According to Florida law, a person can be convicted of driving under the influence if:
- The state can prove the accused was driving while their faculties were impaired OR
- The state can prove that the accused was operating a motor vehicle with a Blood or Breath Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher.
If you are arrested for a DUI in Florida, here are some things you should expect about the legal process:
First Appearance and Bail: Under Florida Law, you are entitled to a “first appearance and bond hearing” within 24 hours of your arrest. At this hearing the presiding judge will review the arrest report for probable cause and if there is probable cause you’re your arrest, set a bond.
Arraignment: This is where you will be required to enter your plea, and in nearly every DUI case that will be Not Guilty. Your may or may not need to appear at this hearing, most often depending on the judge’s practice and custom.
Motor Vehicle Hearing:
To preserve your right to drive in Florida beyond the 10 day period provided for on your DUI Citation, you must request a formal review hearing within ten (10) days after your license has been taken from you by the arresting officer (after your arrest), or you lose the right to the hearing and you will not get a driving permit! A FORMAL ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW HEARING must be scheduled and witnesses PROPERLY AND TIMELY subpoenaed by your attorney. The Hearing will be scheduled about 6 weeks out and this will give you an opportunity to obtain a driving permit while your contesting the administrative suspension of your license (as long as your license was otherwise valid at the time of your arrest). Most often, you will be able to have a permit until after the DMV hearing is completed. Again, if your license was taken and you do not request a formal review hearing then your license will be suspended upon the expiration of the 10-day period provided for on your DUI Citation.
PURPOSE OF THE HEARING
The objective of the hearing is threefold! One, to get a permit to continue driving while your defense is being built! Two, to try and win the hearing and get your regular license back (although you still face a license suspension through the criminal proceeding). Three, and most importantly, to take full advantage of the opportunity to obtain valuable testimony against the officers who will be testifying against you in the criminal proceeding, as well as other possible witnesses (primarily in accident cases or blood draw cases). We say testimony against the officers, and not merely testimony of or from the officers because the criminal process is adversarial by nature – that’s why the arresting officer’s police reports (arrest and booking, field sobriety report, etc.,) are considered hearsay and inadmissible in court! You must take full advantage of every opportunity you have to question the police!
This hearing has no bearing on your criminal charges.
However, valuable information/testimony can be obtained for future use in your criminal case, so Effective Questioning of the Police is crucial to defending you in your DUI case. You may or may not need to appear at this hearing.
Our firm will review your extensive DUI Questionnaire, review all paperwork received by the DMV from the arresting officer, review the State Attorney’s Discovery paperwork, your DUI video, have our “in-house” investigator review your case and go to the scene (most cases), conduct whatever research may need to be done, and discuss the facts and circumstances of the case, and the issues presented, with you prior to said hearing, among other things. You Need a Qualified DUI Firm to represent you through every stage of the litigation process, and the DMV hearing is part of that process!
Pre-Trial Conference: Your attorney will appear on your behalf at the pre-trial conference. The court will review and discuss the status of your case and schedule further hearings as necessary. You will likely have several pre-trial hearings which your attorney can attend for you.
Suppression Hearing: The court may suppress some or all of the evidence against you if your constitutional rights have been violated. Your attorney will file motions to suppress, if applicable. You may or may not need to appear at this hearing.
Trial: You may have a trial by jury or a trial in front of a judge.
Sentencing: The court imposes a sentence after a conviction at trial or after a plea bargain is accepted and a plea entered. Sentences may include jail time, public service, alcohol classes and fines. There are several mandatory minimum sanctions that must be imposed by the court.
We want to BEAT your DUI Charge! It’s that simple! We will do everything possible to resolve your case favorably, and without the need for trial .