FAQ for Your Criminal Defense and DUI Attorney in Clearwater,
Tampa, & St. Petersburg
Through his more than 30 years of experience as a Florida prosecutor, Criminal Defense Attorney, and DUI Attorney in the Tampa Bay area, Charles Holloway, P.A., has answered many thousands of questions for his clients. You will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions below. If you have further questions for us, please call (727) 446-8303 to schedule a free initial consultation with Tampa Bay DUI and Criminal Defense Attorney Charles Holloway, P.A., at our Clearwater office.
(1.) What obligations will I have as the DUI proceeds through the Court System?
With the exception of the Formal Review Hearing, your case will proceed through the Criminal Justice System in the same manner as other criminal cases. These general
Court Hearings include: the Arraignment, the Pretrial, and if need be, a Trial. A more thorough discussion of these stages and the various procedures involved may be found by reference to the topic of Court Procedures located elsewhere on this website. <back to top>
(2.) What is a Formal Review Hearing?
If you are arrested for DUI and the chemical test result is .08% or greater, or if you refused to take the test, your license will be suspended for a period of time by the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles. You are entitled to challenge this suspension by means of the Formal Review Hearing. However, this Hearing must be requested in writing and delivered to the DMV Office, no later than 10 days from the date of arrest. Your DUI Attorney can handle the details involved with scheduling, and be able to conduct this hearing, without the need for you to attend.
This Hearing can be a valuable tool in the investigation and the defense of your case. First, it allows your DUI Attorney to challenge the suspension of your license and, if successful, obtain the reinstatement of your license. Secondly, it permits your Attorney to interrogate Law Enforcement Witnesses in order to gain detailed knowledge concerning theirobservations, actions, and opinions. <back to top>
(3.) For what period of time can my license be suspended for DUI?
Your license can be suspended by both the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles and the Criminal Justice System. The suspension of your license by the DMV may occur immediately after your arrest and continue while your case is pending in criminal court. The precise period of license suspension by the DMV or the court system is governed by a
number of factors. You should refer to the topic of DUI penalties located elsewhere on this website, and consult with a DUI Attorney. <back to top>
(4.) Can I obtain a temporary permit to drive while my license is suspended?
When you are arrested for DUI, you may be permitted to drive for the first 10 days. If your chemical test result was .08 or higher, you will then enter a period of “hard suspension” and will not be permitted to drive for any purpose for the next 30 days. If you refused to take a chemical test, your license will instead be subject to a 90 day “hard suspension.” These periods of hard suspension may vary in length and may be followed by a period of general suspension imposed by the Florida DMV and/or the Court.
Other than these periods of hard suspension, you may be eligible to obtain a business purpose or hardship license in order to drive while your license is subject to a general suspension. The issues regarding license suspension and eligibility for temporary permits can be confusing and should be discussed with a DUI Attorney. <back to top>
(5.) Will my vehicle be impounded and what are the procedures involved?
If you are convicted of DUI, your car may be subject to impoundment. The length of time begins at 10 days for a first DUI conviction and increases in duration with subsequent offenses. You may be able to keep your car on your own property during the period of impoundment; however, no one may drive the car. There are some exceptions to impoundment, provided the driver or the family of that driver qualifies. You should consult with a DUI Attorney to determine whether you are exempt from impoundment. <back to top>
(6.) What punishment can I expect if I am convicted of DUI in Pinellas, Hillsborough, or Pasco County?
A Pasco, Hillsborough, or Pinellas DUI sentence can include: An adjudication of guilt, incarceration, a fine, a period of probation, a period of license suspension, the performance of community service, the impoundment of your automobile, completion of DUI Driving School, substance abuse evaluation, and substance abuse counseling. Because the punishments may vary according to the evidence in your particular case and the number of prior DUI convictions, you should refer to the topic of DUI punishment located elsewhere on this website, and consult with a DUI Attorney. <back to top>
(7.) Will a DUI conviction in Pinellas, Hillsborough, or Pasco become a part of my permanent driving record?
