Fort Lauderdale DUI Lawyers
150+ Years of Combined DUI Defense in Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale DUI defense attorneys at Musca Law provide facts about DUI to people hiring an attorney and we offer realistic outcomes to cases. A knowledgeable and skilled Fort Lauderdale DUI Defense Lawyer can help guide a person through the process and can assist with crafting an effective defense strategy. Accordingly, if a person has been charged with a DUI in the Fort Lauderdale area, they should consider consulting with an experienced Fort Lauderdale Drunk Driving Lawyer because there are deadlines for protecting driving privileges. The lawyers at our firm have handled a variety of DUI cases including:
- First Offense
- Second Offense
- Felony Offenses
- DUI Manslaughter
- Driving Under the Influence of Drugs
- Boating Under the Influence (BUI)
- Commercial Driver’s License DUI
- Underage DUI
DUI Attorneys – Driving Under the Influence in Fort Lauderdale (DUI) [Florida Statute 316.193]
Fort Lauderdale Drunk Driving Defense Attorneys
Here are the facts about the statute as understood by our Fort Lauderdale DUI lawyers. Pursuant to Florida Statutes Section 316.193, whether someone is charged with driving under the influence depends on a variety of factors including
- Blood alcohol concentration ( BAC) percentage at the time of the DUI. Under Fort Lauderdale law, the legal limit is .08%
- Whether at the time of the DUI, the person was actually driving a vehicle or were in physical control of it
- If the person was impaired by alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both.
- The DUI caused property damage.
- Someone was seriously injured.
- Someone was fatally injured.
- There have been previous DUI(s).
DUI Defense Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
People convicted of a driving under the influence (DUI) offense in Fort Lauderdale are subject to various penalties. The types of penalties a person can be subject to will depend on the facts and circumstances of the case, and even a first-time offense can result in severe consequences. Penalties for a first DUI offense can include criminal penalties such as steep fines and jail time, but a first-time DUI offender can also be subject to administrative penalties such as license suspension and other adverse consequences that go along with having a criminal record. With a criminal record, it can be more difficult to obtain or keep a job, obtain student financial aid, and to rent an apartment. Punishment for a first DUI offense can also include:
- Vehicle Impoundment
- A substance abuse class
- Community service
- Installation of an ignition interlock device
DUI Defense in Fort Lauderdale – 2nd DUI Offense
In Fort Lauderdale, a second DUI offense that occurs in five years of the first offense can result in even tougher penalties which can include a mandatory jail sentence of ten days. Depending on the facts and circumstances of the case, the person might have to spend a lengthier amount of time in jail and be subject to large fines.
Fort Lauderdale Felony DUI Defense Attorneys
While in most instances, DUIs in Fort Lauderdale are charged as misdemeanors, there are some circumstances under which an individual might be charged with felony DUI. Someone can be charged with felony DUI in Fort Lauderdale if:
- The offense is the third DUI in five years
- The offense is the fourth or subsequent DUI
- Another individual was fatally or seriously injured as a result of the DUI
The penalties associated with a third-degree felony DUI conviction can include jail time of up to five years and a $5,000 fine. An individual can also be labeled as a Habitual Traffic Offender which means that their driving privileges can be suspended for five years.
DUI Defense in Fort Lauderdale – Drunk Driving Manslaughter
Under Florida law which is applicable to Fort Lauderdale, a person can also be charged with second-degree felony DUI manslaughter which usually occurs when another individual is killed as a result of the DUI. Fort Lauderdale DUI manslaughter cases can be charged as a first-degree felony if the accused left the scene of the accident.
Fort Lauderdale BUI Lawyers – Boating Under the Influence Defense
Penalties Related to Driving a Boat While Drunk
Fort Lauderdale BUI attorneys at Musca Law have represented many people in BUI cases. Here are the facts about potential charges. Under Section 327.35 of the Florida Statutes, a person can be charged with boating under the influence, or BUI, if they are found to have operated a boat or a vessel while under the influence of or impaired by alcohol or drugs, or a combination of the two. The penalties associated with a first-time BUI offense can include fines and up to six months of jail time. Depending on the facts and circumstances of the case, a person can be subject to more severe penalties.
No-Cost Case Review with a Skilled Fort Lauderdale DUI or BUI Defense Lawyer
Fort Lauderdale DUI and BUI criminal defense attorneys at Musca Law are here to help. We have a proven track record of providing exceptional results for our clients. People who have been charged with driving or boating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs in the Fort Lauderdale area can consult with one of our experienced defense lawyers in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. To receive a no-cost and confidential case evaluation call our firm today at (888) 484-5057 to consult with one of our experienced attorneys.
Fighting a DUI in Florida
Prior to your DUI trial getting underway, the charge itself is able to be challenged on legal, administrative, or constitutional grounds. A strong, well-crafted argument could allow for key pieces of the prosecution’s evidence being disallowed by the court, making it unlikely that they will want to proceed with the trial.
Police officers are infamous for pulling over a car based on a suspicion that you may have been drinking. Once they pull you over, their techniques or examination are often sketchy and/or ineffective. A lot of the police officers who are out there arresting people for driving under the influence have very limited training in the area of the physiological responses of the body to the ingestion of too much alcohol.
In addition to the subpar training, the devices that law enforcement officials rely on to test your blood, urine, or breath for the presence of alcohol are highly susceptible to errors, both mechanical and human. Also, despite the fact that these devices have to comply with stringent governmental controls in order to be admissible in court, they are more often than not, poorly maintained.
How does all of this information apply to you? Plainly put, the prosecution will need every available shred of evidence against you in order to keep the judge from throwing out your DUI case for insufficient evidence or to be able to give a solid case to the jury.
