An old maxim contends that the “best defense is a good offense.” This saying is certainly true in the context of Florida DUI charges. Although some may tempted to simply wait until the government prosecutors prove their case and hope that they are unable to do so, you can often experience much better results if you and your Fort Walton Beach DUI defense attorney formulate and follow an aggressive defense strategy.
The precise strategy that will be utilized in your case will depend (of course) on the unique facts and circumstances present that led to your DUI arrest and charge. Not only this but there may be more than one strategy that is appropriate in your case. Nevertheless, common DUI defense strategies fall into several categories:
- Attacking the officer’s stop of your vehicle: The first strategy challenges the reason for the officer’s initial stop of your vehicle. Specifically, the officer must have a “reasonable suspicion” that you are committing or have committed a crime before he or she can stop you. If you violate a traffic law in the presence of the officer, that in and of itself provides a valid reason for the officer to stop your vehicle. Absent a traffic violation, however, an officer must be able to articulate a reason based on objective facts as to why he or she stopped your car. Said reason cannot be the result of the officer’s “hunch” or “educated guess” that you might be committing a crime like DUI. If your challenge of the initial stop is successful, it is highly likely that all evidence obtained after the officer stopped your car will be excluded. This will most likely cause the prosecution to consider dismissing your DUI case.
- Attacking the reason for your arrest: The next strategy looks to the evidence the officer had available to him or her at the moment he or she placed you under arrest. In order to place you under arrest, the officer must have “probable cause” to believe you committed a misdemeanor or felony crime. This requires more evidence than is needed to stop your vehicle. Many officers base their determination of probable cause on their observations of your appearance, demeanor, and how well you complete field sobriety tests. As with challenging the stop of your vehicle, a successful challenge of your arrest will most likely result in the exclusion of evidence the officer obtained after he or she placed you under arrest (such as breath or blood test results).
- Attacking evidence of impairment: It is not illegal in Florida to drive after having consumed alcohol – however, it is against Florida law to drive while you are impaired and under the influence of alcohol (or drugs). In other words, the prosecution must prove that you were impaired by alcohol by either admitting evidence of blood or breath test results that show an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or greater and/or evidence showing you were not in possession of your “normal faculties.” There are legal requirements that must be met in order for your breath or blood test to be admissible in court, and other “evidence of impairment” is often nothing more than the subjective observations of an officer. If the prosecution does not have enough evidence to convince a judge or jury of your impairment beyond a reasonable doubt, you cannot be convicted of DUI.
Consult with a Knowledgeable Fort Walton Beach Criminal Law Attorney Today
The sooner you retain the services of an experienced and knowledgeable Fort Walton Beach DUI attorney like Stephen G. Cobb, the sooner you and your attorney can create and begin to implement your defense strategy. Criminal Trial Law Specialist Stephen G. Cobb has been representing Okaloosa County residents and defendants charged with DUI crimes throughout Florida for over two decades. Contact Mr. Cobb today at (850) 669-5882 and obtain the benefits of his experience, knowledge, and insights to help you create your DUI defense strategy.
The Cobb Criminal Defense Law Firm
1992 Lewis Turner Blvd, Suite 101-B
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547
Phone: (850) 669-5882