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Florida Drugged Driving Penalties

Driving under the influence of drugs is a serious offense, and a conviction can hurt more than your license. It can hurt your future. 

But what exactly are the serious repercussions for a drugged driving conviction? If you’re not sure what penalties you may be facing, review the details below, then speak with a Florida DUI lawyer at Hersem Law so you know what to expect and how we could help you avoid conviction. 

Penalties for Your License 

For a first-time offense, your license may be suspended for six months to a year. That’s in addition to the one-year administrative suspension if you refused to provide a breath, urine, or blood sample on the night in question. If you’re a working adult, that’s a significant amount of time to take a rideshare or public transportation. Worse, if you drive for a living, which may be the case for taxi and delivery drivers, truckers, and rideshare drivers, among others, you may have to seek other forms of transportation and even employment. 

If you have previous convictions, your license may even be revoked. That means you won’t just pay a fine to get it back. You’ll need to retake your driving test and pay your fines to get your license reinstated. 

Even if your case is reduced to a reckless driving charge, you will face penalties like points on your license if you’re convicted. 

Criminal Penalties 

Drugged driving will net you more than a traffic ticket. A DUI is also a misdemeanor, which means you may be facing criminal charges on your own if you don’t seek out a lawyer from Hersem Law. 

Even if this is your first offense, you may face a maximum of six months in jail for impaired driving. That’s a long time to be away from your family, your pets, and your home. 

You may also face financial penalties, which may include fines ranging from $500 (misdemeanor) to $5,000 (felony). There will be additional court costs and other outside expenses on top of the fines, so the financial penalties can total close to $10,000 even for a first DUI. 

Finally, you may also be expected to complete DUI school and community service hours before your sentence is complete. 

Impacts on Your Criminal Record 

It’s not just your license that will suffer—it’s your criminal record. Even if you pay your fees, serve any jail time, and get your license back, a criminal conviction will remain on your record for the rest of your life. That record is also public for those performing a background check. 

Let’s say you’re seeking a new job in the future. Your potential employer can see the drugged driving conviction on your record, and they may avoid hiring you. This issue can happen for those seeking housing, a loan, and other important services. 

That’s why it’s important to avoid the charges now rather than deal with their fallout later. If you don’t defend your case now, you can have trouble overcoming the penalties for drugged driving. 

Get a Strong Defense with a Drugged Driving Lawyer 

The penalties for driving while intoxicated can leave you struggling to get your life back on track. But what can you do to prevent these penalties? 

The lawyers at Hersem Law can help you act now to protect your future. If you’ve been accused of drugged driving, your lawyer can review the facts and build a defense to potentially get your charges reduced or even dropped. When you’re ready to learn more, reach out by calling 813-251-7291 or by filling out the following online contact form. 

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Penalties for Possession of a Controlled Substance in Florida

When you’re accused of possession of a controlled substance, the charges you’re facing may be steep penalties for the charges. These penalties can impact your life for months or even years, making your recovery after a conviction more difficult. 

The easiest way to avoid these penalties is to avoid a conviction. A Tampa drug lawyer from Hersem Law can help. But what happens if you don’t fight the charges? Here’s what you can expect. 

Prison Time 

When you’re convicted of possessing controlled substances, one of the first penalties you may face is prison time. Possession of a controlled substance can be up to a third-degree felony. That can lead to up to five years in prison. 

That’s a long time to be away from your family and out of the workforce. Because of this, you may find it even more difficult to return to life outside of prison after your sentence is over. 


You may have the option to pursue probation, but that doesn’t mean you’re free from any penalties. Probation means that you may serve your sentence outside of prison, but you’ll also face restrictions. For example, you may be barred from going near places where you may have purchased drugs or owning a firearm. You may also be expected to attend meetings with your probation officer. 

If you fail to do any of these things, you may lose your probation privileges. That means you’ll have to serve the remainder of your sentence in prison. 

Financial Penalties 

The financial costs of a criminal conviction can be steep, too. For possession of a controlled substance, you may be expected to pay up to $5,000 in fines

That may wipe out your savings, or it may leave you in debt for some time. You may be unable to work for years because of your prison sentence, leaving you unable to make the money to pay off these fines. That can put your family under unneeded financial strain during this already-difficult time. 

