Driving under the influence, DUI, is a serious offense. DUI laws and punishments in Florida are among the harshest in the country. If you have been charged with DUI, you may think that there is no hope of resolving the situation in a positive manner. Certainly, the penalties for DUI are severe, but you need to remember that penalties do not apply unless and until you are found guilty. First and foremost, it is in your best interest to seek help from an experienced DUI attorney in Brevard County.
Defense to DUI Charges
There are a number of potential defenses that may apply to your DUI case. Generally, these are in the form of challenging the actions of law enforcement. A successful challenge to one part of the evidence against you could reduce the chances of a successful prosecution. When the state does not have strong enough evidence to prove DUI, they may lower the charges or drop them completely.
Challenge the Traffic Stop
The first possible challenge in a DUI case is the traffic stop itself. If the stop was made illegally, the entire case may need to be thrown out. According to Florida law, the police officer may only perform a traffic stop if he or she has reasonable suspicion that you committed a traffic violation or if the officer has probable cause to believe that you are committing a crime. For example, a police officer can not park near a popular local bar and wait for someone to leave and drive away to stop them. The officer must stop you for a legitimate reason.
Challenge the DUI Tests
When a police officer suspects DUI, he will request that you perform some Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs). These include the walk and turn test, the one leg stand, and the HGN test where you follow a penlight with your eyes. Certainly some of these tests are subjective and some tests, such as the HGN can only be performed by a certified alcohol recognition expert. If you have some disabilities or injuries that could make your balance an issue, they could impact the results of the test.
You were likely required to take a breathalyzer test at the scene of the traffic stop. Your attorney may be able to challenge the results for a variety of reasons. For instance, when the machine is not calibrated properly, it could provide a false reading. If the officer did not operate the breathalyzer properly or if the test was given too soon, it may be challenged.
Remember Your Right to Remain Silent
When you are charged with a crime, the police officer must read the Miranda warning. This includes the right to remain silent. If you do decide to answer questions at this point, what you say will be used against you in court. Therefore, it is best not to talk to the police until your attorney is present. However, if you have already made some incriminating statements, all is not necessarily lost. Your attorney will work to suppress any incriminating statements you might have made. Typically, your statements can be challenged if you were not read your rights. Spontaneous statements may be used if you were read your rights and offered a statement anyway.
Your attorney will review every aspect of your case to determine where any challenges may be made. If a challenge can be made, it means that some evidence may be able to be suppressed. If you were charged with DUI, it is best to seek legal guidance as soon as possible. Contact our criminal law attorneys at Henderson Legal Group for a case consultation.