Charges related to driving under the influence can be severe for Floridians. A standard DUI charge in the state of Florida is a first degree misdemeanor, and it carries a number of other mandatory minimum conditions that go along with any sentence of jail time. Felony DUI cases, including DUI manslaughter, can land someone in jail for a number of years due to the fact that they allegedly killed another person while driving under the influence. However, attorneys do have a number of ways that they can try to have some of the evidence excluded, or get the charges reduced or dropped.
A case in Florida involved a drunk driver from Largo hitting another car and killing a person inside.
Driver dies after being rear-ended
A two vehicle crash occurred when both drivers were heading westbound on Ulmerton Road past the Wild Acres Road intersection in Largo. The suspect was driving an Acura at a high rate of speed and initially overtook the victim’s car. At some point shortly after, the Acura ended up colliding with the rear end of the same car. The impact was powerful enough to force the victim’s car off of the road and into a light pole. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene by the Florida Highway Patrol, while the suspect was first taken to Bayfront Health in St. Petersburg with serious injuries. After his medical treatment, the suspect will be taken to Pinellas County Jail and formally charged with DUI manslaughter.
The possibility of a sound defense
A defense attorney has a number of options in most DUI cases. Most of these defenses are related to attacking the credibility of the available evidence, or lack of evidence that shows a person was actually under the influence at the time of a traffic stop or accident. Other important issues might include the initial traffic stop and the proper administration of a breath, blood, or urine test.
When first observing a vehicle police are supposed to make observations about a driving pattern that includes one or more actual traffic infractions that permits the officer to make a stop. The absence of a legitimate reason to conduct an initial traffic stop or investigation can cause all of the evidence that came afterwards to be excluded when the defense attorney files a motion to suppress.
Police are also supposed to be trained to properly administer field sobriety exercises at the scene to make observations about a driver’s coordination. In some cases, the driver refuses to do them or the officer makes a judgment call to not have a driver perform them based on the surrounding conditions. This lack of evidence can play in a defense attorney’s favor in some situations, as these exercises are a standard part of every DUI investigation.
A breath test is also taken after an arrest in Florida to determine the suspect’s blood alcohol content. However, drivers must be read an implied consent form that includes the right to refuse the test. There have been a number of issues with improperly used implied consent forms that can be raised by the defense to get the results of the breath test excluded. A suspect’s refusal can also be beneficial in their defense, as the chemical evidence that proves their level of intoxication is usually one of the most crucial aspects of the state’s case. By merely refusing, a suspect is actually taking an important aspect of a DUI prosecution away.
If you have been charged with a standard DUI misdemeanor or a more serious felony that includes DUI charges, there is legal help available in the state of Florida. Trevena, Pontrello, & Associates routinely defends those charged with a number of different crimes in Tampa, Largo, and surrounding areas.