In Florida, thousands of drivers each year are charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. That lapse in judgment can lead to serious long-term consequences, ranging from fines to license suspension, court-mandated counseling, and possible jail time.
A DUI also will be on your record permanently, which can deny you opportunities or cause embarrassment in the future. But a drunk driving charge is something you can fight.
Fighting the evidence supporting the DUI charge
Like with any criminal charge, the burden falls on the prosecution to prove that you were driving under the influence. If it’s possible to cast doubt on the prosecution’s case, you may see charges dismissed.
The state usually uses three methods of proof:
- Any admission you make to a police officer after being detained
- The results of a field sobriety test (standing on one leg, walking a line and turning, etc.)
- A chemical test, like a Breathalyzer, blood or urine test
It’s possible to challenge the last two pieces of evidence. Generally, the challenge will center on whether officers or technicians applied the tests correctly. Anything from uncertain chains of custody to ill-suited conditions to faulty equipment can cast doubt on this type of evidence, leading to a dismissal.
Challenging the validity of the stop itself
The police don’t have the right to stop motorists for no reason and then look for reasons to arrest them. To pull over a driver, the police need probable cause.
This means something like observing a driver swerving, drifting or weaving. Or a traffic infraction like driving with a broken taillight, running lights or speeding. If the police can’t sufficiently demonstrate a reasonable suspicion prompting a traffic stop, the court may dismiss your DUI.
A DUI can be a significant life event, and you’re highly incentivized to avoid those consequences if you can. Challenging a DUI isn’t necessarily easy, but there are ways to attack the state’s case and create enough doubt to secure a dismissal or acquittal.