Being convicted in Florida of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can cost you in many ways, including expensive fines and a criminal record that can never be expunged. In addition, you face suspension or other restrictions of your driver’s license. Challenging the conviction, sentence and other sanctions requires a carefully thought out and executed appeals strategy.
A successful appeal of a DUI conviction can result in a reversal, a new trial and/or a new sentencing hearing. However, you must have grounds for appeal, which means showing that there were mistakes made by the police or that legal errors occurred at trial. Some common grounds to appeal a Florida DUI conviction include:
- Lack of basis for the traffic stop and sobriety test — The police may have pulled you over without a legal basis, such as a traffic violation, and subjected you to testing without probable cause.
- Violation of Miranda rights — The police have a duty to advise a DUI suspect of their right against self-incrimination and to consult with an attorney. While there is no right to refuse a Breathalyzer test, any statements taken are inadmissible if the Miranda warnings are not given.
- Improper admission of breathalyzer evidence — There may have been inaccuracies in the way the breath test was administered, such as in the calibration of the breathalyzer machine or in the handling of the results.
- Improper reliance on other evidence — While a DUI can be based on a field sobriety test without breathalyzer results, there is a greater margin for error and so additional evidence beyond the officer’s testimony may have been called for.
- Ineffective assistance of counsel — The defense attorney at the trial level failed to make motions or objections necessary to protect your rights.
In addition to the DUI prosecution, the Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles will automatically suspend your driver’s license based on breathalyzer test results or refusal to take the test. However, you can challenge the suspension by requesting an administrative review hearing within 10 days of the DUI arrest. This will allow you to be issued a limited Business Purposes License (BPO) while the review process is pending. At the hearing, you have the right to be represented by counsel, to call witnesses (including the arresting officer) and to present other evidence. The hearing officer may agree to restore your license. If not, the suspension will last for 30 to 90 days. After that, you may be able to qualify for a temporary restricted license based on a demonstration of hardship.
An experienced Florida DUI attorney can examine the facts of your case, determine the available grounds for appeal and assist you in the processes for seeking license restoration.
The attorneys at Largey Law Firm are skilled at challenging DUI convictions and license suspensions. To schedule a free initial consultation, contact us online. We have offices in Tavares, Clermont and Inverness.