Articles Posted in DUI

Facing down a criminal conviction can be incredibly unnerving, but fleeing can leave you in even bigger trouble than before you started. That’s because failure to appear is a charge in and of itself that can have serious consequences, even if you are ultimately found not guilty of the original crimes. handcuff-300x114

This was seen recently in a case involving a Bahamian man who reportedly fled the country while awaiting sentencing for his DUI manslaughter conviction in 2000 following a crash that resulted in the death of a 44-year-old married mother of two. He was fighting his conviction first in Palm Beach County courts and then in his native country, but he lost his appeal in 2003 and was ordered to report to Palm Beach County to serve his sentence, according to the Palm Beach Post. Instead, he allegedly cut off his ankle bracelet and fled. He was arrested by authorities in the Bahamas and after exhausting all appeals, was extradited. Now in addition to the DUI manslaughter conviction, he is facing two failure to appear charges.

F.S. 843.15 outlines failure of defendant on bail to appear. The law says that anyone who is released pursuant to F.S. Chapter 903 and who willfully fails to appear before any court or judicial officer as required incurs a forfeiture of any security that was promised or given as a condition of release. If he or she was released in connection with a felony charge or while awaiting sentence or pending appellate court review after conviction, it’s considered a third-degree felony, meaning it’s punishable by up to five years in prison. That’s on top of the original sentence. Continue reading

A Florida woman who allegedly rode her horse slowly down a busy highway while intoxicated was arrested for DUI recently. Although Florida is practically infamous for it’s bizarre news, even this seemed a bit over-the-top. Plus, it raises a number of questions about the scenarios in which F.S. 316.193, Florida’s drunk driving law, can be applied. DUI Defense attorney

The law allows penalties for those who “are driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle within the state” and are also either under the influence of alcohol to the extent his or her normal faculties are impaired OR the individual has a blood-alcohol concentration that exceeds 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood. But is a horse a vehicle? What about a motorized wheelchair or shopping cart or lawn mower or bicycle?

Florida residents have been arrested for DUI for operation of each of these scenarios. And while there is legal precedent that could support a conviction, our experienced Fort Lauderdale DUI defense attorneys recognize there may be ample opportunity to fight for either a reduction of charges, if not an outright dismissal, in these non-conventional DUI arrests.  Continue reading

The majority of criminal defense cases that aren’t dismissed or result in acquittal are resolved through plea deals. The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports two-thirds of felony defendants in the U.S. are eventually convicted and 95 percent of those convictions occur through plea bargains.DUI defense attorney

Criminal defense lawyers in Fort Lauderdale know that doesn’t necessarily mean these defendants are getting a raw deal. In many cases, these plea deals are agreements to plead guilty to far lesser offenses, resulting in fewer penalties than defendant may have been facing initially. Still, where there is ever an opportunity to fight for dismissal or acquittal, our attorneys won’t hesitate to do so. Plea bargain agreements are only for cases where the weight of the evidence is clearly against the defendant and the attorney is confident that negotiation with the prosecutor can result in an advantageous outcome for defendant, considering the circumstances.

That said, defendants must be prepared to abide by the terms of the plea bargain, or else risk the possibility that the maximum penalty could still be imposed. Even during the plea bargain negotiation process, defendants need to be mindful of their conduct. The Miami Herald reports one case recently where a plea deal following a serious DUI crash fell apart after defendant’s drug test was returned positive – a violation of her conditions for release from jail pending trial. Continue reading

Following a Fort Lauderdale DUI arrest, the primary goal of our DUI defense attorneys is to challenge the charge outright and secure a dismissal or not guilty verdict. However, when the unfavorable evidence is substantial and chances of that are slim, we may adjust our strategy to negotiate with prosecutors, requesting to amend the charge from DUI to the less serious offense of reckless driving. DUI Defense Attorney

This is precisely what golf pro Tiger Woods did after his Florida DUI arrest in Palm Beach County earlier this year. Authorities arrested him after he was reportedly found passed out at the wheel of his vehicle. He was accused of intoxication with prescription drugs and marijuana. There was no alcohol in his system. He would later release a statement saying he was attempting to self-medicate to relieve pain from a previous back surgery and insomnia.

By pleading down to reckless driving, F.S. 316.192, as opposed to DUI, F.S. 316.193, defendants can avoid many of the negative consequences that accompany the more serious charge. Continue reading

In cases that result in drunk driving convictions, a judge may assign varying penalties, depending on things like defendant’s prior criminal record and whether anyone was injured.  In some cases that result in direct injury to another person, the court may order restitution. This is money paid by defendant to the victim in order to compensate for certain losses.criminal defense lawyer

It is separate and apart from any civil liability action that may be taken by victim(s). Victims can sue a drunk driver in civil court to obtain compensation for things like medical bills, lost wages, loss of life enjoyment, pain and suffering, etc. The circumstances under which restitution may be compelled are spelled out in F.S. 775.089.

