A 54-year-old man was arrested on a Florida bridge and charged with felony DUI. This may not sound very surprising, until you learn that he was in a motorized wheelchair.
Reports indicate that the 54-year-old man was blocking multiple lanes of travel on a bridge and that the odor of alcohol was extremely strong, according to NBC News. The 54-year-old Floridian refused to take a field sobriety test. Florida law requires you to take a sobriety test if you are arrested for a DUI. Florida has an implied consent law (statute 316.1932) establishing that if you are lawfully arrested by a Florida police officer who has probable cause to believe you have been operating a motorized vehicle under the influence of alcohol, then you impliedly consent to taking a sobriety test in order to determine whether you are intoxicated.
If you refuse to take a sobriety test, you will lose your license for one year for the first refusal. If you refuse for a second time, your driver’s license will be suspended for 18 months and you will face other penalties including a potential jail sentence. The man’s refusal to take a sobriety test likely contributed to the DUI charges escalating to the felony.
If the sobriety test refusal was not bad enough, the 54-year-old man also has an extensive DUI record. He was convicted of DUI in 1998 and 2013.
Ramifications of a Felony DUI
Though it may be somewhat comical to envision a man being charged with a DUI while in his wheelchair, the ramifications of a felony DUI conviction are quite serious. Under Florida law, a felony DUI conviction is typically reserved for repeat offenders (see above). A person may face felony DUI charges they are convicted of a third DUI within 10 years (the 54-year-old man qualified). A felony DUI is categorized as a third-degree felony carrying a punishment of up to 5 years in prison and a monetary fine totaling $5,000.
Ramifications of a Felony Conviction
Along with a potentially lengthy prison sentence and a large fine, there are numerous other penalties associated with a felony conviction. For example, a felony conviction can result in the following:
- Loss of your ability to vote in elections
- Inability to apply for certain jobs
- Inability to rent an apartment or qualify for a home loan
- Loss of the right to serve on a grand jury
- Inability to enlist in the military
- Loss of certain federal licenses
- Loss of your driver’s license
Speak to an Experienced DUI Defense Lawyer Today
As you can see, a felony conviction, including a felony DUI conviction, can have life-altering consequences. You could be looking at a loss of your liberty through a lengthy prison sentence, a huge hit financially, along with a host of other penalties. Do not take this lying down. Stand up and fight for your rights. Contact the Skier Law Firm, P.A. in Florida to discuss what happened and what defenses may be available to you.