Articles Posted in DUI

Many DUI charges arise out of traffic stops that occur because of erratic driving or other circumstances that indicate a driver may be intoxicated. While the police are permitted to stop motorists, they generally must have a reasonable belief that a person is committing a crime or is about to engage in criminal activity for a stop to be lawful. There is an exception, though, for DUI checkpoints. In other words, under Florida law, the police are permitted to stop motorists without cause to assess whether they may be impaired without violating their rights. The police must comply with specific parameters when they conduct DUI checkpoints, though, and if they do not, they may overstep their lawful rights. If you are charged with a DUI following a stop at a checkpoint, you should meet with a trusted Sarasota DUI defense attorney to assess your options.

Florida’s DUI Checkpoint Rules

Florida is one of several states where it is lawful for the police to set up DUI checkpoints. The police must abide by certain rules and regulations when setting up and conducting checkpoints, though. First, checkpoints cannot be conducted in secret. In other words, the police must notify the public of checkpoints. Specifically, they must publish the location and the date of the checkpoint prior to when it is set up. The checkpoint must also be conducted in compliance with certain guidelines, which means, in part, that officers cannot randomly or discriminately stop certain vehicles but must have clear procedures regarding who will be stopped.

Additionally, police officers are limited by a three-minute rule. In other words, they cannot detain a driver for more than three minutes in most circumstances. If a stop exceeds three minutes, the checkpoint should be suspended, and the police should only stop select vehicles until the traffic is stopped for less than three minutes. Continue Reading ›

If a person is stopped due to suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI), the police will typically ask the person to submit to field sobriety tests and chemical testing to assess whether he or she is impaired. Florida’s implied consent statute requires licensed drivers to submit to chemical testing and the refusal to submit to said tests can result in the suspension of the driver’s license. Additionally, in many cases, the refusal to submit to chemical testing can be introduced at trial as evidence of guilt.

A Florida appellate court recently held, however, that in cases where the police fail to advise a driver of the consequences of refusing to submit to chemical testing, evidence of the driver’s refusal to submit to testing cannot be introduced at a trial for a DUI charge. If you live in Sarasota and are currently charged with DUI or other crimes, you consult a trusted Sarasota crime defense attorney to develop a strategy for your defense.

Facts Surrounding the Defendant’s Arrest

Allegedly, the defendant, who was driving an SUV, rear-ended a person driving a scooter. The defendant did not stop after he struck the person but continued driving. He then struck a stop sign and briefly exited his vehicle before resuming driving. He was pulled over shortly after the incident. He was transported to a police station where he refused to submit to either field sobriety tests or chemical testing. The defendant was charged with leaving the scene of an accident with death, DUI causing damage to property or injury, and DUI causing death. Prior to the trial, he filed a motion to preclude the State from introducing evidence of his refusal to submit to any kind of testing, on the grounds that the arresting officer did not read him Florida’s implied consent law or advise him of the adverse consequences he might face for refusing to submit to testing. The court denied his motion. The defendant was subsequently convicted of all charges, after which he appealed.

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