Articles Posted in DUI

In Florida, breathalyzer tests are one of the most common tools used by law enforcement officers to glean proof of the blood-alcohol concentration of a motorist suspected of driving under the influence (DUI), in violation of F.S. 316.193. But can you refuse to take the test? Can you be forced to take one? If you refuse, can you still be convicted? West Palm Beach DUI defense lawyer

Short answers:

  • Yes – but not without consequences.
  • No – though officers can initiate a non-consensual blood draw in some circumstances.
  • Yes – because breathalyzers aren’t the only relevant evidence in Florida DUI cases.

Implied Consent in Florida

As our West Palm Beach DUI defense attorneys can elaborate, Florida has an implied consent law (F.S. 316.1932). This law states that anyone who accepts the privilege of operating a motor vehicle in this state is deemed to have given consent to submit to an approved chemical or physical test administered by authorities for the purpose of determining the alcoholic content of his or her blood or breath. The test must be incidental to a lawful arrest, administered by a law enforcement officer who has reasonable cause to believe the person was driving or in actual physical control of the vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.

Reasonable suspicion of a DUI can include things like:

  • A driver traveling far below the speed limit with road conditions that don’t justify it.
  • A driver who is swerving or operating the vehicle erratically.
  • Failure to obey traffic signals.
  • High beams kept on despite incoming traffic.
  • No headlights on at night or at other times of low visibility.
  • Tailgating/following too closely.
  • Frequent stops or braking for no apparent reason.
  • Illegal turns.
  • A driver nearly hits an object, other cars, or pedestrian.

As to whether it’s better to submit or refuse, there are pros and cons to each. Refusal to submit to testing under the state’s implied consent law will result in an automatic one-year license suspension, and your refusal can be used against you in criminal court. That said, refusal effectively deprives prosecutors of a key piece of evidence that can be used against you in the DUI criminal case.

It’s worth noting that if you do choose to submit, there is an extensive history of technical problems associated with the Intoxilyzer 8000 (the machine most commonly used to administer roadside breath tests). Much of it comes down to human error and improper training on how to use the device to glean effective BAC results. These facts might be used by South Florida DUI defense lawyers in challenging the BAC results.

Florida DUI Convictions Don’t Require Breathalyzer Results

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Fort Lauderdale is a prime destination for tourists from across the country and around the world. It’s estimated more than 120 million people flock to Florida each year – many making their way to the Southeast coast. Unfortunately, if you’re arrested on vacation in Fort Lauderdale (most often for DUI, domestic violence, drunk and disorderly, solicitation, and drug possession), your good time can quickly morph into a legal nightmare. Our Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers can help.Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer

How you proceed will depend to some extent on the severity of the crime and the specifics of the case. Chances are, if you’re arrested for a misdemeanor, you will not be held for any extended period of time in jail, but you may be expected to return. It is possible that a lawyer can resolve your case for you without you having to return, but again, it will depend on the exact circumstances. It’s also possible that the consequences of any conviction will follow you in your own district, particularly if there are any supervised release requirements.

If you’re arrested for a felony (which are more serious charges), you may expect your time in jail to be a bit longer, and your legal fees, court costs, and penalties to be more substantial.

It is important to keep in mind that simply going home will not make the charge go away. It is critical to consult with an experienced, local Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer who will offer sound legal advise, ensure your rights are protected, and fight for the best possible outcome.

Some factors to consider following a Fort Lauderdale arrest on vacation: Continue reading

More than 32,000 people are arrested for DUI in Florida every year, with about 2,100 of those being in Broward County. But despite its frequency, many Broward DUI defense lawyers will tell you that misconceptions about drunk driving arrests are rampant. Unfortunately, few people know their rights and what they should (and should not) do if they’re stopped in traffic for suspected drunk driving.Broward DUI defense lawyer

Here, our Broward DUI defense lawyers bust some of the most common South Florida DUI myths.

Myth 1: Refusing to Answer Police Questions Can Make You Look Guilty.

When it comes to Fort Lauderdale DUI arrests, our criminal defense attorneys have heard numerous misconceptions and misunderstandings – and it can cost people bigtime in court.

Florida DUI misconceptions are frequently the result of people combing the internet in an attempt to “do their own research” about their situation. The internet contains a great deal of good information (this site, for example), but there’s also a lot of junk. Plus, every case is going to be different. It’s impossible to say how the law may apply to the specific circumstances of your case unless/until you speak with an experienced local criminal defense lawyer who can assess the facts of your case, and then carefully apply it to state law, local ordinances and common local judicial practices.
Fort Lauderdale DUI defense lawyer

Here, we outline some of the things people most often get wrong about DUI arrests and the criminal justice system process: Continue reading

If you are arrested for drunk driving in Fort Lauderdale, one of the worst things you can do is try to navigate the legal system on your own. Even first-time offenders can face severe penalties and long-term consequences – some they may not even realize are at stake – when they don’t have someone who knows the law advocating on their behalf. Fort Lauderdale DUI attorney

More than 32,000 people each year are arrested in Florida for drunk driving, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. An analysis based on data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention indicated there was a 30 percent increase in the Florida DUI arrest rate from 2014 to 2018. Although we don’t yet have statewide data on 2020 DUI arrests in Florida, a report by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism indicated alcohol sales spiked sharply during the pandemic (increasing in Florida by nearly 8 percent). That could be linked with an uptick in arrests for DUI.

