In an effort to deter drunk driving, police are stepping up roadside enforcement and courts are handing down stiffer sentences. While no one is suggesting that DUI should be without punishment, a Gainesville DUI lawyer knows that innocent drivers can be swept into the broad net cast by Florida authorities.
The Crime of DUI
To be guilty of a DUI in Florida, you must be driving or in physical control of a vehicle with:
- Impaired faculties, or
- A blood alcohol level of .08 or above, or
- A breath alcohol level of .08 or above.
The lawful blood and breath levels are lower for those under 21 and drivers with commercial licenses.
Your blood or alcohol level does not need to be .08 or above for you to be charged with DUI if your normal faculties are impaired. The prosecutor typically proves impairment with the testimony of the arresting officer that your driving was bad and you smelled of alcohol and acted drunk.
In Florida, you can be arrested for DUI even if you were not driving. You could be considered in physical control of a vehicle if you fall asleep in the car, even if you have parked and turned the engine off.
A DUI Conviction Is Not Inevitable
Many people believe it is futile to fight a DUI charge. It will be their word against the word of the police and many times evidence from breath or blood exercises is against them. However, knowledgeable Gainesville DUI lawyers know there are many possible ways to contest a DUI case.
Although each case must be evaluated on its own merits, among the most common methods to attack the prosecution’s case are to challenge:
The stop. The police must have a reason to pull over a vehicle. If the court determines there was no legally justifiable reason, all the evidence gathered subsequent to that stop may not be used against the driver.
The field sobriety exercises. Police use the results of field sobriety tests to obtain the probable cause needed for an arrest. The results of these exercises can be invalidated if they were not administered and scored correctly. Field sobriety exercises are agility exercises. Exercise failures can often be explained by factors such as injury, footwear, road conditions, and nerves.
The blood and breath exercises. These exercises must be performed according to precise scientific standards. Deviations from the proper protocols can raise doubts about the results and even make them inadmissible.
Contact a Gainesville DUI Lawyer for Legal Advice
The penalties for a DUI are far too serious to ignore. Your license can be revoked. Your car can be impounded. You may even face jail time. A DUI conviction stays on your driving record forever. The stigma of being labeled a drunk driver can have long term impacts on personal and professional reputations. Call the Law Offices of Richard Mercure, PA – RPM Law at (352) 222-2047 for a free, confidential evaluation of your DUI case.