Fort Myers, FL – When someone is arrested and charged under Florida’s statute for driving under the influence, there are a number of different penalties that they will face. Their potential punishment is actually divided into both a civil case that is processed by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, and a criminal case that goes through the court system. It is important for anyone facing these penalties to get legal representation so that they can properly respond to the accusations against them.
The criminal charge
The state’s criminal case brought under the statute is meant to show that the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol while operating a motor vehicle. This needs to be proven beyond all reasonable doubt if the government wants to impose penalties such as fines, probation, mandatory treatment, and even jail time. The defendant is entitled to a full trial and the opportunity to present a defense case if desired.
Administrative hearings and license suspension cases
In addition to the criminal penalties and fines, the state’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will generate a separate case related to a driver’s license suspension. There is also a different burden of proof for this action, because the suspension is considered an administrative matter and not criminal. The department only needs to meet the civil standard of clear and convincing evidence to suspend a driver’s license. This suspension can happen even if the criminal case does not result in a conviction.
The process of presenting a defense
An attorney who deals with these kinds of cases can do a number of things to assist their client. A DUI charge must be proven through evidence related to a traffic stop, chemical testing, observations about the defendant’s appearance, and other factors that gave a police officer suspicion of impaired driving. It is possible that police officers make mistakes during one or more of these processes.
A defense attorney knows how to look for things they were not done correctly, and use them to get evidence suppressed or raise reasonable doubt. For example, if a traffic stop was conducted for an illegal reason, the rest of the state’s evidence from the moment of the traffic stop onward needs to be dismissed. This can usually make the case go away or result in reduced charges.
Get more information about a defense from a local defense attorney
Anyone who has been charged with a DUI case in the Fort Myers area can receive guidance about how to proceed with both the criminal and administrative cases. Michael Raheb is experienced in Florida DUI law and all criminal matters.
Firm contact info:
2423 First Street, Fort Myers, FL 33901