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Pinellas County DUI Arrest

Pinellas County is located on the east coast of Florida and is a part of the Tampa-St.Petersbug-Clearwater metropolitan area. It’s current county seat, Clearwater, is fast growing with a 6 percent increase in population since the 2010 census. Pinellas County also boasts an array of tourism sites and industries such as the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, the nightlife in St. Petersburg or the various beaches scattered throughout the county.

The exciting atmosphere of Pinellas County also means there’s more drunk drivers on the road. Pinellas County law enforcement agencies are always thinking of new tactics to identify drivers who are under the influence. In addition, the penalties for DUI are incredibly harsh. You could be facing fines in the thousands as well as possible time in jail. 

If you were arrested for DUI in Pinellas County, it’s highly recommended you seek experienced legal counsel.

Defense Attorney for Pinellas County DUI Arrests in Florida

Having a criminal record can hinder your professional and personal aspirations. You could find yourself unable to obtain or retain a job because your criminal history is public. In some cases, you may even be denied housing because you have a criminal past. Avoid this entirely by hiring effective and efficient legal counsel with Morris Law Firm, P.A.. 

The attorneys at Morris Law Firm, P.A. practice criminal defense with a special focus on DUI law. Our attorneys have collectively over 20 years of experience that can be used for your defense. We can assess your case and design a defense plan to protect your future. Contact us today at (727) 388-4736 to set up a free consultation.

Morris Law Firm, P.A. accepts clients throughout the greater Pinellas County area including Oldsmar, St. Petersburg, Palm Harbor, Belleair, Clearwater, and Pinellas Park.

Overview of Pinellas County DUI Arrests in Florida  


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DUI Arrest Statistics for Pinellas County, Florida

Unfortunately, Pinellas County has one of the highest DUI arrest rate in the state. It currently sits at number two for most DUI arrests right behind Hillsborough County with over 3,000 reported arrests in 2017. These records can be found at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which is collected through the F.B.I managed program known as Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR). These reports collect arrest data annually from law enforcement agencies categorized by jurisdiction and type of offense since 1999. 

Listed below are some statistics for DUI-related arrests in Pinellas County, Florida.

Pinellas County:

  • There were 36,566 arrests were made in Pinellas County;
  • The arrest rate per 100,000 population in Pinellas County was 3,801.0; and
  • Out of those arrests, 2,425 of them were for DUI-related incidents 
  • The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department arrested 8,617 people; and
  • 414 of those arrests were for DUI-related crimes

Clearwater:

  • Clearwater arrested 5,975 people in the year of 2017;
  • The arrest rate per 100,000 population was 5,254; and
  • 294 of the arrests for DUI-related offenses 

St. Petersburg:

  • In St. Petersburg, there were 10,149 people arrested in 2017;
  • The arrest rate per 100,000 population was 3,847; and
  • Out of those arrests, 486 of them were for DUI-related offenses

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Penalties for DUI in Florida

The state of Florida has strict laws for driving under the influence. The penalties, admissible defenses and aggravating factors for the crime are outlined in Florida Statute § 316.193. The following are the possible penalties you may face if you’re convicted of DUI. 

  • Expensive Fines – A conviction will result in an automatic fine, which is determined by the court. The minimum fine for DUI is $500 and the maximum is up to $1,000. If you had an alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or higher, then the fine amount will be enhanced with a minimum of $1,000 and a maximum of $2,000.

  • Incarceration – You could be incarcerated for a period if you’re convicted of DUI. A first time DUI offender could face up to six months in jail. A second offense could result in up to nine months in jail. If this is your third offense within the last ten years, then you could possibly face up to five years in prison. Certain factors could enhance your incarceration sentence such as having a child passenger in the car.

  • License Suspension – Your license will be automatically suspended if you’re convicted of DUI. This suspension is different from your administrative one and can actually be added on top of your administrative suspension term. The minimum suspension term for a DUI is 180 days, but the maximum is up to one year.

  • DUI Courses – Depending on your sentencing, you could be court ordered to attend DUI classes. These classes teach substance and alcohol abuse, how it affects your driving, and ways to minimize alcohol or drug consumption. A first time DUI offender must complete up to 12 hours of school to reinstate their license.

  • Community Service – Some DUI offenders are court ordered to attend community service. If this happens, you will be required to complete up to 50 hours of service.

