Getting behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated is a mistake that can have wide-ranging consequences. In addition to putting yourself and others at risk of an accident, you also face criminal prosecution for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A conviction can mean steep fines and even jail time. A person busted for DUI in Florida also may be looking at the loss of his or her driving privileges. State law provides for a five-year revocation of a person’s driver’s license if he or she is convicted of DUI twice within a five-year period. A recent case out of Florida’s First District Court of Appeal shows just how seriously courts take that punishment.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles initiated proceedings to revoke a defendant’s driver’s license after he was convicted of a second DUI. He was arrested twice in an eight-day span in October 2013 and pleaded guilty in both cases. He was convicted on both charges in November 2013. He later challenged the revocation of his license, arguing that a Florida law allowing for license revocation in the event of multiple DUI convictions didn’t apply to him.
The Florida law provides for license revocation in the event of “a second conviction for an offense that occurs within a period of 5 years after the date of a prior conviction for a violation.” Since the defendant was convicted for both DUIs during the same criminal proceeding on one, single day, he argued that his second conviction wasn’t “after” the date of the first conviction. A circuit court disagreed. The First District also sided with the FDHSMV.
The court explained that its review of the decision was limited to two questions: “(1) whether the lower tribunal afforded procedural due process and (2) whether the lower tribunal applied the correct law.” In this case, the court said the trial judge applied the correct law by determining that the first DUI offense should be treated as a prior offense for revocation purposes.
“The October 16, 2013, arrest occurred after October 5, 2013, and thus, by operation of statute, the conviction for the October 16 offense on November 21, 2013, constituted a ‘second conviction for an offense that occurs within a period of 5 years after the date of a prior conviction,’” the court said. As a result, the First District affirmed the revocation of the defendant’s driver’s license for five years.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI or a wide range of other crimes in Florida, it is essential that you seek the advice and counsel of an experienced attorney. Tampa DUI defense lawyer Will Hanlon is a seasoned attorney who fights aggressively on behalf of clients charged with a wide range of offenses. Call our offices at (813) 228-7095 or contact us online to speak with Mr. Hanlon about your case.
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