Coconut Grove, FL – DUI cases in Florida contain several different aspects of traffic law, along with scientific evidence and criminal procedures. Because these cases are more complex than most issues that police officers handle, there is special training that police must receive to gain their DUI certification. Even after being properly trained, it is possible that an officer will make crucial mistakes which cause evidence to be excluded. Defense attorneys often utilize tactics to eliminate crucial pieces of evidence from the state’s case to force them to drop or reduce the charges.
Illegal traffic stops
There must be a legitimate reason for a police officer to conduct any traffic stop. The reasons that a driver can be stopped are exclusively listed in the state’s traffic statutes. It is common for police officers to see minor mistakes or inconsistencies in a person’s driving pattern, and stop the vehicle to begin a DUI investigation. Depending on the specific reason that was given, the stop may be illegal and all evidence collected as the result of an illegal traffic stop can be suppressed.
Collecting a chemical sample
Florida’s implied consent law allows police officers to take a sample of breath, blood, or urine after an arrest from anyone who is suspected to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs while driving. However, there are specific rules that must be followed such as a mandatory observation period, reading the suspect the implied consent law, and ensuring that the testing equipment is functioning properly to collect a legitimate sample that is not tainted. This is actually a fairly complex process, and the results of the test can be excluded if it is obvious that the officer has made a crucial mistake.
Suspicion of impairment
An officer must have reason to believe that the suspect is actually impaired by alcohol or drugs before starting a DUI investigation. Some common indicators of impairment include bloodshot or watery eyes, slurred or stuttered speech, the smell of alcohol, trouble controlling the car, a disheveled appearance, fatigue or falling asleep, and trouble with basic coordination or following directions. Courts in Florida have held that at least three of these indicators need to be present for the police to start their DUI investigation. If the police do not have sufficient reason to believe that the driver is actually impaired based on these signs, all of the evidence that was collected from the time the DUI investigation began may not be introduced because it was obtained without reasonable suspicion.
Legal advice after an arrest
There are DUI defense attorneys who can help clients who have been arrested in Coconut Grove and other parts of Florida. Michael M. Raheb is a trusted lawyer who represents local clients.
Firm contact info:
2423 First Street, Fort Myers, FL 33901