DUI

Fort Lauderdale DUI Attorney

Trust the expertise of our Fort Lauderdale DUI attorney to get through tough situations. For the State to prove an accused was driving under the influence of an alcohol beverage or controlled substance, they must prove that the accused was under the influence at the time he was driving to the point that either his “normal faculties” were impaired, or he blew .08 or greater. If the driver refuses to give a breath or urine sample, his license will be suspended for 1 year, yet this is challengeable. If its the driver’s second or greater refusal, this license will be suspended for 18 months (also challengeable), and an additional misdemeanor of Refusal will be charged along with DUI. Normal faculties are walking, talking, judging distances, acting in emergencies, etc. If the driver did not submit to a breath test, then the State must be able to prove his normal faculties were impaired at the time of driving.

To prove this, they will use the roadside video typically recorded by the arresting officer, observations by the officer of the driver performing voluntary roadside exercises, and any observations or videos taken at the Breath Alcohol Testing facility, known as the BAT. If the driver did offer a breath sample and blew above .08, often times an argument can be made that the breath sample was taken over an hour after the driver stopped driving, and the State can only assume or guess that his blood alcohol level was above .08 an hour ago. Another defense to a breath sample above .08 may be that the Intoxilyzer, the machine that analyzes the sample, wasn’t calibrated or maintained properly.

There are mandatory minimums for each DUI, and they increase with multiple DUI’s, depending on how the DUI’s are spaced apart in time. The following is the minimum sentence a first time DUI defendant can receive if found or pleads guilty or no contest.

  1. 6 months probation
  2. 6 months driver license suspension
  3. $500 fine
  4. Alcohol and substance abuse evaluation and treatment
  5. 50 hours community service
  6. 10 day immobilization of the vehicle (may be waived if others depend on the vehicle)
  7. Participation in the victim impact panel

If the breach sample was .15 or above the charge is DUI Enhanced, which raises these minimums.

See this firm’s article on the entire DUI process from arrest to trial, including time limits on challenging license suspensions, in the blog. Contact our Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney for help with all DUI related charges.

Fort Lauderdale DUI Police Stops

In order for officers to stop a vehicle they must either have a warrant, or a reasonable suspicion that a crime has occurred. This includes traffic infractions, like speeding or a broken tail light. These infractions are often how officers justify stopping a driver they suspect is DUI. Fort Lauderdale DUI Attorney Mark Lowry is a former prosecutor and experienced criminal defense attorney, having litigated hundreds of DUI cases throughout his career. We will sit down with you for a free consultation and discuss your rights and possible outcomes to help you understand the entire process.

The requirement that officers have good cause to pull a vehicle is based on the US Constitution, 4th Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, requiring officers to have a valid reason to stop a vehicle, and not simply a personal bias against the driver or type of vehicle he is driving. Other infractions that officers will allege are failure to maintain a single lane (swerving), failure to use turn signal, and failure to stop for a red light. Officers as well can stop a vehicle simply for having a reasonable suspicion of DUI itself without citing any infractions, like swerving within a lane, or dramatic speed changes.

If you have too much to drink and find yourself behind the wheel, remember, the officer behind you needs a reason to pull you over, so obey every single traffic law perfectly. This includes red lights and right hand turns on red, which require your tires to literally stop moving for at least 1 second. As well, your speed needs to be controlled perfectly, preferably using cruise control and staying at or within 5 mph of the limit. This not only avoids arrest, but as well practices safe driving. WE ARE NOT RECOMMENDING DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OR SHOWING HOW TO DRIVE UNDER THE INFLUENCE, but understand it happens.

If you have been arrested for DUI in Fort Lauderdale or throughout south Florida, call or contact Fort Lauderdale DUI attorney Mark Lowry to understand the criminal process, ask questions, and learn how to move forward. We offer affordable payment plans and 24 hour service 7 days a week.

