If you have been arrested for a DUI in Orlando, you need an experienced attorney to stand by your side. An arrest for driving under the influence or DUI can be an intricate and complicated matter, which may result in serious penalties such as jail time, probation, loss of driving privileges, vehicle impoundment, fines, and other conditions and classes. Fighting a DUI case requires extensive legal knowledge and experience in the criminal justice system. Additionally, it is important to hire an attorney who understands how to challenge Breathalyzer results and the results of field sobriety exercises. These tests are not always valid in court and may have a significant impact on the outcome of your case.
Some field sobriety exercises are unreliable, unscientific, and would result in unfair prejudice if admitted at trial. For example, some courts have determined that the HGN (Horizontal Gaze and Nystagmus) test should not be admitted as lay observations of intoxication because HGN testing constitutes scientific evidence. These courts have stated that although this type of evidence may be relevant, the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of issues, or misleading the jury requires its exclusion. The failure to challenge these types of unreliable tests could permit the jury to hear evidence that is prejudicial, which could adversely impact you.
Additionally, most field sobriety exercises are merely lay opinion of a witness who may have never seen that individual walk, talk, or balance before administering the exercise. It is important for a DUI defense attorney to question the observations of the witness to ensure accuracy and completeness of the testimony. Many DUI arrest reports will utilize the same or similar language from prior DUI report and will not include the arresting officer’s actual observations. When it comes to challenging DUI cases, the devil is often in the details.
If you are charged with DUI in Orange County, Orlando, or in any other place in Florida:
If a hearing is requested, a temporary permit may be obtained to allow you to drive for up to 45 days until your hearing date.
The Florida “Ten Day” Rule provides that a driver has 10 days from the date of arrest to request a formal review hearing and challenge the administrative suspension of the driver license. If a hearing is not requested within 10 days, the driver’s license is automatically suspended on the tenth day. If a hearing is requested, you will have the opportunity to present evidence to Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) to demonstrate that your license should not be suspended. If you are successful, your driver’s license will not be suspended. If unsuccessful at the hearing, you may have the option of appealing the decision to the Circuit Court.
Being convicted of Driving Under Influence (DUI) in Florida has the following serious legal consequences (for first-time offenders):
When you are arrested for DUI, you will receive a citation from the arresting officer, which will serve as a temporary driver’s license. The citation allows you to drive for 10 days after your arrest. However, the citation must be on you at all times when operating a motor vehicle. Unless you file for a formal review hearing with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) within 10 days, your license will be suspended and you will not have the opportunity to challenge the suspension of your driver’s license. If you request a hearing, a temporary license may be issued to allow you to drive for up to 45 days or until the date of the hearing.
Currently, the Intoxilyzer 8000 is the official breath test machine of the State of Florida and has been the subject of scrutiny. The software that operates the Intoxilyzer 8000 is material in the defense of a DUI charge because it governs the operation of the machine that produces breath test results, which is used as evidence to determine whether a Defendant is driving under the influence of alcohol. Defendants have a right to attack the reliability of these testing procedures. Additionally, the Defendant has the right to request operator’s manuals, maintenance manuals, and schematics to ensure that the machine is being used properly.
There are many ways to challenge the Breathalyzer results, some of which include challenging the scientific validity of the test and the method in which the test is administered. In many Orange County cases, the Breathalyzer results have been deemed inadmissible. However, in other counties and jurisdictions, courts have found that the Breathalyzer is scientifically reliable and admissible at trial. It is important to discuss with your DUI attorney, whether your Breathalyzer results are accurate and admissible in a court of law.
When you are arrested for DUI, you are subject to both civil and criminal penalties.
The civil penalties are handled by the Department of Highway and Safety Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), which will suspend your driving privileges, unless you elect to have an administrative hearing. If you prevail at the hearing, you will not lose you driving privileges. However, the criminal traffic court may still impose penalties including revoking your driving privileges through the criminal proceeding.
The criminal penalties are handled by the court, just like in any other criminal matter. Even if the DHSMV elects not to suspend your driving privileges, the court may still revoke your driving privileges through the criminal proceeds. For more information about the length of revocation see criminal penalties section.