Written by Kenneth L. Foote
Florida DUI F.A.Q.
Q. What should I do if I have just been arrested for DUI (driving under the influence) in Florida?
If you have just been arrested for DUI in Florida, it is important that you remain silent until you contact an attorney to represent you. It is best to hire a lawyer that is experienced in defending DUI cases. the skilled attorneys at K.L. Foote experience in helping clients with DUI cases. We have the experience, education and vast knowledge of Florida DUI law to build a strong case in your favor. Call 1-877-903-6683 to discuss your case with an experienced DUI attorney immediately.
Q. How will my DUI charge impact my driving?
We can help you keep your driver's license. Many people don't realize that they can often keep most of their driving privileges after being charged or convicted of DUI. We attend administrative hearings on your behalf and employ legal motions and strategies to keep you on the road. You have only 10 days to appeal you driver's license suspension so please call 1-877-903-6683 to discuss your case with an experienced DUI attorney immediately.
Q. What kind of driving can I do under a suspended license permit?
A suspended license often allows room for driving to work, school, medical and legal appointments, worship services, and meeting other individual and family needs. You can even drive to restaurants if the meal is considered part of your work day.
Q. What are the penalties if I am found guilty of DUI?
For a first time conviction of .08% BAL, the fine will be $250 - $500, six months probation, DUI school with potential treatment to follow, a mandatory 50 hours of community service, 10 day impoundment of your car, 6 month loss of license and . up to six months of jail..
For a second conviction, the fine starts at $500, 30 day impoundment of your vehicle, Level II DUI school, 26 weeks of treatment, one year ignition interlock and, if the offense is within 5 years of your last DUI, a mandatory 10 days in jail and 5 year revocation of license. If your BAL exceeds .20%, or there was a minor in the vehicle, the fines and penalties for your conviction may be substantially higher.
More serious penalties apply for third and fourth convictions and if a person is injured or killed as a result of a drunk driving accident.
An automatic suspended license is also part of the penalty.
Please call 1-877-903-6683 to discuss your case with an experienced DUI attorney immediately to discuss the actual penalties in your case.
Q. What is the officer looking for during the initial detention at the scene?
The traditional symptoms of intoxication taught at the police academies are:
1. Flushed face
2. Red, watery, glassy and/or bloodshot eyes
3. Odor of alcohol on breath
4. Slurred speech
5. Fumbling with wallet trying to get license
6. Failure to comprehend the officer's questions
7. Staggering when exiting vehicle
8. Swaying/instability on feet
9. Leaning on car for support
10. Combative, argumentative, jovial or other "inappropriate" attitude
11. Soiled, rumpled, disorderly clothing
12. Stumbling while walking
13. Disorientation as to time and place
14. Inability to follow directions
Q. What defenses are there in a DUI case?
Potential defenses in a given drunk driving case are almost limitless due to the complexities of the offense. Roughly speaking, however, the majority can be broken down into the following areas:
(1) Driving. Intoxication is not enough: the prosecution must also prove that the defendant was driving. This may be difficult if, as in the case of accidents, there are no witnesses to his being the driver of the vehicle.
(2) Probable cause. Evidence will be suppressed if the officer did not have legal cause to (a) stop, (b) detain, and (c) arrest. Sobriety roadblocks present particularly complex issues.
(3) Miranda. Incriminating statements may be suppressed if warnings were not given at the appropriate time.
(4) Implied consent warnings. If the officer did not advise you of the consequences of refusing to take a chemical test, or gave it incorrectly, this may affect admissibility of the test results -- as well as the license suspension imposed by the motor vehicle department.
(5) "Under the influence". The officer's observations and opinions as to intoxication can be questioned -- the circumstances under which the field sobriety tests were given, for example, or the subjective (and predisposed) nature of what the officer considers as "failing". Too, witnesses can testify that you appeared to be sober.
(6) Blood-alcohol concentration. There exists a wide range of potential problems with blood, breath or urine testing. "Non-specific" analysis, for example: most breath machines will register many chemical compounds found on the human breath as alcohol. And breath machines assume a 2100-to-1 ratio in converting alcohol in the breath into alcohol in the blood; in fact, this ratio varies widely from person to person (and within a person from one moment to another). Radio frequency interference can result in inaccurate readings. These and other defects in analysis can be brought out in cross-examination of the state's expert witness, and/or the defense can hire its own forensic chemist.
(7) Testing during the absorptive phase. The blood, breath or urine test will be unreliable if done while you are still actively absorbing alcohol (it takes 45 minutes to three hours to complete absorption; this can be delayed if food is present in the stomach). Thus, drinking "one for the road" can cause inaccurate test results.
(8) Retrograde extrapolation. This refers to the requirement that the BAC be "related back" in time from the test to the driving (see question #5). Again, a number of complex physiological problems are involved here.
(9) Regulation of blood-alcohol testing. The prosecution must prove that the blood, breath or urine test complied with state requirements as to calibration, maintenance, etc.
Please call 1-877-903-6683 to discuss your case with an experienced DUI attorney immediately to discuss the your legal defenses to your DUI arrest.
Q. What is a "rising BAC defense"?
It is unlawful to have an excessive blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of DRIVING -- not at the time of being TESTED. Since it takes between 45 minutes and 3 hours for alcohol to be absorbed into the system, an individual's BAC may continue to rise for some time after he is stopped and arrested.
Commonly, it is an hour or more after the stop when the blood, breath or urine test is given to the suspect. Assume that the result is .12%. If the suspect has continued to absorb alcohol since he was stopped, his BAC at the time he was driving may have been only .08%. In other words, the test result shows a blood-alcohol concentration above the legal limit -- but his actual BAC AT THE TIME OF DRIVING was below.
Q. What is "mouth alcohol"?
"Mouth alcohol" refers to the existence of any alcohol in the mouth or esophagus. If this is present during a breath test, then the results will be falsely high. This is because the breath machine assumes that the breath is from the lungs; for complex physiological reasons, its internal computer multiplies the amount of alcohol by 2100. Thus, even a tiny amount of alcohol breathed directly into the machine from the mouth or throat can have a huge impact.
Mouth alcohol can be caused in many ways. Belching, burping, hiccuping or vomiting within 20 minutes of taking the test can bring vapor from alcoholic beverages still in the stomach up into the mouth and throat. Taking a breath freshener can send a machine's reading way up (such products as Binaca and Listerine have alcohol in them); cough syrups and other products also contain alcohol. Dental bridges and dental caps can trap alcohol. Blood in the mouth from an injury is yet another source of inaccurate breath test results: breathed into the mouthpiece, any alcohol in the blood will be multiplied 2100 times.
Q. How do I know the breath test was accurate?
You don't, and you should never assume that the breath test evidence will convict you. We are experienced, Board Certified criminal trial defense attorneys with experience and knowledge necessary to successfully challenge breath test results.
Q. The officer didn't read me Miranda warnings; what should I do?
Police officers often neglect driver's rights during a DUI stop and arrest. Police misconduct and neglecting your rights may be reason for dismissing or reducing your charges. We thoroughly investigate every aspect of your DUI charge, from probable cause for the stop, through police and prosecutor's questioning techniques at the police station. Put our experience at your side as soon as possible after you have been charged. They have to get through us before they get to you.
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