If you are doing research on your charges, many lawyers have created detailed websites for that purpose. Many are excellent but do not necessarily aid you in your search for an attorney. Be aware that, like researching your own medical issues, you may subject yourself to an overly dire view of your situation. I can put your case in context and provide you with an explanation tailored to your unique situation. All you need to do is call 561-471-8100
DUI – THE BASICS
In order for police to arrest for a DUI, they do not need conclusive proof. All they require is “probable cause”. Probable Cause is a minimal standard but it does require reasonable proof or evidence as to each part of a DUI charge.
The legal elements of a DUI charge are:
- The person is in “actual physical control” of a motor vehicle.
This is not limited to driving. Sitting awake or passed out or “sleeping” in a motor vehicle with the keys available to you is “actual physical control”
- The person is “under the influence of” alcoholic beverage and/or illegal or prescribed controlled substances.
At time of arrest, this element is satisfied by what a reasonable person (officer) would think based on his or her observations of the individual as well as observations of a person’s physical mannerisms and performance on the Field Sobriety Tasks administered by the police.
- That the influence of alcohol and/or controlled substances has “impaired” the physical and/or mental faculties of the person.
Again, this evidence may be the result of physical testing at the scene, observations of speech and physical behavior and driving conduct prior to the traffic stop.
In Palm Beach and other counties, prosecutors have been offering people charged with DUI the opportunity to enter a “Diversionary Program”. Although this program may appear attractive, it is essential to get proper legal advice before determining that it is the best course for you to take.
BIG DECISION TO MAKE – SO LITTLE TIME
If you submitted to or refused breath (blood and urine also) testing after your arrest you have only ten (10) days to decide how you want to handle any impact on your license. If you refused testing, you license to drive will be suspended for at least 12 months (1st refusal) or eighteen months with a prior refusal on your record. If you tested and the result was .08 or over, your license will be suspended for six months. These situations can be challenged at a hearing but….
TEN DAYS is all you have to decide.
If you accept your suspension or your challenge is unsuccessful (most are), a 6-month suspension comes with a thirty-day period of no driving at all and a hardship permit after that. The 12- or 18-month suspensions carries a 90 day no driving penalty before a hardship. If you are a multiple offender with at least 2 prior convictions, no hardship will be issued at all.
For first time DUI, you can waive your right to an administrative hearing on a license suspension and you will receive a hardship permit and there will likely be no point in the DUI process when you will not be able to drive for employment purposes.
If you you believe your license is subject to suspension for blowing over .08, or if you refused testing, you need to preserve your right to a hearing on the issue. You must hire a lawyer within TEN (10) days of your arrest.
If you blew over 0.08 or if you refused breath, blood, or urine sampling, you will suffer a suspension of your driver’s license. If you have refused testing on a previous stop, you can be charged with a misdemeanor for subsequent refusals. These suspensions are “administrative suspensions” which are not dependent on the outcome of a DUI case. You may eventually be found not guilty on a DUI, or your case may be dismissed, but the suspension for refusal may stay with you if you do not address it within the first ten days.
Being arrested for DUI is an event that literally can happen to anyone. Do not let your immediate fears and emotions prevent you from seeking help from a criminal attorney. I am happy, for no charge, to hear from you and I can, at least, give you a general idea of the way in which your case will move through the system.
If you wish for me to provide more substantial assistance, I am one of the most experienced criminal lawyers in Palm Beach County and I believe in reason and straight talk when it comes to financial issues. I think, particularly if you have responded to direct mail solicitations or talked to other lawyers, you may be pleasantly surprised at what I have to say.
Call Steven Gomberg – The West Palm Beach Criminal Attorney – 561-471-8100 or Email me using CONTACT form below (Subject “DUI”)