Questions and Answers About South Florida DUI, Criminal, Domestic Violence Cases and Home Insurance Claims
Many of those charged with a crime in Florida have little experience with the law, and they naturally have many questions. From information about how the local legal system works to the possible consequences of your charge, find answers to many common questions here.
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Do I need an public adjuster?
No. In fact, a public adjuster does not have the ability to file a lawsuit on your behalf. The Florida Statutes are written in such a way that allows for a homeowner to hire an attorney (at no cost to the homeowner) to fight for their rights under their policy. Insurance companies can be liable to pay for your attorney's fees under statute, so if you have an attorney on your claim, then the insurance company may take steps to issue proper payment before our fees start to build-up. It is a leverage that cannot be used by a public adjuster.
Why wouldn't I just go through my insurance company?
In a perfect world, your insurance company should adjust each and every claim with the homeowner fairly. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world and insurance companies have been notorious for putting their own interests ahead of their insureds' interest. Many claims are wrongfully denied or underpaid.
How do I know if I have a claim?
If you have purchased insurance for your home, that policy will layout what damage is and isn't covered. Most policies are written in such a way that a trained professional eye is needed to understand them. They can look and read like a foreign language to some people.
Do I have to put a breathalyzer in my car if I’m convicted of DUI?
If it’s your first DUI and you blew under a .150 or refused the test, then in most cases you won’t have to put a breathalyzer in your car.
However if it’s your first DUI and you blew over a .150, then upon conviction you will be required to install the breathalyzer in your car for 6 months.
For all second DUI convictions in Florida you will have to install the breathalyzer in your car for one to two years depending on the circumstances.
Can I be arrested and convicted of DUI if I’m sleeping in my car?
Yes, you can and will be arrested for DUI if you’re found sleeping in the driver’s seat of a car. You don’t have to be driving to get a DUI. According to Florida law you can be arrested for DUI as long as you have actual physical control of the vehicle.
What that means is that you have to be physically in the vehicle and be able to operate it. So if you’re sleeping in the driver’s seat and the car keys are in the ignition, or on the seat next to you, or even in your pocket, you are legally considered to have actual physical control of the car and can still be arrested for DUI.
However if you’re sleeping in the backseat and the keys are far from you—like in the glove box, that wouldn’t be considered actual physical control.
Do I have to do the Field Sobriety Exercises?
Throughout the course of a DUI investigation you are not legally required to do anything. And there is no legal penalty for refusing to do the field sobriety exercises. You won’t lose your license for saying no here.
If you refuse to do the tests, you’ll probably be arrested. But once the officer started the investigation, you were very likely to be arrested anyway—even if you managed to ace the field sobriety exercises, which is very unlikely. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen sober people fail them.
So remember, there is no legal penalty for refusing, and in many cases it’s in your best interest to just say no.
Do I have to give a breath test?
The most important thing to remember during a DUI investigation is that you don’t HAVE to do anything. So no, you don’t have to blow.
There are penalties for refusing the breath test, and that’s what the officer asking for it is going to try and scare you with.
If it’s your first time refusing, the penalty is a one year suspension of your driver’s license, and if it’s your second time refusing it’s an 18 month suspension of your license. For a second refusal the prosecution could also charge you with an additional crime.
However what the police don’t tell you is that if you decide to blow and you’re over the legal limit of .08, your license will be suspended for 6 months and you’ve just given the prosecution solid evidence against you.
If you don’t blow and your license is suspended, you still have 10 days from the time of your arrest to petition the DMV for a hardship license—meaning you probably won’t lose your ability to drive.
Will I be un-arrested if blow under .08?
Not a chance.
Sounds crazy, right? You blew under the limit, case closed. Unfortunately not.
You’ve already been arrested on the roadside for DUI based on the police officer’s opinion that you were impaired, and unfortunately the laws allow them to continue to persecute—I mean PROSECUTE you even if you are under the legal limit.
So instead of letting you go, the police will proceed to further investigate. They’ll think that if you weren’t drunk you must have taken drugs and now ask for a urine sample. Now, we all know drug tests pick up what’s in your system for a while—usually a few weeks time. The bad news for you is if you smoked a joint last weekend at your friends party, it could now be used against you in a DUI case even though it had no effect on your driving.
This is one of the reasons why there’s almost never any incentive to give a breath test. You don’t want to open yourself up to further investigation.
What is a hardship license?
A hardship license is a special license the DMV can grant you for the duration of your driver’s license suspension from your DUI charge that will allow you to drive for anything necessary to maintain your life or your livelihood. This includes driving to and from work, school, religious services, and grocery shopping.
It’s my first DUI—will I go to jail?
No result is ever guaranteed, and no lawyer should ever tell you that it is. While it is very unlikely that you will go to jail for your first DUI, it is still a possibility.
The maximum penalty for a first DUI is six months to a full year in jail depending on the breath test results and whether there was a crash involved.
There are many ways to fight and beat a DUI case and avoid jail time.
What are the domestic violence diversion programs?
Pre-trial diversion programs are one of the major ways to get a domestic violence charge dismissed.
If you qualify for a diversion program and complete it, the charges against you are guaranteed to be dismissed—making the diversion programs a great way to avoid trial, which is NEVER a sure thing.
However there are some downsides with the diversion programs. One, they usually require a higher level of anger management, sometimes all the way up to the 26-week Batter’s Intervention Course. These classes are time-consuming and costly.
Also, if you don’t complete every single requirement, or are re-arrested you will fail out of the program.
To find out if a domestic violence diversion program is right for you, give us a call at 754-999-2499.
How much does Batter’s Intervention Program cost?
The Batter’s Intervention Program typically costs between $700 and $1,000 including all fees and transportation costs. Participants are charged an enrollment or program fee, along with a $30 participation fee for each weekly group counseling session, which there are 26 of.