New Year’s Eve Miami DUI Arrest? A DUI Defense Attorney May Help Salvage Your 2019
Miami DUI defense attorneys are warning revelers at the “Big Orange Drop” this New Year’s Eve that law enforcement agencies will be extra-staffed over the holiday and on high alert for impaired drivers throughout Southeast Florida.
Miami CBS Local reports that in Miami and numerous surrounding communities, police patrols will be out in full force with “Operation Safe Holidays,” complete with high concentrations of officers as well as numerous DUI checkpoints, with help from the Florida Highway Patrol. Citing federal data, Miami CBS reports holiday drunk driving deaths are up 35 percent.
The Miami DUI defense lawyer at Stroleny Law, P.A., of course, encourages everyone to prioritize their safety amid the celebration by designating a sober driver, getting an Uber (the company is offering New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day 25 percent discounts) or simply staying in with friends or family. However, if you do choose to join the festivities – and are arrested for DUI in Miami-Dade or any nearby counties – there are some important things you should know to preserve your rights.
Florida Impaired Driving Laws and DUI Checkpoints
Driving impaired/under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal in Florida per F.S. 316.193. This is determined with evidence either that your blood-alcohol level was at or above the legal standard limit of 0.08 or with subjective evidence that your faculties were impaired to the point that normal operation of a motor vehicle was compromised. Blood tests can tell authorities substances were in your body, but because drugs (marijuana especially) can remain in the system for long periods of time, its presence doesn’t necessarily indicate impairment – a point your Miami DUI defense lawyer is likely to make if the issue arises.
While Florida’s implied consent law, F.S. 316.1932, will result in an automatic one-year license suspension for any driver who refuses to submit to chemical testing for impairment (breath, blood or urine) and your refusal can be used against you in court, there is no denying that refusing to take it does deprive prosecutors of a key piece of evidence. (These tests can be initiated without your consent, but only with a warrant.)
That means police agencies must rely much more heavily on roadside sobriety tests, such as the walk-and-turn and one-leg stand, to build their case. Although standardized field sobriety test results can be used in court, they are also highly subjective and can be successfully challenged by a good criminal defense lawyer. There are often many other reasons for failing these tests besides impairment and your refusal to take them cannot be used against you.
Field sobriety tests are heavily employed in Miami DUI checkpoints, also sometimes called sobriety checkpoints, which are commonplace throughout South Florida whenever there is a holiday. Authorities hope such enforcement will be more of a deterrent than anything else, but there is a risk you could be arrested at one.
It should be noted that while DUI checkpoints technically are in contrast with laws requiring probable cause to initiate a traffic stop, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the right of law enforcement to employ them in the 1990 case of Michigan Dept. of State Police v. Stitz. However, arrests at DUI checkpoints are often weak cases that can be successfully challenged on a variety of legal fronts.
But even if the evidence of your guilt for a DUI arrest seems substantial, there are usually numerous ways an experienced Miami DUI defense attorney can help reduce the impact to your finances and your freedom.
Stroleny Law, P.A. handles a variety of criminal law cases, so call now if you have any questions.
View more contact information here: Miami DUI Defense Attorney.