DUI Defense

Panama City DUI Lawyer

Experienced Defense for DUI Charges in Bay County, Florida 

Being charged with DUI is serious, and as such, it requires serious legal representation. If you are facing DUI charges, you need to seek help from the Panama City DUI lawyer at Albert J. Sauline, III Attorney at Law. With more than 19+ years of legal experience behind him, he can help you pursue a positive case outcome and work to minimize the harsh penalties that come with DUI convictions.

What are the Penalties for DUI in Florida?

When you are pulled over by a law enforcement officer, he or she may ask you to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test to determine whether or not you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you refuse to take any of the requested tests, you may risk having your driver's license suspended for one year, even for a first-time refusal. If this is your second refusal, then your driver's license may be suspended for 19 months, and you may be facing misdemeanor charges in addition to the DUI charge.

In the state of Florida, the penalties for a first DUI offense include:

  • Up to 6 months of jail time
  • Fines from $500 to $1,000
  • Up to 1 years of probation
  • At least 180 days of driver’s license revocation
  • Installation of ignition interlock device
  • Mandatory 12 hours of DUI education courses
  • Up to 50 hours of community service

Repeat DUI offenders will face harsher penalties, including steeper fines, longer jail time, and extended license suspension periods.

Are you facing charges for a DUI? Call Albert J. Sauline, III Attorney at Law, today at (850) 250-3426 or contact us online to schedule a free case review with an experienced DUI defense attorney in Panama City.

Is DUI a Felony in Florida?

In the state of Florida DUIs are generally treated as a misdemeanor offense. However, a person can be charged with a felony DUI if:

  • There is a child in the car.
  • This is the third DUI offense within 5 years.
  • This is the fourth or more DUI offense
  • This offense severely or fatally injures someone else.

Over the years, Attorney Albert J. Sauline, III has successfully represented many clients facing both misdemeanor and felony DUI charges throughout Panama City.

Florida Implied Consent Law

Before discussing whether you should submit to a Field Sobriety Evaluation (FSE), it is important to determine whether you are obligated by law to do so. Field Sobriety Evaluations are often confused for blood or breath alcohol testing samples, though they are quite different.

For example, Florida Statute 316.1932 states one is deemed to consent to submission of a breath or blood alcohol sample simply by having a Florida driver’s license, with failure to submit resulting in a 12-month administrative driver’s license suspension and a second or subsequent refusal resulting in a misdemeanor criminal prosecution for such refusal, as well as an 18-month administrative suspension.

This would include:

  • Breath tests
  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests

Standardized Field Sobriety Tests

The Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) consists of 3 individual tests:

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test - Horizontal gaze nystagmus is an involuntary jerking of the eyeball which occurs as the eyes gaze to the side, which is exaggerated when a person is under the influence of alcohol. For this test, the officer will slowly move a pen or small object back and forth to look for indicators in each eye that the person is impaired.
  • Walk-and-turn test - the officer will instruct the person to take about nine steps, touching heel-to-toe in a straight line, and then return back. Some of the signs the officer are looking for include not being able to keep their balance, starting before the instructions are finished, or not following the instructions properly.
  • One-leg stand test -For this test, the person will be asked to stand with one foot off the ground and hold until told to put it down. The officer is looking for swaying, hoping, or using their arms to balance.
Field Sobriety Evaluations, however, are not included, which means that you are not legally obligated to comply. Failure to submit to a Field Sobriety Evaluation will not, in and of itself, result in a driver’s license suspension nor a separate criminal charge, which further differentiates such from a breath or blood alcohol sobriety test.

What are Factors to Consider When Deciding to Take an FSE in Florida?

The results of Field Sobriety Evaluations are subjective, as there are several factors that contribute to an individual’s performance. The accuracy of FSE’s is questionable and can often lead to “false positives.”

Factors to consider:

  • Fear and nervousness of being pulled over
  • Surrounding environment: lighting, noises, ground condition, weather, etc.
  • Driver’s fatigue
  • Clothing that restricts mobility
  • Potential language barriers between the driver and officer
  • Physical conditioning of the driver: size, weight, gender, etc.

If any of these factors are a concern to you, the best response is to openly discuss them with the officer. Most all law enforcement agencies will record the roadside performance of FSE’s, so any jury will listen to whatever you say to the officer regarding such issues while watching your performance on the FSE’s.

If you have any concerns regarding your Field Sobriety Evaluation, you should contact an experienced Panama City DUI Lawyer. Attorney Albert J. Sauline, III can help answer any questions you may have regarding your DUI case, defending your rights throughout your DUI proceedings.

Why Hire Attorney Sauline For Your DUI Case

As a former prosecutor and skilled litigator, Attorney Sauline has the training and prowess required to handle even the most incriminating DUI cases. He is not afraid to challenge evidence, including field sobriety test results. He will carefully review all the details of your arrest in search of the strongest defense available. As your Panama City DUI attorney, no stone will be left unturned. The firm has an established reputation for delivering individualized representation that is always ethical and honest. No empty promises are made at the firm.

When you hire Attorney Sauline, you get Attorney Sauline. Your case will never be passed off to another Panama City DUI attorney or paralegal. Take a look at how some past clients have benefited from the firm’s unparalleled services.

Contact a Skilled Panama City DUI Attorney Today

A DUI conviction could endanger your driving rights and appear on your record. Don’t consider giving up hope just yet. Seek the firm’s reliable and trustworthy DUI defense services without hesitating. Your DUI case can become a thing of the past.

Contact Albert J. Sauline, III Attorney at Law today to get started on your defense with a Panama City DUI lawyer.

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