Law Office of William B. Wynne
2501 Orient Rd., Suite D
Tampa, FL 33619
Law Office of William B. Wynne
2501 Orient Rd., Suite D
Tampa, FL 33619
Affordable DUI Attorney Tampa: If you or someone you know has been arrested for Driving Under the Influence (aka drunk driving), it is important to speak with a Tampa DUI Lawyer right away. At the Law Office of William B. Wynne, when we take on a DUI case, we aim to get the charges dismissed. It is always our goal to beat the case with our extensive experience as Tampa DUI Lawyers.
At the Law Office of William B. Wynne, we have over 10 years of experience in defending DUI cases of all different types, including enhanced DUI charges, felony DUI charges, drug DUI charges, juvenile DUI charges, and more. As DUI attorneys in Tampa, we often, we often pursue motions to suppress evidence, motions to dismiss, the reduction of charges, and not-guilty verdicts.
It is estimated that around 32,177 people were arrested for DUI in 2018. The total number of DUI arrests across the entire state has seen a downward trend over the past few years. Even so, Hillsborough County still leads the state in injuries and fatalities as the result of driving under the influence. The crime of D.U.I. affects people from all walks of life, from all backgrounds, and from all income levels.
Florida law defines the crime of DUI as operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or any controlled substance. Though most DUI charges involve the consumption of alcohol, impairment can also be caused by narcotics and/or prescription drugs. Even your own prescription medications can be the basis for DUI charges. Tampa DUI lawyer William B. Wynne has handled all these types of cases before.
In Florida you are considered over the limit, when your “blood alcohol concentration” (BAC) is greater than .08.1 More specifically, Florida Statute section 316.193—the applicable legal statute governing DUI—tells us that a person is guilty of DUI when that person is driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle and is “under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substance set forth in s. 877.111, or any substance controlled under chapter 893, when affected to the extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired.”2
Tampa Florida drivers face even stricter requirements and penalties in certain situations. For example, Florida has a zero-tolerance policy for drivers under the age of 21. Drivers under 21 can be arrested and charged with underage DUI if their BAC is just .02 or higher.3 Further, commercial drivers can be arrested and charged with DUI if their BAC is .04 or higher.4 Tampa DUI Lawyer William B. Wynne has handled dozens of these cases over the years.
Generally, a law enforcement officer needs reasonable suspicion to stop or detain a suspect, and they need probable cause to make an arrest for DUI. “In order for a traffic stop for an infraction or a crime to be proper, the police must have a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, or probable cause to believe a traffic infraction has been committed.” Jones v. State, 842 So. 2d 889 (Fla. 2d DCA 2003). So, to investigate a driver for suspicion of DUI, a police officer must have a reasonable suspicion that the driver is in actual physical control of a vehicle and that they are impaired. Remember, this is simply the requirement to stop and investigate a driver, not to make an arrest. Placing a suspect under arrest for DUI requires a bit more.
Throughout the years, several court decisions have clarified what constitutes reasonable suspicion. “A bare suspicion or a mere hunch is insufficient.” Popple v. State, 626 So. 2d 185, 186 (Fla. 1993). “In determining whether sufficient evidence to support a well-founded suspicion exists, a court should consider all facts known by police at the time of the stop.” Bartlett v. State, 508 So. 2d 567, 568 (Fla. 2d DCA 1987). Reasonable suspicion is a comparatively low standard and can be easily met if an officer observes one or more indicators of impairment—like a clumsy or erratic driving pattern, the smell of alcohol, bloodshot watery eyes, etc. In numerous Tampa DUI cases, reasonable suspicion has been established through erratic driving, slurred speech, or difficulty in communicating with officers. Often, reasonable suspicion simply gives an officer an opportunity to develop probable cause, which then allows the officer to make an arrest.
Probable cause—on the other hand—requires a little more than reasonable suspicion. Probable cause is a set of circumstances that may lead a law enforcement officer to reasonably believe that a crime has been (or is being) committed. To initiate a DUI arrest, a law enforcement officer must have probable cause to believe that the driver is committing the crime of DUI. The Florida Supreme Court defines probable cause as “a reasonable ground of suspicion supported by circumstances sufficiently strong to warrant a cautious person in the belief that the person is guilty of the offense charged.” Dunnavant v. State, 46 So. 2d 871 (Fla. 1950). “Consequently, probable cause for a DUI arrest must be based upon more than a belief that a driver has consumed alcohol; it must arise from facts and circumstances that show a probability that a driver is impaired by alcohol or has an unlawful amount of alcohol in his system.” State v. Kliphouse, 771 So. 2d 16 (Fla. 4th DCA 2000).
Typically, a combination of several factors constitutes probable cause. These can include an erratic or clumsy driving pattern, the smell of alcohol, slurred speech, difficulty maintaining balance, admissions, bloodshot watery eyes, and many more. A skilled Tampa DUI lawyer can challenge the determination of probable cause or reasonable suspicion in a DUI case by filing and arguing a motion to suppress evidence, which can lead to the dismissal of charges.
