Delray Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer
Are you looking for a criminal defense attorney in Delray Beach, Forida? At Demand the Limits Law Firm, our experienced criminal defense attorneys can help you with your criminal case, whether you are facing misdemeanor or felony charges, and whether you have been charged at a local, state, or federal level. We are a full-service legal firm, and we can help you navigate whatever criminal charges you are facing.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
If you have been charged with a DUI in Florida, you have been charged with driving under the influence. This offense is one of two offenses that target drivers who are under the influence of intoxicating substances. It is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol level of .08 or above, or while under the influence of other intoxicating substances. The potential penalties for this crime vary, depending on whether it is a first offense or a subsequent offense. In addition to criminal penalties, Florida drivers charged with DUI also have to worry about an administrative hearing to determine whether or not their licenses should be suspended, pending the results of a criminal trial.
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
In Florida, drunk driving is referred to as DUI, but it is referred to as DWI (driving while intoxicated) in other jurisdictions. You may hear references to DWI in Florida as well. A non-specific phrase, DWI may refer to you being charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substances, generally illegal drugs or drugs in excess of the amount of prescribed or normal usage limits. There are criminal, civil, and other repercussions of DWI convictions, including jail time and suspended licenses. In addition, you may face consequences in other areas, such as job loss, impacts on child custody, and civil consequences if the DWI was related to an auto accident.
Boating Under the Influence (BUI)
Boating under the influence (BUI) is the maritime version of DWI/DUI laws. It prohibits boating while under the influence of alcohol, prescription, or illegal drugs. The prohibited blood alcohol level is .08 or above. There are a range of potential punishments for BUI, which escalate with the number of offenses. BUI and DUI both count as prior offenses when considering punishments for each other.
Driving While License Suspended
Driving with a suspended license is a criminal offense that subjects you to potential fines and jail time. However, for most people who have been charged with driving with a suspended license, the real concerns are related to future driving ability; driving with a suspended license can result in having you license suspended for an additional period of time or even having your license revoked. Furthermore, it may be considered a probation violation if you have been placed on probation for an underlying offense.
Reckless Driving refers to operating a motor vehicle with a willful or wanton disregard for public safety. It is an interesting law, because the criteria for charging someone with reckless driving is somewhat subjective and heavily dependent on the opinion of the person making the arrest or writing the ticket. It may be a misdemeanor or felony level offense; if the underlying incident resulted in serious bodily injury, then it will probably be charged as a felony. It is another offense that can have potential civil penalties, as a criminal conviction can be used as proof in a civil trial.
A less serious offense than reckless driving, careless driving refers to drivers who are not exercising their vehicles in a careful and prudent manner. The offense can cover a variety of behaviors. Careless driving is a moving violation, which means that it is punishable by fines, points on your driver’s license, an increase in insurance rates, and potentially a suspended license. However, careless driving cannot be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony like reckless driving can.
Many people erroneously believe that what makes a crime a felony is the severity of the crime. While felony offenses tend to include more serious offenses, what distinguishes a felony from a misdemeanor is the severity of the punishment. In Florida, felonies are punishable by imprisonment in a state prison facility or the death penalty. In contrast, misdemeanor offenses are punishable by up a year in a county jail facility. The length of the sentences and where they are served mean that the consequences for felony offenses are more serious than for misdemeanors.
Violation of Municipality Ordinances
In addition to state laws, most municipalities have local ordinances. Although municipal ordinances are generally not as serious as misdemeanor offenses, it is important to keep in mind that violating a municipal ordinance not only comes with a risk of a fine, but can also carry a definite jail term of up to 60 days in a local jail facility.
Violation of Probation
Probation violations are an interesting area of the law, because they may result in significant criminal consequences for relatively minor behaviors. Furthermore, because a defendant on probation has prior convictions, it can be more difficult to obtain favorable plea agreements, making representation by counsel very important.
Domestic violence refers to a wide range of criminal offenses committed by one family or household member against another family or household member. These offenses include assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, as well as any other criminal offense that leads to the physical injury or death of the victim. Domestic violence crimes are often charged at lower levels, leading defendants to erroneously believe that the charges are not that serious. However, domestic violence convictions can lead to serious non-criminal consequences; they can impact divorce settlements, child custody arrangements, employment opportunities, and the ability to own a firearm.
Early Termination of Probation
If a defendant complies with the terms of probation, the court can discharge the defendant from probation. To qualify for early termination of probation, a defendant should complete all special conditions of probation. In addition, courts are generally unlikely to termination probation early unless a defendant has completed at least half of their original probation term.
Sealing/Expunging Criminal Records
Sealing a criminal record refers to placing a criminal record, which are normally publically available. Expunging a record refers to removing the record from record systems or files and destroying it. There are several methods to seal or expunge records: administrative expungement for arrests made contrary to law or by mistake; court-ordered sealing or expungement; juvenile diversion expungement; lawful self-defense expungement; human trafficking expungement; automatic juvenile expungement; and early juvenile expungement. Not every defendant or every conviction will quality for expungement, but at Demand the Limits our Delray Beach criminal defense attorneys can evaluate your conviction(s) and determine whether you are likely to be eligible to have your records sealed or expunged.