Being charged with a DUI or DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) is not a pleasant experience. It's in your best interest to speak with an experienced DWI attorney who can help you to find the right way to protect your rights and reduce your penalties.
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Despite the common occurrence of DUI cases, there is in fact another charge that you can face depending on the substance that you have taken. This is better known as a DWI or driving while intoxicated. A felony DWI carries with it very heavy punishments, which go beyond simple fines and a short sentence in jail; you may be required to spend a long time in state prison, have your license revoked, in addition to the already hefty fines you'll face.
Difference Between DUI and DWI
On the surface, there is little difference between these two crimes. They are both considered when the offender is operating a moving vehicle while under the influence of either alcohol or drugs. However, there is a difference in penalty, because the state does view them differently, and a DUI is considered the lesser of the two charges. Depending on the blood alcohol concentration at the time of the arrest, the level of impairment can put you into an entirely different bracket.
Penalties for DWI in Florida
Since there is a distinction between DUI and DWI, the same is also true for the penalties. Being charged with a DWI can be different depending on how many charges you've gotten, and how frequently you get them. There are three levels that you may see:
- Basic DWI
- Class E Felony DWI
- Class D Felony DWI
In the case of a basic DWI, you will be required by law to pay a fine of anywhere from $500 to $1,000. In addition, you may spend up to one year in jail, and have your license revoked for at least six months. This penalty increases with the Class E Felony DWI dramatically. If you've had a second DWI in the course of ten years, you will automatically be charged with a Class E Felony, which carries with it a fine that goes anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000. It's also required that you spend up to four years in jail, and have your license revoked for at least a year. The last classification exists if you are to get a third DWI charge in ten years, and it's known as a Class D Felony DWI. Fines in this category range from $2,000 to up to $10,000, and your jail sentencing can be up to seven years with a revoked license for at least another year.
In addition to those already placed penalties, it's required that all Class E and D felons go through an evaluation or rehabilitation course in order to be reissued a license. You will also be required to have an ignition interlock device installed inside each vehicle that you own. This is not only humiliating, but it's a social stigma that you will carry around with you until you have proven yourself capable.
As you can see, the penalties for DWI are potentially very severe, and while there are minute changes in the actual punishment, there is an increased need to have a professional DUI/DWI attorney at your side. Experience is critical in this situation, because an experienced lawyer may be able to reduce that DWI charge into a DUI, or even more. Having it brought down to a DUI is a huge benefit to you, as the penalties, though still severe, are quite noticeably less.
Our DWI lawyer is willing to sit with you and discuss your options, so do not hesitate to call us today. Regardless of the situation that you're in, we're more than capable of handling your case in a manner that will give you the best option for you. You aren't in this alone, and we want you to know that your case isn't a lost cause. Let us fight for you and bring you the peace that you so desperately want.