Driving Under the Influence

FLORIDA DUI LAW

If you, or someone you know has been arrested for suspicion of DUI in Miami, Coral Gables, or South Florida, please do not wait to contact our office. The first consultation is always free. At the Law Office of Benjamin Fernandez, we use the term suspicion of DUI because that is exactly what it is. The officer suspects you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol based on several factors and therefore arrested you. It may have been the smell of alcohol on your breath, the way you were driving your car, or your inability to properly complete the acrobatic exercises they call field sobriety tests, to name a few. Now it is your turn to fight back and prove your innocence. There is a logical explanation for all the factors that officers use to establish, in their minds, that someone is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. We have tried numerous DUI’s and know how to defend your case, as well as, discredit the facts presented by the state attorney.
During the initial consultation we will explain to you the importance behind acting quickly when you are arrested for suspicion of DUI and obtain temporary permits to allow you to keep driving while we fight your case. But you must act fast! The State of Florida has consistently held that your ability to drive is a privilege, not a right, and will act quickly to take away your ability to drive if you do not defend yourself. For example, the Bureau of Driver Improvement only allows for 10 days from the date of your arrest to request a hearing. Be proactive – not retroactive when it comes to your ability to drive.
All DUI’s have two parts: (a) the administrative case and (b) the criminal case.

THE ADMINISTRATIVE CASE

When you are arrested for suspicion of DUI you have 10 days to request an administrative hearing, known as the Formal Review Hearing. If you do not request the hearing, you will not be afforded one and your license will be suspended 10 days after you were arrested for suspicion of DUI. Your license will remain suspended until the criminal case is resolved and/or the 1-year suspension automatically imposed by the Division of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has been served. During our initial consultation, we will explain how we can obtain a temporary permit that will allow you to drive pending the outcome of the Formal Review Hearing and/or the criminal case.
What happens at the Formal Review Hearing? The DHSMV need only prove that you provided a breath sample of .08% or above or that you refused to submit to the breath test after being properly advised of your right to refuse. The defendant’s presence is not required and officer’s are not required to appear unless they are subpoenaed. The decision made by the hearing officer stands, regardless of the outcome of the criminal case (if you win your administrative case, but lose the criminal case your license will be suspended for the amount of time determined by the criminal case.) The Formal Review Hearing is a great opportunity for us to cross-examine the officer who arrested you. More importantly, if you do not request a Formal Hearing your license will be automatically suspended for 1 year. There is no reason not to hire an attorney and fight your suspension.

THE CRIMINAL CASE

Florida Statute Section 316.193 makes driving under the influence a criminal offense. To convict an individual of DUI the state attorney must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant operated, or was in actual physical control, of a vehicle and the operation occurred while the defendant was under the influence of drugs or alcohol to the point where his or her normal faculties were impaired and/or the defendant had a blood or breath alcohol level of 0.08% or higher. The complete Florida Statute can be found here: Florida Statute Section 316.193.

Unlike the administrative case, a judge presides over the criminal case and a state attorney will be assigned to prosecute your case. There will be numerous hearings throughout the process, which can be as short as 90 days or as long as several years. Mr. Fernandez will appear on your behalf at all the hearings with the exception of the trial, all defendants must appear in court on the trial date.

No two cases are alike. Depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding your case, there are various defenses that can be raised and motions that can be filed to defeat the charge of driving under the influence. While it is possible to plead guilty to your first DUI charge and escape jail, it is important to realize the life long implications that come with a DUI conviction. Higher insurance rates and a criminal conviction on your record are just a few (you cannot seal/expunge a DUI in Florida).

BENJAMIN FERNANDEZ IS YOUR DUI LAWYER

Attorney Benjamin Fernandez has successfully tried numerous cases involving individuals arrested for suspicion of DUI. As a former Miami-Dade public defender, and now in private practice, Mr. Fernandez has handled hundreds of DUI cases. Mr. Fernandez is well versed in the current laws governing the admissibility of evidence in DUI cases, as well as the procedures law enforcement must follow in order to legally arrest an individual for suspicion of DUI. Mr. Fernandez’s experience and knowledge allow him to properly prepare your case for trial and educate you as to your case’s strengths and weakness, so that you may make an informed decision. Do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Benjamin Fernandez today for a free consultation.

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