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The punishments for DUI in Florida are severe even for first-time offenders, but those who are involved in an accident could face even harsher penalties. Florida law provides enhanced punishment for DUI cases involving property damage and personal injury, and prosecutors will almost always seek additional sanctions when there is a crash. Judges may be sympathetic in a normal first or even second offense, but when an accident is involved, they tend to change their tune. This makes it all the more important to consult with an experienced lawyer before going to court. Benjamin Herbst is a South Florida DUI property damage lawyer who has successful defended hundreds of clients in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County. He is also an experienced Treasure Coast DUI lawyer for clients who are facing charges in Martin and St. Lucie County. Benjamin is available for a free consultation at (954) 543-0305, and has flexible office hours at his locations in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. He routinely travels to meet clients in a convenient location anywhere from Miami to Port St. Lucie, and is standing by to help.
A defendant may be charged with DUI property damage if he or she was operating a motor vehicle and by reason of such operation causes or contributes to the causing of damage to the property or person of another. DUI property damage is classified as a first-degree misdemeanor, which means a defendant may be saddled with a permanent criminal conviction if the case is not handled properly. Any person convicted will also face the mandatory DUI penalties of reporting probation, fines, costs, alcohol treatment, community service and potential jail time. In addition to all of these penalties the judge may order the defendant to install an interlock device on all cars he or she owns for a minimum of 6 months. Interlock devices are expensive to install and maintain, and can cause permanent damage to any vehicle’s electrical systems. Not to mention, interlock devices are a major embarrassment. A defendant found guilty of DUI property damage in Florida may also be required to pay a large amount of money to another driver or even the government for damage caused. This payment is called criminal restitution, and could be thousands of dollars if the defendant does not have someone arguing in his or her corner. Like most issues in the courthouse, criminal restitution is always negotiable. A lawyer can fight to reduce the amount of money a defendant is required to pay, and could end up saving thousands of dollars.
Benjamin specializes in DUI property damage cases in South Florida, and will thoroughly examine your case to determine whether there are defenses that may result in a dismissal or acquittal. He has won numerous DUI jury trials, and has also suppressed illegal stops and illegal breath tests. In cases where evidence of guilt is strong, he can still fight to prevent the judge from requiring interlock and convince the state to reduce the amount of restitution by as much as possible. Benjamin provides all clients with his cell phone number and is always available on nights and weekends to speak about the case. He believes that while achieving the best result is the most important duty of a criminal lawyer, it is also extremely important to keep clients informed along the way. Facing criminal charges in Florida can be stressful and Benjamin does whatever it takes to put his clients at ease.