Whittel & Melton, LLC

Golf Cart DUI

DUI charges are often overwhelming due to the legal complexities associated with the offense. A person can face DUI charges when they are suspected of driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The term “vehicle” is a broad term which can include bicycles, boats, motorcycles, motorized skate boards, scooters, tractors, lawnmowers and even golf carts.

For many Florida residents, especially in The Villages, golf carts are an increasingly popular mode of transportation. In recent years golf carts were predominately found on the golf course, but today golf carts are seen traveling on the roads, campuses, residential communities, airports, shopping malls and of course, sporting arenas. Most people do not associate golf carts with motor vehicle laws, and believe that operating a golf cart under the influence of certain substances is legal. However, if you are suspected of driving a golf cart while under the influence of drugs or alcohol to the point that your normal faculties are compromised, you can be arrested for a Florida DUI.

The central issue surrounding any DUI charge is whether the person was actually intoxicated. Prosecutors in the state of Florida must show that the driver was over the legal limit of alcohol consumption (.08) or could not maintain their normal faculties behind the wheel due to being under the influence of illegal drugs, alcoholic beverages, medication or any combination of the three.

The State has a variety of ways to prove their case against someone accused of DUI including conducting breath, blood or urine tests. Even if these tests are refused by the accused, the State can still uphold a DUI charge based upon the actions of the driver. Generally in cases without a breath, blood or urine test result, intoxication is determined by any combination of drugs (over-the counter, prescription or illegal) and/or alcohol that causes the driver a diminished used of their physical and mental abilities. In most circumstances, there is a police video documenting the detention and arrest of a person for DUI that may show the person driving, their performance on field sobriety tests and ultimately their arrest.

It is important to hire an attorney right away when charged with a Florida DUI because you only have 10 days from the time of your arrest to request a hearing regarding the suspension of your driver’s license. In general, your license will be confiscated by law enforcement or administratively suspended 10 days from your arrest for at least six months. Requesting this hearing in a timely fashion can help to protect your ability to drive in Florida.

The possible sanctions for a first time DUI can include jail time of up to 9 months in county jail depending on the circumstances, fines ranging from $250 to $1,000, an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle for up to 9 months at your expense, 50 hours of community service, probation, DUI school, proof of liability insurance and possible vehicle impoundment for a minimum of 10 days. If you have been charged with a DUI involving a golf cart or any other type of vehicle in The Villages or surrounding areas of Lake, Sumter or Marion County, contact the Law Offices of Whittel & Melton online or call 352-369-5334 to schedule your free initial consultation to discuss basic strategies for handling your case and any possible defenses.