Teaching Attorneys How to Handle Their First DUI Case: Working a DUI Case Pre-Trial CLE
Discovery on South Florida DUI Cases
When reviewing the discovery on a DUI case, it is important to look for the following:
- Probable cause and narratives
- DMV driving record
- Medical reports when applicable
- Breath results and Agency Inspection Form when applicable
- Urine and Blood results plus an expert witness when applicable
If there are issues found in the case, the defense can file a motion to combat the evidence or the charges. When constitutional rights are violated, it can be grounds to dismiss the case entirely.
Traffic Stops on South Florida DUI Cases
An officer can only reasonably stop a motorist when the officer has probable cause to believe that a traffic violation has occurred. DUI investigations always start with a traffic stop and progress to a DUI investigation.
- If the officer did not have a legitimate basis for pulling over the motorist, the officer can be found in violation of the defendant's rights.
- In the State of Florida, it is not a basis to pull over an individual on the basis of crossing over a solid line without a turning signal on if no other traffic was affected.
- Moving slightly over a lane's boundary a couple of times without creating any safety concerns also does not merit a basis to pull over a motorist.
Accident Report Privilege on South Florida DUI Cases
Florida law states that an individual involved in an accident must provide information to law enforcement regarding the incident when an officer is completing an accident report and investigation. Since this information can sometimes be incriminating, the individual giving the information is granted immunity during the collection of evidence for the accident report. This means statements given by the individual cannot be used in a criminal or civil proceeding against the defendant.
- If a law enforcement officer suspects the individual of a DUI, he or she must inform the suspect that the traffic investigation has evolved into a criminal investigation.
- Law enforcement officers must read the defendant their Miranda Warnings before any statements may be admitted
Field Sobriety Exercises on South Florida DUI Cases
An officer may request a motorist to participate in field sobriety exercises if the officer has reasonable suspicion that the driver is operating the vehicle while under the influence.
- An officer cannot ask a suspect to do field sobriety exercises without some objective manifestation of signs that the motorist may be driving under the influence.
- The officer must record and observe indications of impairment in the defendant's driving and appearance in order to detain a suspect for a DUI investigation.
- The mere odor of an alcoholic beverage on a suspect's breath is not in of itself telling of an individual's ability to operate a motor vehicle in compliance with the law.
- The performance of field sobriety exercises must be done voluntary and not under duress of police authority.