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Panama City DUI Attorney

What are the penalties for DUI in Panama City?

Arrested for drinking and driving? You must take action now to avoid a conviction and the serious consequences this could have for your future. The Seaton Law Firm can help you understand your DUI charges and guide you through the process. Driving under the influence is not merely a traffic violation for which you can pay the fine and go on your way. It is a criminal offense, punishable by fines, time in jail and additional penalties.

If this is your first arrest for drinking and driving, the sentence you could receive include:

  • $500 in fines
  • 50 hours of community service
  • Up to 6 months in jail
  • 10 days of vehicle impoundment
  • 180-day driver's license suspension

The penalties are increased for a second conviction, including:

  • $2,000 fine
  • Up to 9 months in jail
  • 30-day vehicle impoundment
  • 5-year driver's license revocation

While a third conviction sees a dramatically increased sentence:

  • At least $2,000 in fines or more than $5,000
  • Minimum of 30 days in jail and up to one year
  • 90 days of vehicle impoundment
  • Driver's license revocation lasting a full 10 years

In addition to these DUI penalties, you may be ordered by the court to pay for the installation and maintenance of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, which will require you to provide a clean breath sample before starting your car and at intervals during driving. A breath sample with alcohol will immobilize the vehicle and will be reported to the authorities. You can also expect to see your insurance rates increase dramatically, as the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will report your conviction to your insurance carrier.

Is it possible to beat DUI charges in Panama City?

Contrary to what you may have heard, it is nearly always possible to successfully challenge the evidence in a DUI case, with the result of having the charges reduced or even dismissed, or even to secure a full acquittal in a trial. One of the most common strategies involves demonstrating that the police officer did not have probable cause to pull the suspect over in the first place, which constitutes an unlawful traffic stop in violation of the suspect's Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure-this would make the evidence that was subsequently gathered inadmissible in court.

Similarly, we might be able to use cross-examination and other evidence to reveal that the police officer made errors in administering the field sobriety tests, or that there were mistakes in analyzing and handling your blood test sample. You cannot be convicted unless it is proven beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime, and we place the burden of proof squarely on the prosecutor.

Contact us at Seaton Law Offices, P.A. now to learn more about our DUI defense strategies and to take the first steps in your case.

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