  • Ignition Interlock Device – If this is your second DUI or aggravated DUI, then you could be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID). Essentially, an IID is a breathalyzer attached to your car’s engine. Once installed, you will be obligated to provide a breath sample to start the car. If you blow at or over .08, then your car’s engine will be locked.

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Automatic License Suspension after DUI Arrest in Florida

If you were arrested for DUI, this doesn’t automatically mean you’re charged. The District Attorney may decide to drop the charges altogether if there’s insufficient evidence. However, your license could still be  if you failed or refused DUI chemical testing. These types of tests include breathalyzers, blood analysis and urinalysis. 

The reason why your license may be suspended is because of implied consent laws. These laws state you’re implicitly agreeing to chemical DUI testing if you use Florida roads. They also state refusing or failing a chemical test will result in an automatic administrative license suspension. An administrative suspension is not related to a criminal one and is enforced by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV).

The suspension periods depend on whether you failed or refused chemical testing. If you failed a DUI chemical test, then your license will automatically be suspended for up to 6 months. Second or subsequent failed tests will result in a license suspension for up to one year.

Refusals have a much longer suspension term. If you refuse a DUI chemical test, then your license will result in an administrative license suspension of up to one year. A second or subsequent refusal will lead to an enhanced suspension term of up to 18 months

You can choose to contest your suspension by filing a request for a formal review hearing. The hearing will be held at the DHSMV and there you can provide evidence as to why your suspension should be overturned. You must act quickly, however. You only have ten days to file a request for a formal review hearing after your arrest. Once the deadline has passed, the DHSMV will ban you from filing a request.


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DUI Resources for Pinellas County, Florida 

  • Pinellas County Sheriff’s DUI Unit – The majority of DUI arresta are mad by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. These are done through highway patrol or the specialized DUI unit created by Chief of Police Bob Gualitieri. The unit focuses on using science and other methods to identify drivers who are under the influence. You can locate their office at 14250 49th Street North #1000 in Clearwater, Florida.

  • Pinellas County Clerk – All documents and important information is handled at the Pinellas County Clerk of the Court. Here you can obtain the records you need as well as make any court payments. You can find the Clerk at 315 Court Street in Clearwater.

  • State Attorney for Pinellas County – The State Attorney is the chief prosecutor for its region. Currently, Bernie McCabe is the head attorney for the Sixth Judicial Unit which serves both Pinellas and Pasco Counties. Their offices can be located at 315 Court Street in Clearwater, Florida.

  • Pinellas County Bureau of Administrative Review – The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has a division that handles administrative suspensions known as the Bureau of Administrative Review. There, you can contest your suspension by providing evidence that proves it wasn’t just. You can find the Bureau of Administrative Review at 1663 Gulf to Bay Boulevard in Clearwater, Florida.

  • DUI School – In some cases, you may be court ordered to attend DUI classes at the Suncoast Safety Council. Access their site to learn how to register, what you’re required to bring and what each class teaches. The program has two locations currently. One is in Clearwater at 1145 Court Street and the other is in St. Petersburg at 455 31st Street North.

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Additional Resources

DUI Arrest Statistics in Florida – Visit the official website for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). Access their site to find statistics for arrest data in Florida. Download their Excel or PDF files of arrest statistics gathered between the years 1999 and 2017 categorized by jurisdiction, type of offense and race.

DUI Laws in Florida – Visit the official website for Online Sunshine, a collection of state laws and legislation. Access their site to learn the penalties, admissible defenses and aggravating factors for DUI. You can also click through the chapters to find other related traffic offenses.


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Pinellas County Lawyer for DUI Charges in Florida

If you or someone you know has been charged with DUI, then it’s imperative you contact an experienced attorney. The penalties associated with DUI are serious and could majorly impact your everyday life. Don’t wait another moment for quality legal representation and call the attorneys at Morris Law Firm, P.A.. 

Morris Law Firm, P.A. has been practicing criminal defense for years with a special focus in DUI law. Our team will utilize our extensive resources to create the defense you need. Start your plan of fense now by contacting us at (727) 388-4736 for a free consultation. Morris Law Firm, P.A. accepts clients throughout the greater Pinellas County area including Clearwater, Pinellas Park, St. Petersburg, Oldsmar, and Palm Harbor.


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This article was last updated on August 21, 2019.

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