DUI Defense

BROWARD COUNTY DUI ATTORNEY
FORT LAUDERDALE DUI ATTORNEY

The Law Office of Dave L. Simmons, P.A. is dedicated to defending those individuals accused of a criminal offense. Mr. Simmons is an experienced criminal trial attorney serving as a former Broward County Prosecutor and former Broward County Public Defender. Mr. Simmons has represented hundreds of individuals charged with DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE or DUI. The Law Office, conveniently located near the courthouse in downtown Ft. Lauderdale, offers a FREE CONSULTATION so that we may discuss you case in person, and affordable payment plans can be arranged.

With the State of Florida continuously enhancing the penalties for DUI, it is imperative that you seek representation from an experienced DUI lawyer in Broward County. Mr. Simmons is a former DUI prosecutor for the State a Florida. His skill and experience would be invaluable in the defense of your DUI charge.

ADMINISTRATIVE SUSPENSION

The First Step in confronting your DUI arrest is to attempt to secure your driving privilege by:

Securing A Hardship License By Waiving The Formal Review Hearing
Or Contesting The Administrative Suspension Of Your Driving Privilege
"The New 10 Day Rule"

For First Time Offenders Of The DUI Law, the "new 10 day rule" will allow individuals to immediately obtain a Business Purpose license by (1) appearing at the DMV within 10 days of your arrest and signing a waiver of the hearing to contest the administrative suspension of your driving privilege and (2) signing up for DUI school.

“Business Purposes Only” is a restricted driver’s license limiting your driving privilege to any driving that is necessary to maintain ones livelihood, including work related driving, driving for medical and religious purposes, driving for educational purposes and driving to purchase necessities such as groceries.

For Repeat Offenders Of The DUI Law OR Those Who Still Wish To Contest The Administrative Suspension, upon issuing you a DUI citation, the State of Florida and the Department of Motor Vehicles will seek an administrative suspension of your driving privilege. Upon your arrest, the actual DUI citation will act as your temporary permit to drive unless it is checked that you are ineligible for this temporary permit. If your license was suspended prior to your DUI, you may be ineligible for this permit.

Please be aware that you have only (10) days from the date of your DUI arrest to contest the administrative suspension of your driving privilege. This must be done in writing by petitioning the Department of Motor Vehicles for a formal review hearing.

If You Took The Breath Test And Registered Over The Legal Limit (0.08), the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will seek to suspend your driver’s license for a period of (6) months. A formal review hearing can be scheduled to contest this suspension of your driver’s license. Once this formal hearing has been requested in writing, the Department of Motor Vehicles will set the hearing at a future hearing date and will issue you a temporary “Business Purposes Only” license.

If you are successful in challenging the administrative suspension through the formal review process, the Department of Motor Vehicles will reinstate, fully, your driver’s license. If the DMV finds that the suspension was lawful, they will impose a (6) month suspension of your driver’s license. For the first (30) days of this suspension, the DMV will preclude any type of driving (know as 30 days hard time). For the remaining (5) months, you will be considered for a hardship license under the following criteria (1) that you do not have two or more DUI convictions on your record; (2) that you have enrolled in DUI School.

If You Refused The Breath And/Or Urine Test, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will seek to suspend your driver’s license for a period of (12) months. A formal review hearing can be scheduled to contest this suspension of your driver’s license. Once this formal hearing has been requested in writing, the Department of Motor Vehicles will set the hearing at a future hearing date and will issue you a temporary “Business Purposes Only” license.

“Business Purposes Only” is a restricted driver’s license limiting your driving privilege to any driving that is necessary to maintain ones livelihood, including work related driving, driving for medical and religious purposes, driving for educational purposes and driving to purchase necessities such as groceries.

If you are successful in changeling the administrative suspension through the formal review process, the Department of Motor Vehicles will reinstate, fully, your driver’s license. If the DMV finds that the suspension was lawful, they will impose a (12) month suspension of your driver’s license. For the first (90) days of this suspension, the DMV will preclude any type of driving (know as 90 days hard time). For the remaining (9) months, you will be considered for a hardship license under the following criteria (1) that you do not have two or more DUI convictions on your record; (2) that you have enrolled in DUI School.

If you have had a prior DUI Refusal, the DMV will seek to suspend your driver's license for a period of 18 months without the possibility of a hardship license. The only way to avoid this harsh suspension of your driving privilege is to contest the administrative suspension in a formal review hearing. If you are successful in challenging the administrative suspension through the formal review process, the Department of Motor Vehicles will reinstate, fully, your driver’s license.