If a judge in a criminal case orders you to pay restitution, it would be unwise to seek the public’s help in paying it. The reason is that while the intention is to compensate the victim, criminal courts are concerned with penalizing poor choices. That means the person who commits the crime is responsible to pay the penalties for that violation. Recently, a man convicted of two counts of DUI manslaughter in Texas raised ire and generated headlines when he created a GoFundMe account to help pay his court-ordered restitution following a conviction for a crash that killed to highway workers. At the time, defendant’s blood-alcohol concentration was 0.118, more than double the legal limit.  Continue reading

A tow truck driver in Ocala was arrested recently in connection with a January crash that claimed the lives of three people – a 61-year-old former congressional candidate, his wife and adult son. Investigators with the Florida Highway Patrol have alleged the truck was under the influence of drugs. He has been charged with three counts each of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide. DUI defense lawyer

As most commercial drivers know, the standards they must abide are even more stringent than those faced by other drivers.

For instance, while F.S. 316.193 states a driver may be in violation of the per se bodily-alcohol concentration anytime it meets or exceeds 0.08, commercial drivers can face a number of administrative (and employment) consequences for driving with a BAC of 0.04 or higher.  Continue reading

One of the benefits of having an experienced criminal defense lawyer who is knowledgeable not only about statute, but also about local procedures, policies and players is you have an inside track on what you can generally expect from certain judges, prosecutors and courthouse rules. Some judges may have a reputation for strict adherence to certain dress codes, while others may be a bit more relaxed. Courts are often foreign to many criminal defendants, so knowing exactly what to wear, when to arrive, how to act and how/ when to address the court is important. DUI defense

One thing you will find most judges lack patience for is tardiness. Being on time is essential, and if you don’t have a very good reason for being late or missing a court appearance, you could face serious consequences. It could even result in an additional arrest.

Recently in South Dade, a defendant in a DUI with serious bodily injury case was slated to take a plea bargain, but all that fell apart and she is now facing many more years behind bars – because she was late to court, and the judge was frustrated with her behavior afterward.  Continue reading

In an explosive video that went viral recently, a Utah nurse is manhandled and arrested by a sheriff’s deputy, irate that the charge nurse refused to take a blood sample from an unconscious patient absent a warrant. He threatened her with charges like obstruction of justice. However, such charges won’t prevail when the officer’s initial directive was unlawful.

As our criminal DUI defense lawyers in Fort Lauderdale well know, the nurse was absolutely in the right. As the nurse states correctly in the video, from a constitutional standpoint, a person’s blood is his or her property. Any non-consensual search or seizure of it is subject to approval from a judge in the form of a warrant, barring exigent circumstances. DUI defense attorney

In this case, no such circumstances existed because, first of all, the badly-burned, unconscious patient in question, a truck driver, was not suspected of any wrong-doing. In fact, he is believed to be the victim of a drunk driver who swerved into the trucker’s lane of traffic, causing the rig to burst into flames, resulting in serious injury to the trucker. (The suspected impaired driver died at the scene of the crash.) Continue reading

Recently, pro-golfer Tiger Woods agreed to plead guilty to reckless driving and enter a diversion program, in exchange for prosecutors dropping DUI charges against him. criminal defense

ESPN reports the Florida DUI arrest occurred after Woods was found sleeping in his sports car, allegedly under the influence of sleeping medication and painkillers. No alcohol was found in his system. Following the diversion program, he will have the opportunity to ask the judge to expunge the reckless driving conviction.

As our DUI defense attorneys can explain, this is a somewhat typical outcome in a case like this in cases where:

  • Defendant has no prior criminal record;
  • Defendant did not harm anyone or cause property damage;
  • Prosecutors may not have the strongest case (i.e., intoxication via drugs is tougher to prove than alcohol impairment);
  • One is represented by an experienced attorney.

Continue reading

A South Florida man has been sentenced to nine years in prison on DUI manslaughter charges after accepting a plea deal to avoid harsher prison time after a fatal crash that claimed the life of an 85-year-old dentist.DUI defense lawyer

The Palm Beach Post reports defendant will have to serve at least six years in prison following his release from prison. The last-minute deal halted the impending trial, which could have resulted in defendant receiving up to 15 years in prison, per F.S. 316.193. DUI manslaughter in Florida carries a minimum mandatory penalty of four years in prison, with a maximum of 15 years. This maximum penalty could be increased if the individual also flees or tries to flee the scene. In that case, it’s considered a first-degree felony, carrying a maximum 30 years behind bars.

Having an experienced defense lawyer can help increase your odds of a favorable outcome – or at least minimize the chances of spending more than a decade behind bars.  Continue reading

Justia Lawyer Rating for Richard Ansara