Attorney Marc Pelletier News Interview BayNews 9

The costly consequences of driving under the influence
By Erica Riggins, Anchor/Reporter

Many people in the Bay area woke up in jail this New Year’s day after partying too hard Sunday night and then getting behind the wheel.

Bay News 9 turned to the Law Offices of Russo and Russo for information about Florida's DUI laws

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office ran a New Year’s Eve DUI wolf pack from 8 p.m. Sunday to 4 a.m. Monday and people arrested during the operation will pay a steep price for several months or even years.

Everyone who was arrested for DUI spent at least the night in jail, and that’s just the beginning of the ordeal.

“On average, most people can plan to spend about $5,000 if they’re charged with a DUI as a first offense, and that’s just a regular DUI,” said Marc Pelletier of the law firm of Russo & Russo in St. Petersburg. “They’re looking at increased insurance for a good long time, probably five years or more.”

The $5,000 breaks down into attorney’s fees, court costs, fines and the required DUI school, a 12-hour course.

“If they submit to a breath test and they blow a .08, which is the legal limit in Florida, or higher, their driver’s license is automatically suspended right then and there for a period of six months,” Pelletier said. “On the other hand, if the person refuses to blow into the breath test machine, their driver’s license is suspended for a year.”

Pelletier says many people are surprised to learn about the automatic license suspension, because no matter what happens in the court case against the drinking driver, their driving privileges are taken away.

Although jail time is not mandatory on a first-time DUI, offenders could spend up to six months in the county jail.

Tips from DUI attorney Marc Pelletier

  1. Have a designated driver, someone who’s not going to drink at all that evening, or someone who’s going to drink in strict moderation. Rely on that person for your transportation.
  2. Rely on a taxi and leave your car at the party or bar. It’s not as inconvenient as having to undergo multiple court appearances and cheaper than the expenses of the court system.
  3. Drink in moderation and pace your drinking. Generally speaking, most people can drink one drink an hour and not feel any adverse effects from the alcohol.

You need the advice of a qualified St. Petersburg / Clearwater criminal defense attorney.

Call our office for a free consultation at (727) 578-0303.