UNDERSTANDING DUI LAW IN FLORIDA

Upon your arrest for DUI, the State of Florida, acting through the State’s Attorney’s Office, will seek a conviction (an adjudication of guilt) in your case as mandated by Florida Statute. A DUI conviction can have far reaching and lasting consequences including a negative impact on your reputation and livelihood. The following is a detailed description of DUI Law in the State of Florida.

  • Driving Under The Influence Or DUI: is defined by Fla. Stat. 316.193(1) and (2)(a) as; (1) Driving a vehicle or in actual physical control of a vehicle and; (2) the person is either (a) under the influence of alcoholic beverages or any chemical substance to the extent that the person's normal faculties are impaired; or (b) has a breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or higher; or (c) had a blood-alcohol level of (0.08) or higher.

  • Actual Physical Control: is defined as a person inside the vehicle with the capability to operate the vehicle, regardless of whether the person is actually operating the vehicle at the time.

The Florida Legislature over the years has continuously increased the penalties for a DUI conviction. The charge of a first DUI is a hybrid between a first and second degree misdemeanor. There are enhanced penalties if the person has a breath or blood alcohol level of .15 or higher or was accompanied by a minor at the time of the offense. Also, there are enhanced penalties for DUI with property damage (Damage to another's property during the commission of a DUI). Moreover, the penalties for DUI become enhanced based on the accumulation of multiple DUI's and their timing.

DUI PENALTIES

Law Offices of Dave L. Simmons, P.A.
The Law Offices of Dave L. Simmons, P.A.
"Defending Your DUI Charge in Court"

Upon your arrest for DUI, the State of Florida, acting through the State’s Attorney’s Office, will seek a conviction (an adjudication of guilt) in your case as mandated by Florida Statute. A DUI conviction can have far reaching and lasting consequences including a negative impact on your reputation and livelihood.

  • Driving Under The Influence Or DUI: is defined by Fla. Stat. 316.193(1) and (2)(a) as; (1) Driving a vehicle or in actual physical control of a vehicle and; (2) the person is either (a) under the influence of alcoholic beverages or any chemical substance to the extent that the person's normal faculties are impaired; or (b) has a breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or higher; or (c) had a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or higher.

  • Actual Physical Control: is defined as a person inside the vehicle with the capability to operate the vehicle, regardless of whether the person is actually operating the vehicle at the time

In an attempt to secure a conviction on your DUI arrest it is the charge of the State's Attorney's office to look at the Totality of the Circumstances surrounding the facts of the arrest and the police investigation. However, every DUI arrest has its own unique set of facts. And every defense of a DUI arrest starts with a skilled and experienced DUI attorney conducting an extensive and comprehensive evaluation of the facts and the police investigation surrounding the DUI arrest. A skilled and experienced DUI attorney will look to many of following defenses and strategies in an effort to have your case dismissed or reduced to a lesser charge:

  • Challenging The Reason For The Stop Of The Vehicle.

    • Illegal Search And Seizure Without A Warrant: The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects against unreasonable searches and seizures and generally requires a warrant signed by a Judge based on probable cause for a search and seizure to be lawful. However, there are many exceptions to this general rule. Often in their attempt to ferret out crime, police officers infringe on citizens' fourth amendment rights against unlawful searches and seizure without a warrant, the most often encountered search and seizure. Police officers cannot stop or detain individuals for any reason. An officer must have "Reasonable Suspicion" to detain an individual and probable cause to effectuate an arrest.

    • Reasonable Suspicion is defined by the Courts as information which is sufficient to cause a reasonable law enforcement officer taking into account his or her training to reasonably believe that the person being detained is, was, or was about to involved in criminal activity. The officer must be able to articulate more than suspicion or a hunch of criminal activity.

    • A common example of when an officer is in conflict with this "Reasonable Suspicion" standard is when an officer pulls a motor vehicle driver over for a simple traffic violation. Many times, the officer's stop is not lawful because the driver did not actually commit the traffic violation. Police officers often make mistakes based on fact and law. An experienced DUI defense attorney will be able to evaluate the case based on its unique set of facts and see potential problems with the police investigation.

    • Motion to Suppress: an evidentiary hearing before the Court, could be filed in such a case. If the Court finds that the officer violated your constitutional rights, the Court would than "suppress the evidence" and preclude the State Attorney's Office from utilizing the evidence in their case. This suppression of the evidence, known as the "Exclusionary Rule" is an extremely compelling ruling by the Court and often leads to the case being dismissed or the charges reduced.