Our Fort Lauderdale DUI attorneys are committed to helping those accused of drunk driving or impaired driving fight the charges and the most serious repercussions associated with them. Continue reading

If you’re visiting South Florida this spring break, the last souvenir you want to bring back is a DUI charge. If this is the situation in which you find yourself, our longtime Fort Lauderdale DUI defense lawyers can help. Fort Lauderdale DUI defense lawyer

Last spring was fairly abysmal for an annual spring break season in Florida, but this year is looking up. Some hotels are reporting 75-80 percent capacity, as many folks venture out for the first time in more than a year. Florida is especially popular right now because it hasn’t been as rigorous in its enforcement of health and safety measures as other states, and people from all over the country are looking for a more relaxed change of scenery.

South Beach, Fort Lauderdale and the Florida Keys remain a top spring break destination in the U.S. If you are arrested for DUI here, you could be facing substantial penalties, so it’s important to work with a local criminal defense attorney  well-versed in state law and local processes and who has successfully represented numerous people arrested while visiting from out-of-town. Continue reading

Recently, a Florida woman was arrested for DUI manslaughter and child neglect after she allegedly crashed her SUV with four children and another adult in the car. One child, her 3-year-old daughter, died.Fort Lauderdale DUI defense lawyer

Although this is a profound loss this mother will grieve the rest of her life, the law does not allow for this alone to be “punishment enough.” Per F.S. 316.193, DUI manslaughter is a second-degree felony charge that carries a maximum prison sentence of 15 years.

Most DUI arrests, even those that involve crashes, do not involve deaths. However, courts in Florida take very seriously DUI cases involving minor passengers under 18, even if no one was hurt. Continue reading

Florida has always been a boater’s paradise, though many have increasingly been taking to the water to get a dose of Vitamin Sea while still following social distancing rules. But don’t expect law enforcement to be lenient on boating under the influence violations just because we’re in the middle of a pandemic.Fort Lauderdale defense lawyer

Boating and alcohol are a potentially deadly mix that can carry severe penalties in South Florida – even if you don’t crash and no one is hurt.

Recently in Naples, NBC-2 reported the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission arrested a man for boating under the influence on July 4th. There were reportedly more than a dozen people on board the vessel at the time. The officer was patrolling the waters around Keewaydin Island when he noticed not only the boat, but the fact that two women, who were impaired, were in the water and trying to get back onto the vessel but could not due to the strong current. The officer took the women aboard his boat and then pulled up alongside the defendant’s vessel. The operator “appeared to be heavily intoxicated,” and the vessel appeared to be overloaded. The operator refused a breathalyzer test, but was nonetheless arrested for BUI.

Florida law enforcement authorities frequently patrol the state’s rivers, lakes, coastline and ponds – particularly during holiday weekends. Anyone who is arrested on boating under the influence charges should seek immediate legal counsel from a local South Florida criminal defense lawyer. Continue reading

Recent reporting by The New York Times reveals that breathalyzer tests, used in almost every police department in America, routinely generate skewed results – even though they’re marketed as being precise to the third decimal. Last year, judges in New Jersey and New Hampshire tossed more than 30,000 breathalyzer test results as evidence in DUI cases due to human error and a lack of government oversight. The same thing has happened thousands of times over across the country after tests showed that improperly-calibrated machines can show blood-alcohol percentage results that are 40 percent too high.Fort Lauderdale DUI defense lawyer

But does that mean drivers suspected of DUI shouldn’t take it?

Fort Lauderdale DUI defense lawyers know the answer to this truly depends on the situation, but you should know two things: Continue reading

The State of Florida allows for no exceptions when it comes to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In the best-case scenario it’s a mid-level misdemeanor, unless your Fort Lauderdale DUI defense attorney can help you plead down the charge or possibly succeed in having the case dismissed altogether. DUI Defense lawyer

Intoxicated drivers under age 21 generally don’t face consequences any more serious than those who are of-age, but the definition of “impairment” for underage drivers holds them to a much more stringent standard.

Anyone over 21 is considered to be intoxicated with the blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08, as measured either by a breathalyzer or blood test. But for drivers under 21, a BAC of just 0.02 is enough to be deemed impaired. It should be noted that those with even lower BACs than these can be arrested for DUI in Florida if, per F.S. 316.193, it is established that his/her normal faculties are impaired. Continue reading

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