Frequently Asked Questions About DUI Arrest

If you have been arrested for DUI, the consequences are far reaching and will likely affect your life in a variety of ways. Consequently, it is extremely important to discuss your case with a qualified lawyer who can advise you of any possible defenses you may have. The following are a few ways a lawyer may help you beat your case, regardless of whether your DUI involves alcohol, a controlled substance, or prescription medication.

1. ILLEGAL STOP OF PERSON OR VEHICLE - A driver cannot be stopped unless the officer has a reasonable and articulate basis to believe that a traffic law or other law has been violated. Similarly, a person cannot be seized unless a violation has occurred.

2. WEAVING INSIDE THE LANES IS NOT ILLEGAL - Weaving without crossing any lines is not a violation of the law, and a vehicle cannot be stopped for that reason unless the officer can articulate a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity (i.e. driving while impaired).

3. ANONYMOUS REPORT OF DRUNK DRIVING - A car cannot be stopped simply because an anonymous citizen reported that the driver was drunk.

4. STANDARD FIELD SOBRIETY TESTING IS INACCURATE - In healthy individuals, the one-leg stand test is only 65% accurate, and the walk-and-turn test is only 68% accurate in determining if a person is under the influence. Those persons with injuries, medical conditions, 50 pounds or greater overweight, and 65 years or older cannot be validly judged by these tests.

5. NON-STANDARDIZED FIELD TESTS ARE INVALID - Neither the Federal Government (NHTSA) nor medical science considers touching your finger to your nose, or saying the alphabet, or counting backwards, as valid sobriety tests.

6. BREATH TESTING IS INACCURATE - Virtually all experts concede that one breath test alone is unreliable. Breath testing is subject to various inaccuracies, including a variance in breath readings, non-specificity for ethanol, etc.

7. BOOKING ROOM VIDEOS - Many police stations videotape suspects at the police station, where their speech is clear and their balance is perfect, in spite of police testimony to the contrary.

8. IN-SQUAD VIDEOS - More and more often, the suspect's driving and performance on field tests is being recorded; often contradicting police testimony.

9. FAILURE TO PROVIDE SPEEDY TRIAL - If a client is not provided with a trial within a certain period of time, which varies between states, through delays of the court or prosecutor, the charges must be dismissed.

10. POLICE BLOOD TEST INACCURATE - Many times, police blood testing fails to follow prescribed rules of testing, analysis, or preservation recommendations.

11. HOSPITAL BLOOD TEST INACCURATE - Hospital blood tests must be checked to determine their accuracy..

12. BREATH TEST OPERATOR UNLICENSED - Florida requires a Breath Test Operator to possess a valid, unexpired operator's license, or the breath test result is inadmissible.

13. BREATHALYZER MACHINE MALFUNCTIONS - In Florida, if there is a malfunction or repair of the breath test instrument within a certain period of time before or after a suspect's breath test, the results of the suspect's test may be invalid unless proper procedures are followed.

14. BREATH TEST OPERATOR LICENSE EXPIRED - Florida requires that a Breath Test Operator must possess an unexpired operator's license, or the breath test result is inadmissible.

15. BREATH TEST DEVICE NOT APPROVED - A breath-testing instrument must be listed on the Federal List of Approved Breath Evidential Instruments and the ISP approved list of Devices, or the results are inadmissible.

16. FAILURE TO PROVE DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE - A defendant's admission to driving, without more, does not prove a charge of driving under the influence.

17. INDEPENDENT WITNESSES - Often times, independent witnesses to accidents, bartenders, hospital personnel and others can provide crucial evidence of the defendant's sobriety.

18. FAILURE TO MIRANDIZE - Prosecutors may not use as evidence the statements of a defendant in custody for a DUI when the police have failed to properly issue Miranda Warnings.

19. FIELD SOBRIETY TEST IMPROPERLY ADMINISTERED - According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, improperly administered field tests are not valid evidence of intoxication.

20. OFFICER'S PRIOR DISCIPLINARY RECORD - A police officer's previous disciplinary record may be used to attack the officer's credibility.

21. FAILURE TO CONDUCT OBSERVATION PERIOD - Florida requires that a driver be observed continuously for a minimum period of twenty minutes prior to a breath test in order for the results to be considered admissible and valid.

22. EXPERT WITNESSES - Expert witnesses are available to review the validity of breath tests, blood tests and field sobriety tests.

23. MEDICAL AND HEALTH PROBLEMS - Medical problems with legs, arms, neck, back and eyes can affect the results of field sobriety tests. Further, other medical conditions can also affect the validity of breath test results.

24. BAD WEATHER - Weather reports establishing high winds, low visibility, and other conditions are available to explain poor driving or poor balance.

25. LACK OF PROBABLE CAUSE TO ARREST - A police officer must have specific and articulable facts to support any arrest for DUI, or the Florida driver's license suspension will be reversed and the evidence suppressed at trial.

26. ILLEGAL SEARCH - The police are prohibited from searching a person or the automobile for a minor traffic offense, and may not search a car without a driver's consent or probable cause. Any evidence illegally obtained is not admissible in court.

27. PRIOR INCONSISTENT STATEMENTS BY POLICE OFFICERS - Any statement made by a police officer, verbally, in police reports, or at previous court proceedings may be used to attack that officer's credibility.

28. POST-DRIVING ABSORPTION OF ALCOHOL - The prosecutor must prove the blood or breath alcohol at the time of driving. Recent consumption of alcohol just prior to driving will cause the test results to be higher when the test is actually administered than what the true level was when the person was operating the automobile because it takes time for the body to absorb the alcohol.

29. INTERFERING SUBSTANCES - Many items contain forms of alcohol, which may cause false results, such as asthma spray, cough drops, paints, fingernail polish. These items can cause the breath results to be invalid.

30. BREATH MACHINE NOT PROPERLY OPERATED - The manufacturers of breath testing devices have specified protocols, which must be followed for a breath result to be valid. Failure to follow these requirements will result in improper readings.

31. FAILURES TO PRODUCE DISPATCH TAPES - Most stops of vehicles are recorded on dispatch tapes, as well as recording police communications regarding an arrest of an individual. These tapes should be reviewed before they are destroyed to determine any possible defenses or discrepancies in the evidence.

32. MISLEADING STATEMENTS BY POLICE OFFICERS - Any misleading statement by the police regarding the consequences of taking (or refusing) a blood, breath, or urine test will cause the suspension to be reversed and removed from the driver's record.

33. STATUTES OF LIMITATIONS - A misdemeanor charge of DUI must be filed within a certain period of time (which varies between states) of the date of offense, or the charges will be dismissed outright.

34. PRIVATE PROPERTY - A person who has not driven the car on a public highway cannot be suspended for drunk driving.

35. FAILURE TO DISCLOSE EXPERTS - The failure of the prosecutor to disclose the state's expert(s) will cause those witnesses to be barred from testifying against the defendant.

36. FORCED BLOOD DRAWS - In Florida, the police may not take a blood test against the driver's consent where there has not been an injury involved, or the result is inadmissible.