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Defenses in a DUI Case

On Behalf of | Mar 3, 2021 | DUI

There are plenty of ways an accomplished attorney can attack the prosecution’s case of DUI. Sometimes, a DUI case can be inherently weakened before the suspect says one word to the police. Below, our firm lays out a few common ways attorneys may poke holes in Florida DUI cases.

Accident Report Privilege

Not everything you say to a police officer immediately after a crash may be used against you in a criminal (or civil) trial. Fortunately, you have a statutory defense available to you if the prosecution attempts to weaponize the words you used when reporting the accident. This is often referred to as the “accident report privilege.”

You are generally required, in Florida, to notify the police when you are involved in a car crash. To encourage licensed drivers to be honest and forthcoming when police are called to the scene of an accident and when they are filling out the police report, the state has allowed this legal protection for Florida motorists. This generally extends to anything you say before you are read your Miranda rights. If the police don’t “Mirandize” you, the prosecution may not have much to go on.

Failing to Observe For 20 Minutes

Before administering a breath test to a DUI suspect in Florida, the police must have reasonably observed the suspect for a minimum of 20 minutes. This rule is in place to ensure that suspects did not ingest anything or “regurgitate” prior to blowing into the breathalyzer; foreign substances may result in an inaccurate reading. This matters because your breath test may not be usable in court if the arresting officer did not properly observe the 20-minute period.

The same section of the Florida Administrative Code that lays out the 20-minute requirement also covers the credentials required to lawfully operate a breathalyzer. If anyone without a permit issued by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement conducts your breath test, you might be able to suppress the BAC reading in court.

Challenging the Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety tests are famously unscientific; there is no reliable way to conclusively determine that a driver was operating a car under the influence of alcohol or drugs solely based on the driver’s performance on the field sobriety tests. Officers generally use field sobriety tests as justification to keep investigating a DUI stop. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to attack the credibility of the results of field sobriety tests. Failing to take into account the slope of the ground where the suspect performed the tests or any medical conditions could cast that evidence into doubt.

Every Case is Different

The best defenses for your situation depend on the facts of your case. Pulling over and arresting someone for DUI requires strict adherence to numerous protocols and procedures. If the police deviate from any of these processes, you may have a solid defense in court. Of course, the best asset for you after getting charged with DUI is an aggressive attorney who will zealously protect your rights and exhaust every avenue to improve your position as a defendant. You have no time to waste — contact Titan Law today to set up a time to speak with our team.