The penalties for driving under the influence, or DUI, are severe in Florida. The state has little tolerance for drunk (or impaired) drivers, and a conviction may come with life-changing consequences.
DUI penalties can depend on the history of the person accused however, there are numerous statutorily minimum mandatory penalties that must be imposed in all DUI cases. First-time offenders often face less harsh consequences than those with repeat convictions. Still, a first-time DUI is a serious matter.
If convicted, you may face time behind bars and will lose your driving privileges. You will also face probation, community services, counseling evaluations and sessions, DUI school, fines, court costs, immobilization of your car, possible vehicle interlock device as well as many other penalties. Fortunately, there may be several effective defenses against your charges, many of which are not dependent upon guilt or innocence. This, of course, depends on the facts surrounding your case. The best source of information in this matter is an experienced DUI attorney.
A Fort Lauderdale DUI lawyer from Leader & Leader, P.A. can evaluate your case, structure your defense, negotiate with the prosecution and litigate your case if it goes to trial. To schedule a consultation, call us today at 954-523-2020.
In the meantime, read on to learn four possible defenses against Florida DUI charges:
- Violation of Rights
The police are responsible for making arrests in accordance with the U.S. Constitution, which protects the rights of American citizens as well as the Florida Constitution and laws. For example, if the police fail to inform you of your Miranda Rights prior to arresting you, they may not be able to use certain statements, depending on the scenario. Failure to follow policies, procedures, requirements of law and/or violations of your rights may result in the court dismissing your case entirely.
- Unlawful Stop
In order to stop your vehicle legally, officers must have reasonable suspicion that you are driving under the influence or committing a crime, probable cause of a traffic infraction or be able to articulate another concern to justify the stop. If there was no evidence of erratic driving or obvious drunken behavior, then it may be possible to use an unlawful stop in your defense.
Florida courts are reluctant to let drunk drivers off the hook, but if you had to operate the vehicle out of a necessity, then your case may be dismissed. In most of these cases, necessity involves situations that require getting someone to the hospital for emergency medical assistance. In all candor, true necessity defenses are few and far between but have been utilized successfully in certain situations.
- Improper Testing
In Florida, the act of driving a vehicle means that you consent to sobriety tests if officer is properly conducting a DUI investigation. You can revoke the implied consent and refuse to do exercises or testing of your breath, blood or urine but that refusal can also have consequences. If you have a prior refusal, a second one can be charged as a criminal offense separate and apart from the DUI. In some situations you may be better off complying and others, refusing may be the best option. Unfortunately, there is not blanket advise as this must be discussed on a case to case basis.
Additionally, you can defend against chemical test evidence. While improper training is one defense to use, others include malfunctioning equipment, improper calibration and even inflated results because of certain things that could have been inhaled or ingested.
While DUI charges are overwhelming and frightening, there may be a way to beat or mitigate the penalties. This may be able to save you from the far-reaching consequences of a DUI, such as compulsory interlock ignition devices, hefty fines, a suspended license, time behind bars and profound increases in the cost of insurance.
To start planning your defense, call Leader & Leader, P.A. at 954-523-2020 to discuss your case with a Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney.