charge, those individuals that receive a second DUI within five years throughout the state face mandatory minimum jail time in addition to a five year license suspension. Additionally, those individuals that receive a DUI while driving on a restricted or suspended license will see additional punishments attached to their case as well.
- Children: A judge is not going to look kindly on a DUI that involved children in the car.
A Sarasota felony DUI can reach that enhanced status for various reasons but the underlying theme in all of these cases has to do with the simple fact that the DUI was more dangerous than most. The punishments attached to a felony DUI are designed to not only deter future behavior but to seriously punish the diver for his or her actions on the drive in question.
At Finebloom & Haenel P.A., we have worked many felony DUI cases and know how intimidating the process can be. We will work hard to get you the best results possible and explain your case to you every step of the way. Give us a call today for a free consultation on your case.