image70

DUI

Florida Statute Section 316.193 makes it unlawful to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage OR controlled substance to the extent that a person's normal faculties are impaired.


What does this mean?


Many people have a misperception that DUI = driving a vehicle with a breath alcohol result of .08% or higher.  While this can be true, this is not what DUI necessarily is.  



DUI DEFENSE

What is it?

image71

In layman's terms, DUI in Florida means having actual physical control of a vehicle when the person's "normal" faculties are impaired because of alcohol or controlled substance.  


There are essentially three elements:

1.  Actual control of the vehicle

2.  Normal faculties impaired because of

3.  An alcoholic beverage or controlled substance


The State must prove all 3 elements beyond a reasonable doubt.

What is "Actual" control - Do I have to be driving?

image72

No.  You do not need to be driving to be charged with DUI in the state of Florida.  You must be in ACTUAL control.  This means that you could be charged with DUI if you are in the driver's seat, in an operable vehicle with keys in your vicinity.  

What if the "controlled substance" is a prescription drug?

image73

There is no specific defense based on prescription use.  However, remember the State must prove that your normal faculties were impaired because of the drug.  

Why did the LEO stop me?

image74

In Florida, LEO must establish probable cause to conduct a traffic stop based on a traffic violation.  


The State must prove that the stop was conducted lawfully, and if the State cannot do so, you may be able to file a motion to suppress all evidence seized.

Field Sobriety Exericises

image75

LEO observations are key to a DUI prosecution.  One of the tools that LEO use to determine whether an individual is impaired is the FSE - Field Sobriety Exercises.


If, however, LEO lacked probable cause to conduct the stop, observations during the FSE may be inadmissible.  In addition, an experienced DUI attorney will evaluate the FSE to ensure that proper procedures were utilized, and highlight any defensible issues.



.08 is the Magic Number?

image76

In Florida, if a person has a breath alcohol result of .08 or higher, the State is entitled to a presumption of impairment.  This is important because the jury can simply presume the second element - normal faculties impaired.  However, .08 is not required.  The state can prosecute with .00 if there is a refusal or they have enough evidence to show impairment as a result of controlled substances.  In addition, the state can prosecute with BRAC levels below .08.  This becomes a jury question. 

What can a DUI Attorney do?

Review the Records

image77

As always, the first step is for the attorney to gain all of the factual information possible.  A review of the police reports, DUI video, breathalyzer reports, etc., is essential. 


Determine the Legality of the Stop

image78

The State is not entitled to seize any evidence, including admissions, observations and breathalyzer results if the initial stop was unlawful.  


An experienced DUI attorney can evaluate the records to determine whether a legal defense, such as a motion to suppress, is viable. 


Obtain Expert Analysis

image79

In some cases it becomes necessary to challenge the state's BRAC results. Expert analysis may be critical to determine a person's BRAC at the time of driving.  A person's BRAC changes over time, and can increase over time.  As such, the timing of BRAC becomes an important issue.

Negotiations

image80

Not all cases are trial cases.  In fact, most are not.  One of the most important skills that a DUI attorney can possess is the ability to successfully negotiate.  


State plea offers for DUI are uniform and relate primarily to the number, the amount of BRAC and property/personal injury.  


A successful negotiation, however, can result in a reduced charge, most often to reckless/careless driving, or reduced penalties.  

Preparing for Trial

image81

An experienced DUI defense attorney will prepare you for all aspects of trial, and should be trained in trial strategy and the rules of evidence.


Brooke is an AV-rated attorney who not only practices law, but has taught criminal law and evidence to university students.  Brooke understands procedure and evidence.  


There are a number of issues that occur during trial, that an experienced DUI attorney must be able to tackle:


Admissibility of opinion testimony

Admissibility of expert testimony

Improper arguments

and many more! 

Plea or Conviction

image82

A DUI conviction involves a large number of consequences including:


Probation

DL suspension

DUI evaluation/treatment

Victim Impact Panels

Vehicle Impound

Fines

Court costs

and possible jail/prison time


In addition, collateral consequences ordinarily involve steep increases in auto insurance, and can impact certain employment.  


Contact Brooke today for your free consultation!

DUI Manslaughter & Vehicular Homicide

DUI Manslaughter & Vehicular Homicide Criminal Defense

The state must prove the following for DUI Manslaughter:


1.  All elements of DUI and

2. Death of any human being or unborn child


The offense is a second-degree felony punishable by 15 years in prison UNLESS


The offender failed to render aid when the person knew, or should have known, that the crash occurred, and in that event the offense is a first-degree felony punishable by 30 years in prison


The state must prove the following for Vehicular Homicide:


Death occurred as a result of an operation of a motor vehicle in a reckless manner likely to cause the death or great bodily harm. 


The offense is a second-degree felony punishable by 15 years in prison.  However, the same provision applies regarding failure to render aid - in that event the offense is a first-degree felony punishable by 30 years in prison.


DUI Manslaughter and Vehicular Homicide are very serious criminal allegations, and there are a large of number of issues that an experienced DUI attorney should investigate, including the DUI itself and all circumstances surrounding the accident.  Expert analysis may be required for accident reconstruction, and there is often extensive litigation related not only to legal defenses, but also sentence mitigation. 


Contact Brooke today for your free consultation:  727-543-7188

image83