People charged with driving while intoxicated in Florida face criminal and civil consequences, including fines, jail time and loss or restriction of driver’s license. It you’re in this situation, the DUI charges may seem insurmountable, especially when based on blood alcohol tests administered by police. But depending on the facts, there may be defenses you can raise to fight the charges and perhaps avoid a conviction.

Here are the most commonly asserted and effective challenges to DUI charges:

  • Unlawful traffic stop — The prosecutor bears the burden of showing that you were stopped based on a traffic violation or for other reasonable, articulable cause. Except for DUI checkpoints, the police cannot randomly stop a vehicle and then seek to acquire evidence of drunk or impaired driving. If the initial stop was illegal, any resulting evidence can be suppressed under the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures.
  • Inaccurate or improper field sobriety test — Commonly used breath tests and field sobriety tests can produce flawed results. Breath tests can have a margin of error of up to 10 percent and may be impacted by your body temperature at the time of testing and by other factors. The breath testing device may have been incorrectly calibrated or the officer may have failed to allow a sufficient period of observation before taking the breath sample. Field sobriety tests can also be inaccurate, especially when administered on individuals who are elderly or overweight or who have disabilities or balance issues.
  • Violation of right to counsel and to remain silent — A DUI can be challenged if the officers failed to abide by your legal constitutional rights, particularly the requirement that you be given Miranda warnings to make you aware of your right to consult with an attorney and to remain silent upon arrest. If the police officer fails to provide such warnings or prevents you from exercising your right to counsel, any statements or other evidence acquired may be inadmissible.

If you have been arrested for DUI, you should talk with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to help you determine whether these or other defenses may be available. There may be evidence that you need to preserve or and motions to suppress evidence may need to be filed in order to preserve your defenses and protect your rights.

At the Law Offices of Tad A. Yates, P.C. in Orlando, I have wide experience defending Florida residents facing DUI charges. Feel free to call my office at 407-608-7777 or contact me online anytime to arrange a consultation.

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