Charged with a DUI in Palm Beach? Here's What You Need to Know Now

You already know – without ever talking to a Palm Beach DUI defense lawyer – that a drunk driving conviction could impact your freedom, finances, and future. However, an arrest is not a conviction. 

If you’ve been arrested for drunk driving in Palm Beach County, Florida, an experienced drunk driving defense attorney can help you take the necessary steps. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explain the essential actions to take following a DUI arrest and the importance of hiring a DUI defense attorney to protect your rights.

Florida DUI Laws and Penalties

Before we describe the specific steps to take after a DUI arrest, it's crucial to understand Florida drunk driving laws and the potential penalties you may face. 

The Legal Limit

Generally, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle in Florida with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher. That limit is even lower for some drivers. For commercial drivers, the legal limit is 0.04% BAC, and for drivers under the age of 21, it is 0.02% BAC. Additionally, it is illegal for any driver to operate a motor vehicle if they are impaired by over-the-counter, prescription, or illegal drugs.

DUI Penalties

The penalties for a DUI conviction in Florida can be significant, and they escalate with each subsequent offense. 

For a first-time DUI offense, you may face the following consequences:

  • Fines of $500 - $1,000
  • Jail for up to six months
  • Probation for up to one year
  • Mandatory DUI education and substance abuse evaluation
  • Driver’s license suspension

Some Florida counties, including Palm Beach County, offer a pretrial diversion program for some first-time DUI offenders. The Palm Beach County 1st Time DUI Offender Program offers a chance to avoid a DUI conviction on your criminal history record. If you agree to plead guilty to reckless driving, your drunk driving charge will be dropped. You will receive a Withhold of Adjudication and be placed on probation for 12 months. If you successfully complete the program, you will have no points on your license. However, failure to complete the program may result in a ninety-day jail sentence in Palm Beach County Jail. 

The penalties for second and subsequent DUI offenses become even harsher, with increased fines, longer jail sentences, and extended license suspensions. For example, your second DUI conviction may include up to nine months in jail, fines of up to $2,000, a license suspension of up to five years, and other consequences. If you reach your fourth DUI conviction, you may face up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, a driver’s license revocation, and a felony record.

Four Steps to Take After a DUI Arrest in Palm Beach

An arrest may be overwhelming, but you can begin protecting your rights immediately. It’s essential to:

  1. Remain silent and cooperate with the police. During the arrest process, it's crucial to remain calm and comply with the officer's instructions. However, exercising your right to remain silent and avoid making self-incriminating statements is also essential. Anything you say can potentially be used against you in court, so it's best to refrain from discussing the details of your case until your lawyer is present.
  2. Document everything. After your release, start documenting every detail you can remember about the arrest as soon as possible. This includes the time of the stop, the officer's behavior, any field sobriety tests conducted, and the circumstances surrounding the arrest. Keep a journal or create a folder to store this information, as it can be invaluable for your Palm Beach DUI defense lawyer in building a solid defense strategy.
  3. Avoid social media. It is tempting to share our experiences on social media platforms. However, it is essential to be careful about what you post online when facing a DUI charge. Anything you post can potentially be used against you in court. Prosecutors and law enforcement officials often scrutinize the social media profiles of those involved in legal proceedings, so it's best to adjust your privacy settings, limit your digital footprint, and refrain from discussing any aspect of your case online.
  4. Contact an experienced Palm Beach DUI defense lawyer at The Law Offices of Robert David Malove. Perhaps the most crucial step after a DUI arrest is to contact an experienced Palm Beach DUI defense attorney as soon as possible for guidance and legal representation.  

Do You Really Need a DUI Defense Lawyer?

Even if you are sure that your arrest was a mistake, it is essential to contact an experienced DUI defense lawyer who:

  • Understands drunk driving law. DUI laws in Florida are complicated and constantly evolving. An experienced attorney will have an in-depth understanding of these laws and how they apply to your specific case, enabling them to develop an effective defense strategy.
  • Will evaluate your case. Every DUI case is unique. An experienced attorney will thoroughly evaluate the specifics of your case, identifying opportunities for dismissal or reduced charges.
  • Negotiate plea deals. Sometimes, accepting a plea deal may be the most favorable outcome. An attorney with extensive experience in Palm Beach County will understand what plea bargains might be possible and can negotiate on your behalf.
  • Represent you in court. Your DUI defense lawyer can represent your interests, argue on your behalf, and work to achieve the best possible outcome for your situation at court hearings and during trial.

Our DUI lawyers will also work tirelessly to help you get any other support you need.

How to Choose a Palm Beach County DUI Defense Lawyer

When searching for a Palm Beach DUI defense lawyer, it's essential to find an attorney with a proven track record of success in handling similar cases. Look for someone who specializes in DUI defense and has extensive experience in Palm Beach County courts.

Attorney Robert Malove is a founding member of the National College for DUI Defense. He has handled hundreds of DUI cases. While few Florida lawyers can claim to be experts, Robert Malove is Florida Bar Board Certified as an “expert/specialist” in Criminal Trial Law and concentrates on all facets of criminal defense, including DUI defense. 

Here are some factors to consider when evaluating potential DUI defense lawyers:

  • Experience and compassion. Look for an attorney with years of experience handling DUI cases in Palm Beach County. At the Law Offices of Robert David Malove, we consider what is best for each client. One of our clients said this about working with DUI Defense lawyer Robert Malove, “When my son was arrested for DUI in Palm Beach County Florida I was referred to Robert Malove by a prominent Pennsylvania attorney. I cannot recommend his services high enough. He is tenacious in his defense and yet he gently explains the process in an effort to calm your emotions as you proceed through the judicial process. Mr. Malove went above and beyond what one would expect from a criminal attorney. He recognized my son needed life coaching and stepped in with critical support at a time we needed him the most.” You can read our other DUI client testimonials here.
  • Track record. Review the attorney's case results to learn more about how they helped clients facing similar charges. A reputable lawyer will be transparent about their track record and provide examples of favorable outcomes in DUI cases.
  • Communication and availability. Throughout the legal process, you'll want an attorney who is responsive, communicative, and available to address your concerns and keep you informed about the progress of your case. That often starts with answering your DUI defense questions.
  • Approach and strategy. A good DUI defense lawyer will take the time to understand the unique details of your situation and tailor their strategy accordingly.

At the Law Offices of Robert David Malove, we want to help protect your freedom and get your life back on track. Robert Malove has been representing people charged with DUI since the mid-1980s and is here to help you if you or your child face drunk driving charges in Palm Beach County.