  • Challenging The "Classic" Standard Observations Of The Stopping Officer And/Or Arresting Officer That Often Leads To The DUI Investigation. Almost every DUI investigation includes observations by the officer of certain "symptoms of intoxication" that are included in the police report as evidence of impairment. However, what is not included in the report is that all of these "symptoms of impairment" are often caused by non-alcohol related causes or are not a direct indicator of impairment. A skilled DUI attorney will impress upon a jury in trial or a judge upon a motion that the observations made by the officer are caused by something other than alcohol or are not an indicator of impairment.

    • Bloodshot And Watery Eyes: can be caused by fatigue, eye strain, allergies and smoke.
    • Flushed Face: can be caused by nervousness, embarrassment and anger or frustration related to the DUI stop .
    • Slurred Speech: can be caused by intimidation by the police officer or just an officers mistaken knowledge about the person normal speech pattern.
    • Odor Of Alcohol On Breath: the smell of alcohol is odorless and it's the "mixing agents" that leave a smell on ones breath. A police officer cannot discern how many drinks an individual has consumed just by the smell of these "mixing agents." All that can be gleaned from the observation of "odor of alcohol on the breath" is that the DUI suspect may have consumed some amount of an alcoholic beverage within a recent amount of time.

  • Challenging The Field Sobriety Exercises: During a DUI investigation, Field Sobriety Exercises or "Tests" are a common and heavily relied upon method for an officer to establish probable cause to effectuate an arrest for DUI. There are three field sobriety tests that have been approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. They include (1) Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test; (2) The Walk and Turn Test; and (3) the One Leg Stand Test. An investigating officer will look for "Clues" of "Poor Performance" based off these three tests to establish an opinion that the driver has mental and/or physical impairment of their normal faculties by alcohol or drug consumption. A skilled DU lawyer will challenge the accuracy and reliability of these tests including some of the following strategies:

    • Challenging the officers knowledge of the DUI suspect's natural level of coordination or equilibrium.
    • Challenging the natural level of fitness, balance, composure in the face of pressure; age etc.
    • The tests were performed on slippery or uneven surface conditions.
    • The DUI suspect was distracted by flashing lights.
    • The DUI suspect was distracted by excessive noise often caused by the close proximity to traffic.
    • The DUI suspect was impacted by a high level of anxiety, nervousness or frustration.
    • The tests were conducted with unsuitable footwear such as high heels, boots, or flip flops.
    • The tests were performed in weather such as rain, wind or cold.
    • The tests were not properly administered by the officer.
    • The tests are inherently unreliable and too subjective with empirical evidence that one in three suspects are wrongfully convicted.

  • Challenging The Breathalyzer Test Results: When a DUI suspect gives a BAC reading that is above (0.08), this is a basis for the State Attorney's Office to file a DUI charge. A BAC reading of (0.08) or higher is objective evidence that a DUI suspect is impaired by alcohol. However, this "objective" evidence is contradictable and rebuttable in Court. A skilled DUI attorney will employ strategies that my apply to your case that would prove that the BAC results are unreliable including:

    • Physiological factors as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, heart burn, acid reflux, and dietary issues.
    • Mouth Alcohol.
    • Blood Alcohol was rising and at the time of the DUI stop was below the legal limit but at the time of testing the level had increased to above the legal limit.
    • Improper 20 Minute Observation Period.
    • Improper maintenance and calibration of the breathalyzer.
    • Breath testing machines mistake other chemicals for alcohol.
    • A "disconnect" with high BAC results and the DUI suspects overall condition.

A skilled DUI attorney will look to these strategies among others to assert a strong and compelling defense in an effort to have your DUI case dismissed or the charge reduced to a lesser offense. If you have been charged with this offense by way of an arrest you may feel embarrassed and upset at the situation. It is the goal of the Law Office of Dave L. Simmons, P.A. to have your cased dismissed by utilizing every option that is available, including negotiations with the State Attorney, motion practice, and trial, and upon dismissal to have the case removed from your permanent record.

The Law Offices of Dave L. Simmons, P.A. vigorously defends its clients against the loss of their driving privilege and all other criminal sanctions stemming from the charge of DUI. Take the time to know your rights and defenses surrounding this charge by calling the office to set up your free consultation so that we may discuss your case in person: (954) 765-3540