For Tampa drivers facing DUI charges, it’s crucial to understand the lifelong consequences that can ensue. The penalties associated with the crime of DUI have seen a steady increase over the past 20 years as society has recognized the dangers of impaired drivers. Even a first-time offender faces severe minimum penalties. This means that if you are unable to get the charges dropped or reduced, the judge has no choice but to sentence you to the minimum penalties.
Most DUI cases are misdemeanors and are punishable by a fine from $500.00 to $1,000.00 and can include a one-year license suspension and 6 months of imprisonment. Yes, that means jail time is possible—even on a first offense. In addition, DUI penalties include a 10-day vehicle impoundment and up to one year of probation.
The Florida legislature—in Florida Statutes section 316.656—has specifically made it unlawful to receive a withhold of adjudication for the charge of DUI.5 For those that aren’t legal experts, this means (in a nutshell) that your D.U.I. case will stay on your record for life, unless you can get it dropped, dismissed, or reduced, and you are otherwise eligible to seal or expunge your record. For more details, see our expungement & sealing page. These factors underscore the importance of retaining an experienced Tampa DUI Lawyer.
The state of Florida has stringent minimum penalties for DUI offenders. As a Tampa DUI Lawyer with over 10 years of experience, William B. Wynne has handled numerous cases involving these harsh minimum penalties. Pursuant to Florida Statute 316.193, if you’re arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence and it’s your first offense—assuming you can’t get the case dropped or reduced—you’ll be facing harsh minimum sentence requirements. This means that if you’re found guilty, the judge has no choice but to sentence you to these requirements as established by law. In other words, they cannot lawfully give you less.
|Jail Time||Up to Six Months|
|Up to Nine Months (if BAC > 0.15% or minor in the vehicle)|
|Probation||Up to Twelve Months|
|License Suspension||6-12 Months|
|Fines||$500 to $1,000|
|$1,000 to $2,000 (if BAC > 0.15% or minor in the vehicle)|
|Vehicle Impoundment||10 days Mandatory|
|Other Penalties||50 Hours of Community Service, DUI School, Substance abuse evaluation and any recommended treatment|
And remember, in going over the minimum penalties, we are assuming a best-case scenario. You can receive jail time even on a first-time DUI, depending on the circumstances. If you wish to avoid these penalties, speak with a Tampa DUI lawyer about your options.
While most DUI cases involve alcohol, you can also be charged with Driving Under the Influence for being under the influence of drugs, which can even include your own prescription medications. Remember, Florida law defines DUI as being under the influence of alcohol or a chemical substance, while operating a motor vehicle. In theory, any narcotic or drug that could potentially impair one’s ability to operate a vehicle safely, could be the basis for a DUI charge. Common drugs that lead to DUI charges include opiates, benzodiazepines like Xanax, ADHD stimulant medications like Adderall, cocaine, heroin, and even marijuana.
DUI drug charges are often complex and can be more difficult to prosecute than alcohol related DUI charges, but the penalties are essentially the same. The complexity stems partly from the fact that intoxication via drugs does not register on a blood alcohol test. Instead, it is typically determined circumstantially through field sobriety exercises, and the presence of the drug in urine or blood tests. The presence of chemical substances detected in the human body requires complex scientific inquiry, and often leads to evidentiary obstacles for a prosecutor. An experienced lawyer can recognize and exploit these weaknesses.
Many of our clients come to us with pressing questions: Is it possible to get the charges dropped or reduced? Can the case be dismissed altogether? The answers to these questions are highly specific to each case and require a detailed analysis of multiple factors. However, an experienced Tampa DUI lawyer can explore a range of defenses to address these charges effectively.
Getting a prosecutor to drop or reduce charges often involves a negotiated process. With our extensive experience and knowledge in Tampa DUI cases, we meticulously investigate every aspect of the case. Our aim is to convince the prosecutor to drop or reduce the charges by highlighting weaknesses in their case. Various mitigating factors, such as the defendant’s background, community involvement, prior military and volunteer service, among others, can also be instrumental in this negotiation.
On the flip side, achieving a judge’s dismissal of the charges usually involves legal tactics within the court system. With our extensive experience as Tampa DUI lawyers, we frequently utilize pre-trial motions like motions to dismiss and motions in limine, as well as motions to suppress evidence. A motion to suppress evidence challenges the legality of how evidence was obtained, requesting the judge to dismiss such evidence if it violates a defendant’s rights. Another common tactic is a motion to dismiss, which argues that even if all the prosecutor’s allegations are true, the evidence is insufficient to convict the defendant.
Any criminal case can have numerous defenses. A skilled Tampa DUI defense attorney will exploit all available defenses and leverage them into an overall strategy.
Now, more than ever, it is important to retain an experienced and aggressive Tampa DUI Lawyer. For over 10 years we’ve served Tampa residents accused of DUI. We fight hard to protect the rights of our clients, and to avoid the harsh consequences associated with these charges. Contact the Law Office of William B. Wynne today at 813-532-5057. Consultations are free of charge.