Unfortunately a conviction for DUI in Florida automatically results in an adjudication of guilt. This means that it will become a permanent feature of your driving record and will likely affect your automobile insurance. However, in some cases the prosecutor may be persuaded to reduce the charge of DUI to a less serious offense. In that event, it may be possible to avoid an adjudication of guilt and the application of points against your driving record. <back to top>
(8.) What is the difference between a Misdemeanor and a Felony?
A Misdemeanor charge is generally considered to be less serious than a Felony; however, convictions for crimes involving theft, DUI, or sexual behavior can have long-lasting ramifications that may affect both your record and employment.
Misdemeanor cases are handled in the County Court System (be it Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, or other Florida counties) and punishment may include an adjudication of guilt, a fine, incarceration in the county jail, and supervised probation.
A Felony charge is considered more serious than a Misdemeanor and is ranked in increasing range of severity from Third to First Degree. Felony crimes are handled in Circuit Criminal Court and punishment can include an adjudication of guilt, significant terms of supervised probation or house arrest, lengthy terms of incarceration in Florida State Prison, and significant fines. <back to top>
(9.) Can I settle my case without a Court Appearance?
Florida law prohibits the settlement of a Felony charge unless the client is present in Court. However, Misdemeanor charges may be settled without requiring your personal appearance. This is referred to as a “Plea in Absentia” a nd requires the approval of the Court. <back to top>
(10.) What is a Diversion Program and is it the best solution?
A Diversion Program, such as Pretrial Intervention (PTI), permits you to resolve your case with a form of probation. Once you have successfully completed the program, the court
will officially dismiss your charges. Acceptance into a Diversion Program is generally within the discretion of the Prosecutor. Diversion Programs are limited to specific types of crimes
and are considered on a case-by-case basis. It is important that you consult with a Criminal Defense Attorney in order to determine whether you are eligible for such a Program and
that whether it represents the best solution for your case. <back to top>
(11.) What can be done about a Violation of Probation?
A Violation of Probation is generally initiated by your probation officer and may result in a warrant for your arrest. The warrant may block your ability to post bond. It is therefore important to consult with a Criminal Defense Attorney as soon as you learn that a warrant has been issued for your arrest. An Attorney may be able to arrange for your surrender and obtain your release on your own recognizance (ROR) or a low bond.
Violations may occur as a result of a new crime or for “technical” reasons (e.g. failure to report, failure to pay restitution, change of employment or residence without permission). In general, you face a more severe punishment upon conviction and may receive house arrest or incarceration in place of your original probation. It is important that you consult with a Criminal Defense Attorney in order to evaluate both the potential risk and determine a strategy for the successful resolution of the problem. <back to top>
(12.) Can my records be sealed or expunged?
It may be possible to seal or expunge your prior criminal record. However, there are some fundamental rules which govern the approval process. If you have ever been adjudicated guilty of any criminal offense, regardless of time or jurisdiction, you are not permitted to seal or expunge any record. In addition, there are certain prohibitions and distinctions between sealing and expungement which may limit or entirely prohibit these remedies. The law concerning sealing and expungement is contained in Chapter 943 of the Florida Statutes. The law can be somewhat confusing, and consultation with a Criminal Defense Attorney is recommended to determine your rights. <back to top>
(13.) What fees and expenses can I expect to pay for legal representation?
Legal fees are determined by a number of factors, including: whether the charge is a Misdemeanor or a Felony, the degree or severity of the charge, the number of crimes
charged, the complexity of the case, and the client’s desires and expectations. Generally, the legal fees charged for representation of a Misdemeanor are less than those charged for representation of a Felony; a simple case less than that of a complex one; single charges less than that of multiple charges.
Generally, at the office of Charles Holloway, P.A., we divide the legal fees we charge into Pretrial and Trial fees. In other words, we will typically charge a fee for all representation up to the point of Trial, and an additional fee if the client desires to proceed with a Trial.
Our office accepts major credit cards and payment plans are available in order to provide payment flexibility for the client. <back to top>
(14.) What are the office hours and locations at which the DUI Lawyer and Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer can be consulted?
Our office hours are from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Our main office is in Clearwater, Florida. After hours and weekend appointments may be available, if scheduled in advance. <back to top>
Phone: (727) 446-8303