Long-Term Impacts of a Criminal Conviction

But even if you pay these fines, serve out your sentence, and do everything right, you may still have trouble recovering from a conviction. If you’re convicted of a felony, those charges can stay on your record for the rest of your life. 

Your criminal record can be seen by anyone performing a background check. That means potential employers may see your conviction and refuse to hire you. Landlords may refuse you housing. Lenders like banks may refuse that refinancing your family needs to keep the house. 

That can have a devastating financial and social impact on your life. With a criminal record, especially one with a felony, you may have a difficult time overcoming your history and getting your life back on track. 

Connect with a Defense Attorney in Florida 

When you’re accused of a crime, you need to focus on your defense, rather than accepting the penalties you may face.

Let your lawyer at Hersem Law help you defend your case and work to overcome the penalties you may face. We offer free strategy sessions so you know what we can do for you before your case goes to court. To get started with your free session, call 813-251-7291 or complete the following online contact form. 

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Can a Lawyer Get a Bench Warrant Lifted?

When you’re accused of a crime, from a traffic ticket to felony charges, you may have felt relieved to pay your bail bond and go home. That happiness may have been short-lived. You were issued a bench warrant, and now you face another embarrassing, scary arrest. 

Continue reading to learn what is a bench warrant is, how do you get rid of it, and when it’s time to call a criminal defense lawyer for help. 

Why Have I Been Served a Bench Warrant? 

When you’ve committed a crime, you’ll typically see a warrant out for your arrest. The police issue these when someone is suspected of or witnessed committing a crime. Bench warrants serve the same purpose, but are issued differently. 

When you’re arrested and booked, you may be released on bail until the date of your trial. If you don’t show up for your court date, the judge may issue an arrest warrant from the bench, or bench warrant. When a judge issues this warrant, you may be arrested and taken to jail again. This time, you may not be released until your trial begins. 

Penalties for Failure to Appear in Court 

When you fail to appear in court, the penalties can be harsh. Being returned to jail to await your trial is stressful, to say the least. You may have limited time and energy to focus on your case and on building your defense. Worse, your trial may be weeks or months away. 

You may also face more penalties for criminal offenses. Failure to appear is indirectly contempt of the court, which comes with a fine of up to $100. While that may sound like a light penalty, you’re already facing harsh penalties. Adding to those penalties can make it difficult to recover. 

Pursuing a Dismissal of a Bench Warrant

When you’re facing a bench warrant, your focus may be on proving your failure to appear shouldn’t be punished. In these cases, your lawyer can review why you failed to appear and help you prove you had a valid reason. 

A valid reason to miss court is typically an emergency. Maybe you were ill and in the hospital, or maybe your child needed emergency care. If a genuine emergency arose, you may have grounds to get this bench warrant lifted. 

If you had a valid reason to miss your court date, speak with your defense lawyer about the reason you missed your court date. They can compile evidence and speak on your behalf about your emergency situation. That can help you avoid penalties for a situation you couldn’t avoid. 

Let a Tampa Defense Lawyer Help

If you’ve been accused of failing to appear in court, you may have grounds to defend your case. Accidents happen, and your lawyer can help you avoid major consequences for a mistake like this. 

When you’re ready to defend your case after a bench warrant is issued, reach out for your free strategy session. We at Hersem Law are ready to take your case when you call 813-251-7291 or when you fill out the online contact form below. 

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Can I Receive a Criminal Charge for Speeding?

When you’re pulled over for speeding, what you may expect is a lecture from the police officer about road safety and a speeding ticket. What you may get is a ride to the police station. You may have been arrested for criminal charges—but how does this happen if you were only speeding? 

A criminal charge for speeding may sound unfair, but it happens. An experienced Tampa traffic ticket lawyer can help you deal with the fallout and fight to get your charges reduced or dismissed. 

Speeding vs. Reckless Driving 

Being charged with speeding is a traffic violation that results in a fine and points on your license if you plead guilty. So how could you have criminal charges to deal with, now? In these cases, you may have been charged with reckless driving, a criminal offense. Police officers may justify this based on what they claim you were doing besides speeding. 

Here are a few violations police officers may use to justify charging you with a criminal offense: 

  • Switching lanes quickly or without signaling 
  • Tailgating 
  • Driving distracted
  • Failure to stop signs
  • Failure to traffic lights 

Penalties for Reckless Driving Charges 

When you’re charged with a speeding ticket, you may have a hefty fine, but that may not seem so bad. Reckless driving charges, however, may impact your life in serious ways. 

