If you were charged with a DUI this Thanksgiving, you aren’t alone. Many other Florida drivers got DUIs this Thanksgiving, because additional police are on patrol during the holidays.
Luckily, you can fight your charges just like you can any other time of year with the help of a qualified defense attorney. For the most part, the strategies your lawyer could employ are the same, but there is one big difference.
Below, we’re going to look at some of the most common factors that can positively impact your case, as well as what makes Thanksgiving DUIs a bit different.
Factors That Can Help Your Florida DUI Defense
Are allergies causing you to have bloodshot eyes? Do physical impairments cause you to have slurred speech, the inability to balance on one leg, or erratic behavior? The police may have mistaken these medical explanations for drunkenness.
Unless an officer has founded suspicion, they cannot legally force a traffic stop. You cannot be pulled over if you were lawfully driving and obeying traffic laws, and if your vehicle is working properly.
Rights Weren’t Read to You
The law requires that the arresting officer must read you your Miranda rights. Your case won’t be thrown out simply because the officer failed to perform this duty, but it can prevent the prosecutor from using anything you said to the officer as evidence against you.
Field Test Inaccuracies
To be valid in court, a field test must be correctly administered by a properly trained officer. If the officer did not administer the test according to protocol, the results cannot be used against you.
Blood Test Issues
In Florida, DUI blood tests are only allowed in limited circumstances. However, if you received a blood test and it was mislabeled or compromised in any way, the test can be disregarded by the court.
If any witnesses are available to attest to your sobriety, their testimony can strengthen your case.
Breathalyzer Test Inaccuracies
The officer must be trained and licensed to perform the breathalyzer test. Frequently, the machines are not calibrated properly and may produce false positives. If you had recently rinsed with alcohol-based mouthwash or smoked a cigarette, the test may be inaccurate. If you have diabetes, substances in your breath may read as alcohol on a breathalyzer test.
Were you exceptionally tired after a weekend with friends and family? Perhaps your fatigue caused your erratic driving instead of alcohol use.
Know the Laws
It’s important to understand what Florida law has to say about DUI offenses. The law is tough on offenders, which is why you need to seek legal assistance as soon as possible to build a case against your charges.
The law states that a person is legally drunk with a blood or breath alcohol level of at least 0.08. First-time offenders are subject to a fine between $500 and $1,000 and up to 6 months in jail.
Second-time offenders are subject to a fine between $1,000 and $2,000 and up to nine months in jail. Also, second-time offenders must have an ignition interlock device in their vehicle for a minimum of one year.
Third-time offenders are subject to penalties if prior offenses occurred within 10 years. The charge for a third offense is a third degree felony. This carries a fine between $2,000 and $5,000, and up to one year in jail, as well as an ignition interlock device for at least two years.
Any additional offenses will be considered third degree felonies, but the fines for each subsequent offense must be at least $2,000 each. An ignition interlock device must be used for at least six months.
If a drunk driving offense causes personal or property damage, the punishment is a first degree misdemeanor. If it causes serious bodily injury, it is a third degree felony. If it causes death, it is a second or first degree felony.
If the blood alcohol limit is 0.15 or higher, the fines and jail time are increased, and an ignition interlock system is required, along with probation and substance abuse treatment. Driving privileges may be revoked and vehicles may be impounded.
About the Author:
Attorney David W. Olson is the founder of the Law Offices of David W. Olson in West Palm Beach. He has been practicing criminal law and successfully representing clients throughout the State of Florida for over 30 years. Throughout his legal career, Mr. Olson has been honored numerous times for both his dedication and excellence in criminal law. He proudly holds the Martindale-Hubbell AV Rating, as well as being recognized as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer (2013), in the Nation’s Top One Percent of attorneys (2015), and as a 10 Best Member of the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys (2015). He has even received commendations from members of congress and other public officials for the fantastic work that he’s done. Mr. Olson graduated from the University of Florida’s Fredric G. Levin College of Law in 1981 and has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1983.