Defense of Aggravated/Felony DUI Charges in Florida
Florida law established tougher penalties for driving under the influence under certain circumstances. DUI is typically a misdemeanor charge, but when those conditions are satisfied, the prosecution could take out felony charges.
The average DUI case in Florida is a misdemeanor. A person with no prior history of DUI offenses would face a misdemeanor charge unless there were an accident that caused a serious injury or killed another person. Notwithstanding, misdemeanor convictions, especially for DUI charges in Florida, have serious implications that can negatively affect a person’s life for many years.
The Florida felony DUI Defense Lawyers with Musca Law have the commitment and the drive you to need to help devise the strongest defense for your aggravated DUI or felony DUI charge in Florida. With the guidance of 150 years of collective criminal defense experience in Florida, Musca Law can help you develop a case strategy that minimizes your exposure to the harsh consequences of DUI charges in Florida. By taking a multi-tiered approach to defending aggravated DUI and felony DUI charges, we can expose the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case by moving to suppress evidence, challenging testing methodology and interpretation vigorously, and presenting evidence that contradicts the state’s claims.
Taking a plea deal to a lesser offense sounds inviting at the outset. There are advantages to negotiating a plea bargain. However, a plea to a lesser sentence or reduced charges is a permanent entry on a person’s criminal record. We work very closely with our Florida DUI felony clients to generate a defense strategy that is in your best interests that might give them the best chances of success at trial or helps them avoid long prison sentences. We are concerned with our clients’ futures and protecting their rights. Only through close consultation and careful review of the evidence can we arrive on a defense strategy that will meet our clients’ goals and expectations.
Section 316.193 of the Florida Statutes sets forth felony DUI charges. The state could charge an offender with a felony DUI count when:
- the person under arrest for DUI has two previous DUI convictions in the preceding ten-year span,
- four or more DUI convictions in a person’s lifetime,
- driving under the influence and causing an accident leading to serious bodily injury, or
- driving under the influence and killing another person, including an unborn child.
DUI Manslaughter Charges in Florida
DUI manslaughter I the most serious felony DUI charges sought under Florida law. Proving DUI manslaughter requires proof that the operator accused of killing another person was under the influence or had a blood- or breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or higher and contributed to causing an accident that lead to the killing of another human being or unborn, or “quick” child.
A conviction for DUI manslaughter carries the possibility of a fifteen-year prison sentence. However, §316.193 imposes at least a four-year prison sentence for a person convicted of DUI manslaughter. If more than one individual dies in the wreck, then the prosecution can seek consecutive rather than concurrent prison sentences for each person who died.
Florida law punishes the crime of leaving the scene of a death harshly as well. The minimum mandatory penalty is also four years in prison.
Defenses to Felony DUI Charges in Florida
Each case is unique, and only a thorough analysis of all of the evidence will reveal the best defense strategy for defending a DUI felony charge in Florida. To a large extent, felony DUI cases are similar to misdemeanor DUI cases.
Combatting the state’s proof of intoxication is a strong defense strategy in most cases. The defense could argue that the evidence the government offered to prove intoxication is not strong enough to persuade a jury that the driver’s normal faculties were impaired by alcohol or drugs.
Contesting the arresting officer’s observations is a critical line of defense in felony DUI cases. Most DUI cases are initiated by a law enforcement officer who observes the accused operating a vehicle erratically or responds to an accident scene. The officer will testify about the observations he or she made at the scene of the driver and how the driver is acting. The officer must write a report documenting the event. The officer can be aggressively cross-examined if he or she testifies differently than what he or she wrote in the police report.
Vigorously contesting the way the officer administered the field sobriety tests and the interpretation of the test. Understanding that field sobriety tests were designed by physicians to test how a person’s balance, attention, and cognitive ability to drive is impaired by alcohol. The doctors do not account for real-life scenarios. The tests do not allow for mistakes made because of nervousness, illness, injuries, low lighting, or bad footing. Additionally, police are trained to grade field sobriety tests harshly. Missing the line twice on a walk-and-turn test could lead to a failing grade. In reality, field sobriety tests are nothing more than a balancing act designed to build up evidence of intoxication rather than prove sobriety.
The prosecution will most likely rely on scientific evidence to counter any defense arguments. Musa Law’s felony DUI defense lawyers anticipate that the state’s attorney will try to offer scientific evidence to persuade the jury. However, our lawyers understand how to attack that evidence. They would have already examined the machines used to test breath or blood from the suspect and will have all of the testing procedures available to confront the witnesses who testify about the test results. Test results that are unreliable or were obtained in violation of established procedures are inherently prejudicial and should not be admitted at trial. Our defense strategies often include arguments designed to convince a judge to throw out unreliable and overly prejudicial evidence.
Musca Law: Aggressive Florida Felony DUI Defense
Turn to the felony DUI Defense Lawyers with Musca Law if you are facing felony DUI charges in Florida. Our lawyers are dedicated to protecting your freedom and preserving your rights. Call us now at 888-484-5057 to schedule a convenient time to meet. We are here 24/7 to talk with you about your rights and to protect your future.