Once a driver sees overhead lights and siren directed towards his car, the law requires him to pull over as soon as it is safe to do so. If the driver does not stop right away or even attempts to flee and speed away, and later arrested for DUI, the officer and State will use the fact that the driver did not stop as evidence of being under the influence because he did not use sound judgment in refusing to stop, and knew he was guilty so did not want to face the officer. Therefore, its recommended to stop immediately and safely once overhead lights are observed. Fort Lauderdale DUI attorney Mark Lowry is a former prosecutor and experienced criminal defense attorney, having litigated hundreds of DUI cases throughout his career. We will sit down with you for a free consultation and discuss your rights and possible outcomes to help you understand the entire process.

Once the officer turns his overhead lights on, he is immediately starting to either make mental notes of your driving pattern or activating his in-dash camera to capture the driving behavior. Because of this, once the driver is “lit up” and ordered to pull his vehicle over, this must be done in a very safe and controlled manner. For example, the driver should always use his turn signal when pulling over, and if pulling into a parking space, to park within the lines of the space. This can be used later by the defense as evidence that the driver was not under the influence, as he had the sound judgment during an emergency to use his turn signal and park within the designated lines.

If you have been arrested for DUI in Fort Lauderdale or throughout south Florida, call or contact DUI attorney Mark Lowry to understand the criminal process, ask questions, and learn how to move forward. We offer affordable payment plans and 24 hour service 7 days a week.

Fort Lauderdale DUI Roadside Exercises

If you are stopped for DUI, the officer will ask you to step out of the vehicle to perform roadside exercises. The question is, should you perform these voluntary exercises? Fort Lauderdale DUI attorney Mark Lowry is a former prosecutor and experienced criminal defense attorney, having litigated hundreds of DUI cases throughout his career. We will sit down with you for a free consultation and discuss your rights and possible outcomes to help you understand the entire process.

Once out of the vehicle, the officer will have the driver walk to a location usually in front of the officer’s vehicle for the in-dash video camera to record the driver’s actions. Again, the officer, and now camera, are monitoring how you walk, whether you stumble or walk out of line, or need help in staying steady on your feet. Be sure to walk slowly and carefully to wherever the officer requests.

The officer will then state that he is investigating whether the driver is under the influence of an alcohol or chemical substance, and will request the driver to perform whats called “Roadside Exercises”. These exercises include “finger to nose”, where the driver places his feet together, closes his eyes, spreads his arms to either side, and when instructed, touch the tip of his nose with a specific finger; “walk and turn”, where the driver will be told to stand on a line, one foot in front of the other, and to walk 9 steps, heel to toe, turn around a specific way, and walk 9 steps back; and “1 leg stand”, where the driver is told stand up straight, close his eyes, turn his head toward the sky, and lift 1 leg off the ground 6 inches for 30 seconds without putting it down. These are obviously not activities we do in our normal daily lives, but its what the officer and State will use to show the driver’s normal faculties were impaired. These exercises are VOLUNTARY, despite the officer seemingly demanding the driver perform them. Every driver has the right to decline these exercises, and because the rate of failure on these exercises is so high, if the driver had anything to drink, smoke, or ingest, it is recommended to DECLINE these exercises, politely of course. If the driver stumbles or falls whatsoever, it provides evidence for the officer and literally builds the State’s case against him. The officer may still arrest the driver despite no exercises, but it will make prosecuting the case very very difficult if no breath sample is given later. If the driver declines the exercises and the officer still arrests the driver, the officer will place the driver in handcuffs and ask whether the driver will submit to a breath test at the Breath Alcohol Testing facility, known as the BAT. Regardless of what the driver states at roadside, he will be asked again, officially, once at the BAT.

If you have been arrested for DUI in Fort Lauderdale or throughout south Florida, call or contact DUI attorney Mark Lowry to understand the criminal process, ask questions, and learn how to move forward. We offer affordable payment plans and 24 hour service 7 days a week.