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Walton County Driving Under The Influence DUI DUI Defense

DUI

If you have been accused of any driving under the influence (DUI) offense throughout the Florida Panhandle, you may wonder how you were charged with an offense when your blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC or AC) level was under .08%. Unfortunately, Florida’s DUI laws are very strict and an alleged offender can still be charged with a DUI offense even if their BAC was not over the legal limit of .08%. A driver that is in actual physical control of a vehicle that has any amount of alcohol or controlled substance in their system could still face an arrest for DUI.

The state prosecutor will look at a variety of factor to determine whether a driver had actual physical control (APC) of a motor vehicle. These factors can include:

  • Whether the car was capable of being driven;
  • Whether the hood of the car was hot, which indicates it was recently driven;
  • Whether the car's engine was on;
  • Whether the keys were close enough to put in the ignition; and/or
  • Whether the keys were in the ignition.

If you were pulled over on suspicion of DUI throughout the Florida Panhandle, it is important to remember not to speak to any law enforcement officer until you have hired an experienced criminal defense attorney. Invoke your legal right to remain silent by stating you will not make any statements until after you talk to your lawyer, then stay silent, even if the law enforcement officer questions or talks to you.

Although you are probably innocent, stay silent. If you continue to explain the situation or try to get out of the arrest or criminal charges, you could possibly give conflicting facts or other details that are incriminating, or that the prosecutor will use against you at trial. Your attorney will be better suited to protect your rights and interests when speaking to law enforcement officials.

Destin DUI Defense Lawyer

Contact the Adkinson Law Firm, LLC for a consultation about your alleged driving under the influence offense throughout the Florida Panhandle, including the areas of Crestview, South Walton, Fort Walton Beach, Milton, Navarre, DeFuniak Springs, Pensacola and Panama City. The attorneys of Adkinson Law Firm, LLC are knowledgeable in all areas of Florida’s DUI cases and have successfully defended clients charged with driving under the influence throughout the Florida Panhandle. Contact the Adkinson Law Firm, LLC for a free consultation today at if you have been charged with a DUI offense throughout Destin and South Walton.


South Walton DUI Information Center


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DUI Case Proceedings in South Walton

If you have been charged with driving under the influence in Florida, you will typically face an administrative case and a criminal case. The administrative case begins almost immediately after your license is suspended. Once you have been accused of driving under the influence in the Florida Panhandle, it is important to immediately contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer. You only have ten (10) days after an arrest for DUI to dispute the administrative license suspension.


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DUI Administrative Proceedings in Destin

If you drive a car or motor vehicle in Florida, you have impliedly agreed to the state's DUI laws by the mere act of driving. This means you have agreed to submit to chemical breath, blood or urine tests to determine the presence of alcohol or controlled substances in your system if you are pulled over on suspicion of DUI. Florida’s implied consent laws do not include submitting to field sobriety tests. If you refuse to submit to any chemical testing or fail an intoxication test with a BAC of .08 or higher, your license can be administratively suspended.

As defined in Fla. Stat. § 322.2615, a driver suspected of DUI can receive an administrative license suspension in either of the following two situations:

  • The driver refused to submit to blood, breath or urine chemical testing, or
  • The driver failed an intoxication test or was per se DUI.

Any driver that receives an administrative license suspension has the opportunity to request a formal administrative license suspension to challenge the suspension within ten days of receiving notice of the suspension. Florida law states notice was received when the driver’s license was confiscated. Therefore, once you have received a driver’s license suspension, it is important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who will file this request on your behalf and represent your best interests at the hearing.

If the hearing officer determines there was insufficient evidence to suspend your license, it will be returned to you and your driving privileges will be reinstated. If the hearing officer determines there was sufficient evidence to suspend your license, your attorney can help you file a motion requesting a hardship permit or limited driving privileges. It is important to note that if your driving privileges are reinstated, they can possibly be suspended upon the completion of your criminal trial. 


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Criminal DUI Offenses in South Walton

In addition to the administrative DUI case in Florida, an individual may also be charged with a criminal DUI offense. The two types of cases are separate and can both result in driver’s license suspensions. Most people are more familiar with the criminal aspect of a driving under the influence offense, which can include pre-trial motions, hearings, DUI trial, sentencing, and appeals. Some of the most common criminal DUI charges in Florida can include:

First DUI – An individual can be charged with this offense if they are in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances and their normal faculties are impaired, or their blood or breath alcohol concentration level is .08% or higher. This offense can generally result in a misdemeanor of the second-degree conviction.

Second DUI – An individual can be charged with this offense if they have previously been convicted of one DUI-related offense and are currently under the influence of alcohol or drugs and their normal mental faculties are impaired or have a BAC of .08% or higher while having actual physical control of a motor vehicle. This offense can generally result in a misdemeanor of the first-degree conviction.

Third DUI – An individual can be charged with this offense if they have two or previous DUI convictions, and are currently under the influence of alcohol or drugs and their normal faculties are impaired, or they have a BAC of .08% or higher and are in actual physical control of a vehicle. This offense can typically result in a felony conviction.  

