Articles Tagged with DUI defense attorney

It’s become increasingly common in Florida DUI cases for prosecutors to rely heavily on the investigation and testimony of drug recognition experts (DREs). These are police officers who are specially trained to recognize the signs of impairment in drivers who are under the influence of drugs. DUI defense

Last year, the Governors Highway Safety Association reported that for the first time, drivers killed in crashes are more likely to be on drugs than drunk. Forty-three percent of drivers tested in fatal crashes had used a legal or illegal drug, surpassing the 37 percent who tested above the legal limit for alcohol. It’s worth noting that researchers were unable to definitively say there was a causal link between the presence of those drugs and the crash, or even that the drugs were present in levels that indicated impairment.

F.S. 316.193 makes it clear that no driver is allowed to be in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of any substance – legal or otherwise – if it impairs his or her normal faculties. But while legislators have created a per se limit of intoxication that pertains to alcohol consumption (0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or per 210 liters of breath), no such cut-off exists for drug impairment. That means the question of whether someone is “under the influence” is often a subjective question that comes down to the observation of the arresting officer – who has more credibility in a courtroom with DRE certification. That does not mean the assertions made by that officer are correct. Our Fort Lauderdale DUI defense attorneys encourage all defendants to remain respectfully silent during questioning and ask to speak to a defense lawyer as soon as possible. Continue reading

In a per curium ruling, the Florida Supreme Court upheld an appellate court decision rejecting defense challenges to blood sample collection of suspects in felony DUI cases. It was a case watched closely by many Florida DUI defense lawyers because had the court ruled in defendant’s favor, it could have meant the potential for numerous successful challenges to pending DUI cases. Now it appears there will be no change.DUI defense

The DUI conviction was a high profile one which you may recall involving a South Florida polo mogul and a recent college graduate in his early 20s. Defendant is serving a 16-year sentence following conviction on charges of DUI manslaughter after the fatal crash killed the young man, who drowned after his vehicle was launched into a canal.

This is one of a string of challenges he has mounted to fight the validity of the charges and his subsequent conviction. His South Florida defense attorneys argued people subjected to DUI blood tests in Florida have no opportunity to make sure the blood samples are scientifically reliable. Further there are no guidelines for the type of needle used and no independent assurance that testing labs will discard samples that are clotted or irregular prior to felony DUI cases going to trial. Continue reading

Felony convictions against a man accused of killing two while driving drunk were reversed recently by an appellate court in Illinois, which ruled the DUI testing after his arrest was unconstitutional. DUI defense lawyer

Although this issue takes place outside of Florida, it’s one motorists in the Sunshine State have had to grapple with as well. It was a very similar case before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013 with Missouri v. McNeely. That was a landmark case in which the court ruled that when it comes to drunk driving investigations, the natural dissipation of alcohol in one’s blood stream is not sufficient grounds to argue exigent circumstances in every case that would justify conducting a blood test absent a warrant. In other words, there may be some cases in which a warrantless blood draw is justified, but it has to be based on more than just the fact that alcohol quickly leaves the body.

Even with that instruction, courts across the country continue to grapple with these questions, trying to balance the scales between the rights of the accused and gathering all pertinent information in these serious felony cases.  Continue reading

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

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

Authorities made a South Florida arrest for DUI and child endangerment in Boynton Beach after allegedly discovering a woman drunk behind the wheel of a car in a parking lot with four children jumping in and out of the sunroof.winebottle

According to The Sun Sentinel, the engine of the vehicle was running. It was about 7:30 p.m. and the vehicle was parked in a Publix grocery store parking lot. In the front passenger seat, police say, was a half-empty jug of sangria. The 34-year-old woman in the driver’s seat allegedly had a blood-alcohol concentration of .358, which is more than four times the legal amount of 0.08. This was after she agreed to undergo a blood alcohol test.

Police reported they were called to the parking lot after several witnesses said they had tried to chase the young children out of harm’s way, as they were running around the parking lot and were almost struck by vehicles entering and leaving. One witness called dispatchers and said they had seen the driver drinking in the car from a large jug of wine.  Continue reading

The former director of the Florida State Parks was recently arrested for DUI with property damage and hit-and-run, according to the Tallahassee Democrat, which explained the arrest occurred after defendant was stopped by troopers with the Florida Highway Patrol.drink and drive

According to reports, the former official, who also previously worked for the state Department of Environmental Protection, had left the scene of a crash after briefly speaking to the other driver. Troopers were called to the scene by that other driver around 7 p.m. on a Saturday. The driver reported he was traveling south when a Mercedes Benz, later identified by police as being driven by the former official, traveling in the same direction veered into his lane and struck his driver’s side mirror in passing.

The defendant reportedly pulled over, talked to the other driver for a minute, then rolled up her window and abruptly drove away. Dispatchers then started receiving other calls about a vehicle matching that description in the same area running other motorists off the road Continue reading

Florida House committee lawmakers have put the state one step closer to compelling more first-time DUI offenders to install ignition interlock devices. DUI

On the surface, this may seem like bad news for DUI offenders. After all, ignition interlock devices are expensive, cumbersome and embarrassing. However, there could be one major upside for first-time offenders if the bill is passed statewide in its current form.

According to News4Jax, the bill would revise and replace provisions of the current ignition interlock law, as addressed in F.S. 316.193 and F.S. 322.271 and F.S. 316.1937. Current law only makes it mandatory for a first-time DUI offender in Florida to have ignition interlock devices installed if his or her blood-alcohol concentration was at 0.15 percent or higher or if a minor was in the vehicle at the time of the offense. Beyond that, the devices are mandatory in cases where an individual has previous DUI convictions.  Continue reading

Florida’s law against driving under the influence, F.S. 316.193, covers the offense of operating a vehicle while intoxicated not just by alcohol, but by any chemical substance that impairs the person’s normal faculties. This includes marijuana. However, now that the drug has become legal for medicinal purposes in the Sunshine State, some lawmakers say this statute does not go far enough. rolledcigarette

Now, House Bill 237, the Driving Under the Influence of Drugs Act, proposes that DUI arrests can be made and convictions secured if evidence is presented the driver had 5 nanograms or more of THC per milliliter of blood. If the law is passed, it would go into effect this October.

However, there has been significant push back from the scientific community on this because blood testing for THC, which is a fat-soluble compound, is known to be an inaccurate means of testing impairment. That’s because the substances stays in one’s body long after consumption, unlike alcohol, which dissipates quickly. What that means is if you find a certain amount of alcohol in one’s blood or breath or urine, that alcohol was consumed fairly recently and one can opine with reasonable certainty about the degree of intoxication. But that isn’t true with marijuana. In fact, all a test like this will tell you is that the person is a marijuana user. A high level of THC in the blood stream is not necessarily indicative of impairment. It may only indicate the person is a regular user. So if a person consumes a little of the drug every evening for a month and is pulled over one morning – completely sober – he or she could well have a THC level above that 5-nanogram limit. Continue reading