Tampa Bay DUI Defense Lawyer

DUI is a serious offense in Florida. The Sunshine State has strict laws against driving under the influence. Operating a truck, motorcycle, car, or another commercial vehicle while impaired can lead to life-changing consequences. Depending on the circumstances, you could face jail time, pay hefty fines, and lose your driving privileges. If you have been pulled over and arrested for DUI, you need the help of a skilled DUI lawyer in Tampa Bay. 

What Is a DUI?

Florida’s laws encompass more than driving after a few alcoholic drinks. Under state laws, driving while under the influence of alcoholic beverages, controlled substances, and chemical substances all fall under the DUI statutes. If these substances impair the driver’s physical abilities to operate a vehicle or the individual’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is more than .08, the driver could be charged with a DUI. 


You can even get a DUI if you were not driving the vehicle. Some individuals can be arrested for simply sitting in the driver’s seat of a vehicle with the keys in the ignition. According to Section 316.193(2), if you are under “actual physical control” of a vehicle and under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or chemical substances, you can be arrested for DUI. 


At the time of a lawful arrest, the law enforcement officer can conduct a field sobriety test on the scene. You might have to go to a hospital for a blood draw to determine your sobriety levels in some cases.

DUI Tests

If you have been suspected of DUI, the arresting officer can conduct a few tests to determine your sobriety. Florida does have implied consent laws, which means that you must submit to these tests. With a field sobriety test, the officer will assess your physical and cognitive abilities. You may be asked to:

  • Recite the alphabet backward
  • Walk a straight line
  • Touch your nose with your finger


In addition to these physical tests, the officer can also request breath, urine, or blood tests. All these examinations fall under Florida’s implied consent.  Some tests that can be conducted in the state include:

  • Breath: Breath tests are the most well-known way to determine the alcohol level of a driver. The officer must have cause to conduct the test. In many cases, this breath test is used in conjunction with physical and cognitive field exams. The driver must blow into the breathalyzer. If the blood alcohol level is above .08, then the person can be arrested for a DUI. 
  • Urine: According to Statute 316.1932, “the urine test is incidental to a lawful DUI arrest, and it must be administered at a detention facility that is equipped to conduct these tests.” The officer must have probable cause that the driver was under the influence of these substances to request this test. With this testing, the law enforcement officer can determine whether chemical or controlled substances are in the urine. 
  • Blood: Under certain circumstances, the law enforcement officer can request a blood test. However, the driver must give voluntary consent. These tests are performed when a breath or urine test is impossible to conduct in the field. If there was a serious accident involving the suspected driver, the officer could request a blood test.

Implied Consent

There are implied consent laws in Florida. With the privilege of driving on the road, you must abide by a lawful request for a field or chemical test. If you refuse any of these tests, you could lose your license. 

If that is the case with you, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) will request a formal hearing to suspend your license. You do have the right to challenge the legality of these field tests within 10 days. In addition to that, you can contest the revocation of your license. You will want to consult with a DUI lawyer to assist with your situation.

Florida's Criminal DUI Penalties


Like most states, you can face some severe penalties for a DUI conviction. You might have to pay a fine, abide by probation terms, or spend time in jail. One of the harshest punishments is losing your privilege to drive. 


The first or second DUI arrest is considered a misdemeanor. However, a DUI arrest in Tampa Bay can lead to a felony charge. If the driver has been convicted of two prior DUIs within the past decade, the third offense can be elevated to a felony offense. 


DUI penalties in Florida include:

  • First DUI conviction: Six months in jail, a $500 to $1,000 fine, and impoundment of the vehicle.
  • Second DUI conviction: Nine months in jail, a fine of $500 to $1,000, vehicle impoundment for 30 days, suspended license for a year, and installation of an ignition interlock system.
  • Third DUI conviction: Minimum two years in the ignition interlock program, a fine up to $5,000, license revocation of 10 years, and 90-day impoundment of the vehicle.
  • Fourth DUI conviction: Five years in prison, a third-degree felony charge, ignition interlock program for six months, $2,000 fine, and 90 days of vehicle impoundment.

Ignition Interlock Device

With some convictions, you might need to connect an ignition interlock device to your vehicle. With these devices, you will have to blow into the machine to measure your BAC level so that you can start the ignition. You are responsible for all the monthly fees and installation costs for the device. 


In Florida, some circumstances can enhance DUI penalties, such as:

  • Reckless driving while intoxicated
  • BAC levels higher than 0.15
  • Impaired driving with a minor in the vehicle
  • Refusing to submit to a chemical or field test

DUI Consequences in Florida

Along with penalties, fines, and other fees, you will have to fill out an FR-44 form. This paperwork allows Florida insurance companies to raise your rates for three years. Since you are a “risk” on the road, you might have to pay double the rates to insure your vehicle.


A driver’s license is revoked in some situations, and you must apply for a hardship license. This is a temporary license that allows the individual to drive to school, work, or another predetermined location. These licenses permit a driver to operate a vehicle legally. However, they carry heavy restrictions on the road.

Contact a Tampa Bay DUI Lawyer

If you have been arrested for DUI in Tampa Bay, you will want to have an experienced attorney handle your case. Robert Zlatkin has successfully defended clients against these charges. He will study the facts of your criminal case so that you have a few options for your defense. You can schedule a consultation by contacting his Tampa Bay office. 

Let Robert help you!

If you have any questions, call or email Robert today for a free case review/consultation.

Call : (813) 658-2098

7 days/week 24 hours