Felony DUI – An individual can be charged with this type of DUI offense if they:

  • Have been convicted of two or more DUI offenses and are currently charged with a third offense within 10 years of any previous DUI offense;
  • Commit a DUI offense and cause death to another person; or
  • Commit a DUI offense and cause serious bodily injury to another person.

DUI with Property Damage – An individual can be charged with this offense if they have actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and their normal faculties are impaired or they have a BAC of .08% or higher and cause damage to another person’s property. This offense can generally result in a misdemeanor of the first-degree conviction.

DUI with Serious Bodily Injury – An individual can be charged with this offense if they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs and their normal faculties are impaired or their BAC is .08% or higher while they are in actual physical control of a motor vehicle and they cause death or serious bodily injury to another person. This offense can result in a first, second or third-degree felony conviction.


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Penalties to DUI Offenses in Destin

DUI penalties in Florida can increase or decrease depending on whether an alleged offender has any previous DUI convictions, the time period between DUI offenses, whether property damage occurred, whether death or serious bodily injury occurred, and the DUI offender’s BAC at the time of the offense. The penalties for some of the most common driving under the influence offenses are as follows:

A first DUI conviction can result in any combination of the following penalties:

  • A fine ranging from $500 to $2,000;
  • At least 50 hours of community service;
  • Probation for up to one year;
  • Up to six months in jail;
  • A driver’s license suspension between 180 days and one year;
  • DUI Program; and/or
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device.

A second DUI conviction can result in any combination of the following penalties:

  • A fine ranging from $1,000 to $4,000;
  • Up to 12 months in jail with possible mandatory jail sentences;
  • Minimum five-year driver’s license suspension;
  • DUI Program; and/or
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device.

A third or subsequent DUI can lead to any combination of the following penalties:

  • A fine ranging from $2,000 to $5,000;
  • Up to 12 months in prison with possible mandatory prison sentences;
  • Minimum ten-year driver’s license suspension;
  • DUI Program; and/or
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device.

DUI causing serious bodily injury can lead to any combination of the following penalties:

  • A fine up to $5,000;
  • DUI program;
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device;
  • A minimum driver’s license revocation of three years; and/or
  • Prison sentence up to five years.

DUI causing death can lead to any combination of the following penalties:

  • A fine up to $10,000;
  • DUI program;
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device;
  • Permanent driver’s license revocation; and/or
  • Prison sentence up to 30 years.

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Defenses and Mitigating Factors to a South Walton DUI

In certain cases, your experienced Destin DUI attorney can identify mitigating factors or defenses that will be beneficial to your cases and can possibly result in a reduction or dismissal of the charges against you. Every situation is unique, so it is important to consult with a lawyer to determine if any defenses may be applicable in your situation. If any of the following occurred in your particular case, your attorney may be able to file a motion to exclude any of the following evidence:

  • Improper or illegal stop by law enforcement;
  • Inaccurate observations during field sobriety testing by law enforcement officials;
  • Law enforcement constitutional or procedural violations;
  • Statements made from police questioning after an attorney was requested; and/or
  • Incorrect results or testing methods of chemical blood, breath or urine tests.

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DUI Resources in Destin

Florida Statutes Online – This link is to section 316.193 of the Florida Statutes, which defines many driving under the influence offenses throughout Florida, and states the penalties for DUI offenses, such as first DUI, second DUI, third DUI, fourth or subsequent DUI, DUI with serious bodily injury and DUI with property damage.

Florida DUI Program Information – This link is to information on Florida’s mandatory DUI program. The program is sponsored by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and was created to provide education, psychosocial evaluation and treatment referrals to anyone convicted of driving under the influence. The Okaloosa County DUI program is located at:

Bridgeway Center, Inc.
137 Hospital Dr.
Ft. Walton Beach, Florida 32548

Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FDHSMV) – This Florida government department enforces and regulates many DUI laws in the state, and provides information on driving under the influence in Florida. This link is to the state’s criminal and administrative rules regarding Florida DUI.

Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) – This state governmental department aims to provide a safe and reliable transportation system throughout the state for the purpose of decreasing the rate, severity, frequency, and potential of DUI-related crashes and accidents.

Florida Highway Patrol – The FHP is a Florida law enforcement agency that maintains the safety of Florida citizens by upholding the state’s laws and promoting traffic safety awareness. This link provides information to vehicle and DUI crash reports and traffic safety materials.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving – MADD is a national nonprofit organization that aims to prevent accidents related to drinking and driving, drunk driving, and to assist individuals and their loved ones that have been harmed from alcohol-related accidents.


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Adkinson Law Firm, LLC | South Walton Driving Under the Influence Attorney

If you have been accused of driving under the influence offense throughout the Florida Panhandle, including the areas of Okaloosa County, Santa Rosa County, Bay County, Walton County, Holmes County, Washington County and Escambia County, contact Adkinson Law Firm, LLC today.

Clay Adkinson of Adkinson Law Firm, LLC is an aggressive criminal defense lawyer in Destin who will make every to fight the allegations against you and help you avoid the most serious penalties to your alleged offense. Contact Adkinson Law Firm, LLC today for a free consultation at or send an online message about your DUI charges today.