More than 2% of Americans (4.2 million people) admit to driving intoxicated, just in the last 30 days and the percentage is much higher among college age people. As we all know, over the course of our driving lifetime, that means that most of us have probably driven drunk at least once in our life. While I discourage any sort of drunk driving, if you ever get caught or even just accused of being DUI, then you will need a good defender of your rights, so feel free to look through the links below and my office will be happy to help you.
Often times I'm asked, especially with first time offenders, why should I get an attorney? My answer may surprise and will probably be different than most DUI attorneys, but I believe strongly in being honest with my clients. Truth is you don't ALWAYS need an attorney. If you know you are going to plea guilty regardless of any defenses you may have then certainly you can go to court and plea guilty and usually avoid jail. HOWEVER, within that phrase above lies the reason that you should actually consider getting an attorney: Defenses. Many clients think that because they have high blows or just know they were intoxicated that they have no defense. There have been many times, I have met with a client and found defenses that they never knew existed. As you can see by my 4th Amendment page, there are many reasons cops stop people without legal justification. Many officers say they had a hunch that driving was suspicious or they may even outright lie about things like broken taillamps or weaving. These stops are against the Constitution and any actions you did after such an illegal stop would be suppressed and usually dismissed, regardless of how intoxicated you were.
Of course, there may be many other reasons such as an invalid breath testing machine for example. As much as the police and FDLE like to tout the accuracy of breath testing machines, the truth is that they are just like any other machine. If anyone has ever had a computer crash on them, then you understand that these machines that are supposed to be complex and analyze your blood alcohol are even more prone to breaking down and not properly maintained. There are other problems too, that clients encounter. Often people did nothing wrong but were merely in the wrong place at the wrong time by driving through a checkpoint. Checkpoints are often used as a wide net and it more often than not captures innocent drivers than it does stop intoxicated drivers. I have experience in challenging the propriety of these stops, which can sometimes lead to a case dismissal, if the police do not follow their own guidelines. It should also be remembered that regardless of the reason for the stop, it is important to challenge these at the DMV (aka DHSMV) level. One's ability to drive is often the most important thing for people. DMV hearings are different from criminal hearings and an experienced Pinellas and Hillsborough attorney like myself know the ways to get the DMV to potentially invalidate the license suspension that is immediately put on you once you are arrested for a DUI. Furthermore, it is crucial to get an attorney as soon as possible because you only have 10 days to respond! Public defenders are not even allowed to handle these hearings, thus the need to get a private attorney as soon as possible.
In short, even if you don't hire an attorney, it is always a good idea to meet with one to talk about those defenses and see if we can avoid having a DUI conviction on your record. Read through some of my pages or even better give me a call and we can talk about your case and set up a free consultation.