DUI cases are vigorously prosecuted throughout Florida. No longer can you expect to get a break on a first-time DUI, plead down to a lesser charge, or get a slap on the wrist. The first step to beating a DUI charge is to retain an attorney who regularly and successfully practices DUI defense in Florida.
6 Steps to Beating A DUI
There are many ways to challenge and beat a DUI. The steps generally include:
- Plead Not Guilty. Pleading Guilty or No Contest will forfeit your right to challenge the DUI charge.
- Request a Pretrial Hearing. This will give you time to hire an attorney, get discovery, and plan your defense.
- Demand discovery. In Florida, you have a right to everything the State intends to use against you. This includes police reports, video, witness statements, field sobriety test results, chemical test results, etc...
- Plan your defense and negotiations.
- Move to dismiss the charges or suppress evidence.
- Prepare for trial if needed. (Last resort.)
Challenges You May Face
Here are some of the issues that DUI defense lawyers use to challenge DUI allegations in Florida. Every case is unique, but here are some common things we look for and litigate.
- Did the police have a legal basis for stopping or coming into contact with you?
- Did the police read the implied consent warning before completing the breath test (or blood test)?
- Did the police complete the charging documents properly?
- Was there probable cause to arrest you?
- Did the police read Miranda rights upon arrest, and are they trying to use your statements against you?
Field Sobriety Tests:
- Were there medical problems or conditions that affected your ability to perform the tests?
- Were the tests administered in compliance with mandatory protocols, as required by the 2018 NHTSA Manual?
- Were there conditions such as the location, road, or weather that affected your performance?
Breath Test Results:
- Were the tests properly administered?
- Did police fail to conduct the 20-minute observation period?
- Was the test equipment operated properly following the required protocols?
- Was the breath test administered by a qualified individual?
- Was the test affected by other factors that can affect results, such as cough drops, chemicals that you work with, asthma spray, dentures, or other items in the oral cavity?
- Did a lung or breathing condition prevent you from giving a large enough sample?
- Is there a video of your driving? Does the video show the driving was not as bad as the police reported?
- Does the video show the field sobriety tests were improperly administered? Or is your performance better than described in police reports?
- Has evidence been wrongfully withheld or destroyed?
Hire A Pinellas County DUI Attorney
Every DUI case is unique, and given the potential consequences, every defense should be thoroughly investigated. With over 20 years of experience, we know where to look for relief. As a former prosecutor, I know where the weak points in the State's case may be. It may be possible to beat your DUI. It may be possible to get your charges reduced. It is certainly worth exploring your options if you are facing a DUI conviction or are concerned about a felony.