Why Is It A Bad Idea To Plead Guilty To DUI Charges In Florida?

There is one type of DUI case where there's absolutely no advantage to having a lawyer. Those are the cases that are so weak that the prosecutor realizes it and will either drop the case or reduce it to a lesser charge immediately. The problem is that without a lawyer, you never know whether there was a viable defense. You have to have a lawyer evaluate the evidence. Some of our best victories started out looking like the case simply could not be won. If you have a problem with the maintenance or calibration of a breath test machine or an officer who reads the wrong warnings before a sample of breath, that can cut a huge swath through the evidence and make it inadmissible. Without that evidence, there's basically no case.

I've had many cases where, for example, a client was sleeping in the car and an officer knocked on his window and told him to roll the window down. That allowed the officer to smell alcohol and start a DUI investigation. The client might be completely drunk but that initial intrusion was illegal and the officer never got any evidence to pursue the investigation until he ordered the person sleeping in his car to roll the window down. That was an illegal order, so none of that evidence can be used against the driver in court.

A lot of times, when we have a case that's totally dismissed, it's because we got a motion to suppress evidence granted. If there is no reasonable suspicion of criminal activity to support a traffic stop, that makes the initial stop illegal and all of the evidence that's a product of this stop becomes inadmissible at trial. There are a lot of times when a person can be merely tired, hungry, or have low blood sugar and give the appearance to an officer that they are impaired by alcohol, when they're not. It takes a well-trained eye to see the problems with the state's case. If you don't hire a good lawyer who knows DUI law, you may never know that those problems even exist.

What Are Some Possible Pre-Trial Defenses In Florida?

Some of the most effective strategies for defending a DUI case involve pretrial motions. There's a lot of forensic evidence; there's gas chromatography; there's infrared spread spectrometry. Those are scientific tests that require a certain amount of background knowledge to get admitted in front of a jury and a lot of police officers' knowledge of the test is extremely limited. Florida requires the police do everything right in order to admit the evidence of breath test or blood test. If they fail to handle the breath properly or if they don't handle a blood sample properly, or read the correct legal warnings to the suspect, it can undo the state's case.

There are a lot of lawyers who are simply unaware of the most intricate requirements of the law, when it comes to consent to giving a breath sample or to taking a blood sample. Also, the law changes. In one year, the Florida state legislature changed the list of drugs which would qualify as a controlled substances and also changed all the procedures for holding a hearing on a driver's license suspension that results from a refusal or a breath sample over 0.8. Pre-trial defenses are very fact specific and require a detailed knowledge of the area of DUI law.

For more information on Pleading Guilty To DUI Charges In Florida, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (941) 219-5553 today.

Board Certification in DUI Defense

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Tom Hudson passed the National Board Certification Examination (written and oral) in Honolulu in 2008, and was recertified in 2013. He was one of the first 50 lawyers granted national board certification in DUI Defense, and is nationally recognized as an authority in DUI law.

Why We're Different

Board Certification as a DUI Specialist by the National College for DUI Defense. Formal NHTSA Certification as an Instructor of the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests given by police in DUI cases. Formal training as a NHTSA Drug Recognition Evaluator. ("Drug Evaluation & Classification") Formal training to operate the Intoxilyzer 8000, Florida's official breath test instrument. Extensive experience in teaching other attorneys how to handle DUI cases. Hundreds of jury trials both as defense lawyer and as prosecutor. Florida's State Delegate to the National College for DUI Defense.