A driving under the influence (DUI) charge is what a Florida driver may face if they are pulled over for being suspected of operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. While each jurisdiction in The Sunshine State has procedures in place for first-time DUI charges, the process generally involves being arrested and spending some time in jail. Depending the circumstances involved, a judge may allow a charged individual to be released on bail as long as they agree to remain in the area until a scheduled hearing takes place.

When first pulled over, an individual may be asked to take a breath test called a Breathalyzer and perform certain types of field sobriety tests at the scene. A blood alcohol content (BAC) test may also be required. Regardless of whether or not an individual admits to being intoxicated, someone suspected of drunk driving will likely spend some time in jail - which can range anywhere from a few hours to a few days, depending on what rules apply in a specific jurisdiction. At the very least, the charged individual normally remains in jail until they are no longer under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.

Individuals refusing to participate in field testing may have their blood and urine tested while in police custody. Barring additional charges related to the incident, first-time offenders in Florida typically receive a lighter sentence than individuals with previous DUI arrests. Sentences often involve a temporary license suspension and/or fines and jail time. Some jurisdictions require first-time offenders to also attend DUI school to learn about the dangers of driving while under the influence.

A criminal defense attorney may assist a driver facing a first-time DUI charge by alleging that a driver was improperly pulled over without probable cause for the initial traffic stop. Having been impaired because of medical issues not related to drugs or alcohol, having ingested alcohol unknowingly (e.g., spiked punch at a party), and entrapment are some of the possible defenses against DUI charges. Additionally, a lawyer might raise issues about the accuracy of field sobriety, BAC, and urine tests.

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