For most people, there are a few moments more terrifying than getting arrested. In an instant, you can see your life falling apart. You don’t just fear going to jail — you also fear losing your job, your home, your car, and your relationships. These are understandable fears. Many people never fully recover after getting arrested, especially if they are convicted of a felony. But there is hope if you are arrested for a DUI. The Florida DUI attorneys at Panella Law Firm may be able to get felony charges reduced to misdemeanor charges. If you have been arrested for a DUI, contact our Florida DUI defense attorneys right away to get help fighting your charges.
If you are arrested for a DUI in Florida, you will probably be charged with a misdemeanor. According to Florida Law, the first two times you are convicted of a DUI, you receive a misdemeanor conviction unless someone was hurt or killed due to your actions. As long as no one gets hurt or killed, your third DUI conviction might be a misdemeanor, too, but only if it occurred more than 10 years after your second conviction. If it was within those 10 years, you will be charged with a felony. Finally, any DUIs after the third are always charged as a felony.
Just because your first DUI is likely to be charged as a misdemeanor, that doesn’t mean you can afford to go to court without an experienced Florida DUI defense attorney. Judges have a lot of discretion in sentencing, and the consequences for a DUI — even a misdemeanor — can be quite severe if you don’t have legal representation. DUI cases can result in months of jail time, even for the first offense. Assuming there are no aggravating factors, if convicted you could be penalized with:
And if there are aggravating factors (BAC over 0.15 or a minor in the vehicle, for example), you can face even harsher penalties.
The Florida DUI attorneys at Panella Law Firm will help you avoid the worst of these penalties. If we can, we will get your charges dropped or convince a jury that you are innocent of the charges. But if that isn’t possible, we can arrange a plea deal to get you the lightest possible sentence. If you are only facing misdemeanor charges, we can usually ensure that you don’t spend a day in jail and may be able to mitigate other penalties as well. Without proper representation, there is a good chance a judge will throw the book at you.
If you are facing a felony, we may be able to get the charges reduced to a misdemeanor. That makes a big difference when you want to move on after a DUI and live a normal life. A felony conviction in Florida strips you of your right to vote and can make it hard to get jobs. But if we can get your charges dropped to a misdemeanor, you won’t face the same hardships.
Regardless of whether you are convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor, you are almost certain to lose your driving privileges after being convicted of a DUI. However, there are exceptions to this rule, and the attorneys at our law firm can help if you qualify for one of these exceptions.
The main exception is known as a hardship exception. If the DUI you were convicted of was your first offense, you may be eligible for this exception. A hardship exception is granted when you need to drive to maintain a living, receive education, or get medical treatment. If you qualify, Florida will grant you a hardship license that limits your driving privileges to specific reasons. This means that you can legally drive when needed but not for pleasure activities like going to the movies.
Even if you don’t qualify for a hardship license, our attorneys can help you recover your driving privileges after the penalty period. Florida places many roadblocks to restoring your license and driving without restriction after a DUI. Our DUI lawyers will help you navigate those roadblocks and get your rights restored as quickly as possible.
Attorney Michael Panella is a zealous advocate for anyone charged with a crime. Based on his experience, both personally and professionally, he believes that the legal system in Florida is often unjust. The rights of the accused are rarely protected as well as they should be, and the system rarely adheres to the concept that all people are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Attorney Michael Panella formed Panella Law Firm with the intent of challenging an unjust system and protecting the rights of everyone.
When you choose Panella Law Firm, you are represented by DUI attorneys who believe in protecting the civil rights of the accused. Our lawyers will investigate the actions of the police and district attorney’s office, looking for any violations of your rights. If they failed to follow proper procedure, we will challenge any evidence that arose from those actions. This zealousness has resulted in our excellent record of getting charges tossed or reduced. That is the type of representation you need when facing DUI charges, whether they are misdemeanor charges or a felony.
The difference between doing 50 hours of community service and spending a year or more in jail is life-changing. At Panella Law Firm, we are dedicated to ensuring that your life isn’t destroyed by a single mistake or a violation of your civil rights. If you have been charged with a DUI, call our law firm at 407-233-1822 immediately to schedule a consultation with an experienced attorney.