If your DUI defense attorney challenges even a single piece of evidence in the prosecution’s case against you that results in that proof being suppressed (not allowed at your trial), the State might be inhibited when it comes to moving forward or possibly made to negotiate a settlement for a reduced charge. When it comes to defending you against a charge of driving under the influence, one small victory like this can often lead to a much bigger one.
Challenge the Stop
The law in the state of Florida is quite explicit on the fact that a police officer may only pull you over for one of two reasons:
- The police officer has a rational suspicion that you are committing a traffic violation
- The police officer has probable cause that you are perpetrating some form of criminal activity
Oftentimes, it can be proven that the police officer was erroneous in his judgment when he decided to pull you over. If this is confirmed to be the case, then all of the evidence that has been gathered against you can be thrown out and the prosecution will be made to drop the case against you.
Challenge the Field Sobriety Tests
In the majority of drunk driving cases, law enforcement officers will conduct field sobriety tests before attempting to arrest you. There are many different methods of challenging the police officer’s assertions regarding your completion of these field tests:
- Does the officer have any idea what your natural balance and coordination abilities are?
- Does the officer know whether or not you have any physical handicaps, such as back spasms or arthritis in your knees? These kinds of physical handicaps or impairments can easily hinder your capacity for doing well on a field sobriety test. Proving this makes your test results unreliable and therefore, objectionable.
- Is the officer competent in conducting the specific type of field sobriety test that you were given? Certain forms of field sobriety test, like the HGN test, can only be conducted by and testified about by a law enforcement official who has previously been certified in alcohol recognition. Other tests, like the well-known reverse alphabet test, are not considered to be reliable forms of sobriety testing by the courts.
Challenge the Breathalyzer
As we just talked about, the devices that are frequently used by the police must be closely monitored and held up to very stringent standards of maintenance in order to be allowed as evidence against you in a court of law. Also, the test must be conducted in a very particular manner if they are to be in compliance with the law.
Failure to either upkeep the device according to specifications given by the state of Florida or to administer the breathalyzer tests in a manner that aligns with the necessary protocol could very well end in the results of the field sobriety test being ruled objectionable, no matter what your blood alcohol level was determined to be.
Suppress Your Statements
Probably the single most recognized Miranda Warnings is the one that says, “Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” Contrary to popular belief, however, the police are not required to promptly read you your rights when pulling you over for a traffic violation.
After an officer has pulled your vehicle over, s/he is allowed to ask you basic questions like where are you going, why are you on this road, and have you had anything to drink this evening? This is why it is important to be mindful of what you say and to whom, particularly if you have consumed alcohol recently.
Nonetheless, should you happen to say something compromising in front of a law enforcement officer, our Ft. Lauderdale DUI defense attorneys will still be prepared to fight to suppress your damaging remarks.
For the most part, statements are challenged for being acquired while the police officer was in breach of:
- Your constitutional right to remain silent
- Florida’s accident report privilege
Your Right to Remain Silent
A law enforcement officer is only obligated to read you your Miranda rights when they are placing you under arrest, or if they decide to detain you for any reason. After your rights are read to, you need to respectfully refuse to engage in any further discussion with the officer and promptly request a Florida criminal defense attorney.
A typical issue that occurs in DUI arrests is once it becomes obvious that you are no longer free to leave the scene, the officer fails to read you your Miranda rights and proceeds to interrogate you regarding your actions preceding the traffic stop. This common police tactic is unconstitutional and any damaging remarks that were obtained by the officer throughout that time will likely be quashed by the judge.
Will a prior DUI conviction in another state affect my current DUI case?
In Florida, the State Attorney's Office will likely use any prior DUI convictions for a judge to pass down harsher penalties should the prosecutor when your conviction for DUI. This would also include DUI convictions in other states. This is one of those times when you need an experienced Fort Lauderdale DUI defense lawyer on your case. An experienced Fort Lauderdale DUI attorney will file a motion to "strike" any prior convictions.
What are some of the signs of intoxication that a law enforcement officer will look for during a roadside DUI investigation?
In the state of Florida, police officers attend standardized drunk driving training courses that teach them how to identify an individual who is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Some of these warning signs might include:
- A flushed face;
- Bloodshot, Glassey, watery eyes;
- Sluggish motor skills;
- Failure to answer questions properly;
- Instability while attempting to keep their balance on 1 foot;
It is important to know that any potential sign of impairment may not be impairment but disability. For example, an officer might think the driver is intoxicated because they have slurred speech. However, The suspect they have a speech impediment. And since the officer likely doesn't know the defendant personally, it could be argued with success in court that the officer had no probable cause for the stop and the DYI investigation.
Am I required by law to perform any roadside Field Sobriety Test?
In the state of Florida, drivers may refuse to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test. However, the punishments for test refusal continued to become harsher. There are no criminal punishments for refusing to perform a field sobriety test. Field sobriety tests were often recorded on the law enforcement officer's dashcam. Therefore, it might be in your best interest to decline to perform field sobriety tests.
Florida’s Accident Report Privilege
More often than not, when you are in a car accident, you may also be accused of drunk driving. In the state of Florida, you are compelled by law to report your car accident to law enforcement, thus increasing the likelihood of you making compromising comments to police officers concerning your accident.
Luckily, Florida state law prohibits the majority of statements that you provide to police officers regarding your accident from being admitted in any subsequent criminal or civil trial. This law is referred to as Florida’s Accident Report Privilege, and the intent of this immunity is to inspire witnesses to collaborate with police officers in vehicle collision investigations. If you or a loved one face a DUI charge, it is in your best interest to contact the Fort Lauderdale Musca Law firm, in order to schedule a free, no-obligation, confidential consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.
633 SE 3rd Ave Suite 4F, Unit 405,
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Phone: (954) 302-5391
Hours: Open, We are open 24/7
4V75+FQ Fort Lauderdale, Florida