First, you may face jail time, which you wouldn’t have faced with a speeding ticket. Already, the penalties are more dire—a few months in jail can impact your housing, your family, and your career. The financial penalties can also be difficult to pay, especially if you lost your job while serving jail time.

But your criminal record may be the harshest penalty to face. Even if you’ve finished your prison sentence and paid your dues, your record won’t be cleared. That can impact your future employment and housing opportunities, leading to denials and headaches which will haunt your and your family’s future.

Defenses for Traffic-Related Criminal Charges 

Choosing the right defense for reckless driving can be difficult. For example, you may have evidence that proves you weren’t speeding based on the posted speed limit, but what about the other signs of reckless driving the police officer has accused you of? 

Another defense for your reckless driving case is your reckless driving may not have been willful. For example, you may have been in a life-threatening situation or trying to avoid injury, which required you to disobey the rules of the road. That can help you reduce or dismiss the charges against you. 

But the right defense for your case will depend on you and the details of your case. Your lawyer can review the details of your traffic stop and what your next steps may be. 

Speak with a Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Criminal Charge 

A criminal charge on your record can impact your future and your driving record, which makes it difficult to recover from the harsh penalties the judge may set for you. 

That’s where we at Hersem Law can help. We understand how even a simple traffic ticket can get out of control fast. We want to help you get answers and get your life back. For a free strategy session, call 813-251-7291 or fill out the following online contact form. 

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Penalties for an Underage DUI in Florida

Drinking before you’re legally old enough is common for many college students and other young people. Maybe you only had one drink, or maybe you were just leaving a party after a night of fun with your friends. Now, you’ve been pulled over, and one fun night may have just turned into a months-long nightmare.

When you’re accused of an underage DUI in Florida, know what to expect from your case before you get started. Knowing the penalties for an underage DUI can help you prepare for your case and work to avoid these harsh penalties.

Distinct Penalties for Underage Drivers

When you’re pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, your age won’t protect you from the typical penalties of a DUI conviction. If you don’t defend your case, you’ll be facing the same penalties a driver over twenty-one would face.

But Florida police officers have an additional option to penalize underage drivers called “Florida’s Zero-Tolerance Law.” This may come into play if the police officer has reason to suspect that you were drinking but doesn’t know for sure if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is over the normal legal limit.

Fines and Economic Penalties

One of the many long-term impacts of any DUI conviction is the financial burden of being convicted. If you’re convicted of drinking and driving, whether you’re underage or not, you may be paying thousands of dollars for fines.

As a younger driver, that can be especially difficult because many younger people don’t have full-time jobs or have low-paying jobs. That puts the financial strain on your family and you for some time after you’re pulled over. That can impact your ability to attend school and meet other major financial obligations.

License Suspension

If you’re charged with a DUI while under twenty-one, you can expect to lose your driving privileges for some time. Similarly, even a first-time violation of Florida’s Zero-Tolerance Law may cause you to lose your license for six months if your BAC is over 0.02 percent. If your BAC is over 0.05, you may have to complete courses to be eligible to get your license back.

If you refuse a sobriety test, you can still lose your license, even if you were sober. If you refuse to accept a breath, blood, or urine test, your license may be suspended for one year for a first-time offense.

Ignition Interlock Device

Some DUI convictions may require you to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on your vehicle prior to getting your license back. For example, if you are convicted of a first-time DUI and your BAC was over 0.15, then you will be required to have an IID for a period of at least six months. If you are convicted of a second DUI, you will be required to have an IID for a period of at least one year.

These devices prevent you from starting your vehicle until you pass a sobriety test. This device is meant to prevent drinking and driving, but it can be embarrassing and difficult to deal with, especially if you have passengers or if you’re running late. On top of the embarrassment, these devices are expensive, and drivers should expect to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars over the course of the requirement.

Defend Your License with an Underage DUI Lawyer from Hersem Law

The penalties for a DUI conviction or a violation of Florida’s Zero-Tolerance Law can make your life more difficult, which makes it challenging to return to your normal life. But you don’t have to accept the penalties and move on.

You can instead turn to the aid of Hersem Law. When you take advantage of one of our free strategy sessions, we can help you identify the best ways for you to avoid harsh penalties for an underage DUI. When you’re ready to speak with a lawyer, call 813-251-7291 or fill out the following online contact form.