DUI in Florida
Being arrested for Driving Under the Influence can be a significantly uncomfortable and embarrassing experience. Most people know that the legal limit is 0.08 BAC (blood alcohol content), and once that is reached you can no longer legally operate a vehicle. But the average person does not carry around a breathalyzer to test their BAC and must rely on their own judgment.
Like you, the police are also relying on their own judgment when they become suspicious that someone is Driving Under the Influence. This suspicion will then turn into one of the most confusing criminal investigations out there – it will include performing at least three different “exercises” that the average person has never done and has no skill in doing. These “exercises” are not designed for you to prove that you are safe to drive, they are designed for the police to identify evidence to incriminate you. Fortunately, the experienced attorneys at Arias & Abbass, PLLC, know all the ways to attack this so-called evidence – from the time the officer stopped you to the time you were booked into the county jail. Each step of the investigation needs to be examined. If there was any improper procedure, we might be able to get evidence kept out of court which means you could have a reduced sentence including a pretrial diversion program, a reduced charge to a lesser offense like reckless driving, or even a dismissal.
Under Florida statute §316.193 Driving Under Influence (DUI) is defined as being in actual physical control of a vehicle, while a person is impaired beyond their normal faculties, or while he or she has an unlawful blood alcohol level.
In Florida the prosecutor must prove the following elements to establish that a person was driving under the influence:
- The defendant drove or was in actual physical control of a vehicle, and
- While driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle, the defendant either (a) was under the influence of alcoholic beverages, chemical substances (such as prescription medications), or controlled substances to the extent that his/her normal faculties were impaired, or (b) had blood or breath alcohol level of .08 or higher.
In Florida, typically a DUI investigation is broken up into three phases. First is the contact with the officer, the reason why the officer came in contact with the person driving or in actual physical control of the vehicle. Next, based on the officer’s observation, the officer may ask the individual to perform Field Sobriety Exercises. Finally, based on the individual’s performance in the exercises, the officer might arrest the individual and take him to the police station for a breath or urine sample. It is imperative to discuss all three phases with your attorney in as much detail as possible.
Defenses Against DUI
Each case is different and may contain a different series of fact patterns. Therefore, there may be different strategies that your attorneys may use. Although there are different strategies, police still have requirements they must follow when performing traffic stops and/or performing DUI investigations. If these requirements are disregarded, it creates greater opportunities to get your DUI charge amended or dismissed.
Some of the more common defenses include identifying improper administration of the field sobriety exercises; insufficient training for the police officer to qualify as an expert; inaccuracies in police investigation of the offense; challenging improper request for blood or urine tests; suppressing evidence; challenging results and procedure used in breath tests, urine test, or blood tests; contesting officer’s observation of normal faculties being impaired and or contesting whether the person being accused of a DUI was in actual physical control of the vehicle.