Defenses to Drunk Driving Charges

 

Altogether too many people believe that there is no hope of avoiding a DUI if the police officer says that they failed the breathalyzer. But nothing could be further from the truth. When you have a lawyer with a detailed knowledge of Florida’s laws, combined with a commitment to each client and the ability to analyze each case and strategize your defense, there is a very good chance that you may be able to avoid the disruption to your life that comes with having a DUI on your record.

DUI defense Attorney Stephen Maltezos was once a Hillsborough County DUI prosecutor, and he knows exactly how these cases are handled and what he can do to challenge the charges against you.

There are four areas where your attorney can work at knocking down the prosecutor’s case. When Steve represents you, he will investigate carefully to determine whether the police officer had a legitimate reason to stop you. If not, he will attempt to have the charges thrown out.

He will also look at the manner in which the field sobriety exercises were conducted. Police officers are often poorly trained and do not administer the tests properly. They may deliberately interpret the results to be indicative of intoxication, when in fact they are no such thing. And research performed by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), which developed the tests, has shown that they produce such a high percentage of false positives in completely sober people as to be all but useless.

Steve will examine the manner in which the breathalyzer test was administered. He will determine whether the officer observed you for the required 20 minute period prior to administering the test. He will learn the age of the equipment, its repair record, and how recently it was calibrated, looking for indications of obsolescence or malfunctioning of the equipment. He will determine who administered the test and the amount of training that person had, and will ascertain that the person who signed as the administrator of the test was actually the one who conducted it. He will question the manner in which the officer read or explained Florida’s Implied Consent law to determine if there were inaccuracies of misrepresentations. He will look at your personal health and habits: did you recently use mouthwash, do you wear a dental appliance, or do other conditions apply that could affect the validity of the test. If blood was drawn, he will question the circumstances under which the draw was made and challenge the necessity of a blood draw, which is only allowed without your permission in very restrictive situations.

He will also look to suppress statements you made to police after your arrest. The officer may ask you questions freely as long as you haven’t been arrested and are free to leave. But often it becomes clear that you are being arrested, that you are not free to go, and no one reads you your Miranda rights. In these cases, statements you made after the arrest may be suppressed. Florida law does not allow statements made when giving information for an accident report to be used against you in court unless the police officer specifically states that he is no longer taking an accident report but is now conducting a criminal investigation and advises you of your right to remain silent.

 

In addition to these main areas where your attorney may be able to suppress evidence wrongly obtained, there various affirmative defenses. For example, you were not the person driving the car, you were entrapped, you were driving under duress, or circumstances were such that you had to drive to prevent a greater danger. Although these are less often applicable, they may be relevant in your particular case, and Tampa/St. Petersburg/Clearwater area DUI attorney Steve Maltezos will use any legal and valid means to defend you against the charges you are facing.

The bottom line is that there are many ways a great Florida DUI attorney can turn things around and prevent you from being convicted of DUI. Although the law does not allow us to make any specific promises regarding the outcome of your case, Steve Maltezos has a superb record of obtaining positive results for his clients in Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. He will never push a plea bargain on you simply for expediency, unless it is clearly in your best interest, and he will take your case all the way to trial if the matter cannot be negotiated in the pretrial period to your satisfaction. He is an aggressive, knowledgeable, and highly skilled advocate who gives every case he signs on his focused and dedicated attention. In Steve’s eyes, you are presumed to be innocent, and he will fight for you with every bit of his considerable skill and experience from the first day he meets you until your case is resolved. Call the Maltezos law office immediately following a DUI arrest. The initial consultation is free.