Under Florida Law, a DUI occurs if:
Someone is driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle within this state, and:
In Florida you can be prosecuted for a DUI even if you were not driving. If the Officer believes you are in “actual physical control” of the vehicle. Actual physical control requires only that you were within the vehicle and you are physically capable of starting the car. Hence, in Florida, there have been cases were people were convicted of a DUI even though they were in the back seat of the car sleeping. For this reason, it is important to hire an experienced Naples DUI Attorney that can advise you on the intricacies of “actual physical control” here in Florida.
In Florida you can be charged with a DUI on almost any vehicle.
In Florida you can be prosecuted for a DUI even if you were not driving on a public roadway. There have been many cases where DUI arrests have been made on private property, parking lots, in the woods, and even in a person’s own driveway. Florida courts have interpreted the language “within the state” very broadly. A skilled Naples criminal defense lawyer can advise you on the intricacies of this provision and all possible defenses available.
Here is a link to a Florida Attorney General Opinion addressing this issue:
In Collier County Officers are constantly looking for impaired drivers. Routine traffic stops will often turn into DUI investigations. In Collier County there are Six Law Enforcement Agencies that conduct DUI Investigations.
Collier County Sheriff’s Office, Naples Police Department, Florida Highway Patrol, Marco Island Police Department, Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission and Seminole Police Department.
Most of the above listed agencies provide their officers with recording devices. As a result many DUI traffic stops in Collier County are recorded. This video can be a powerful weapon in the defense of a DUI in Florida. And Experienced Naples Criminal Defense Attorney can thoroughly review a DUI video and discuss how to fight a Driving Under the Influence charge.
The Traffic stop may be based on a reasonable belief that you have been drinking. However, a Florida DUI traffic stop is typically prompted by a traffic violation, or perceived traffic violation. Typical traffic violations that may lead to a stop can include, but are not limited to:
After an officer has stopped the vehicle, the officer will immediately begin looking for possible signs of impairment. Traffic stops are stressful situations to members of the public. Even common reactions to an officer’s questions or commands will often be mistakenly interpreted as signs of impairment. Officers will typically do the following during a Naples DUI traffic stop.
Generally speaking there are potentially two forms of Field Sobriety Tests administered when someone is suspected of operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol and/or drugs.
(1) The first form is called “Standardized Field Sobriety Exercises” or (FSE’s)
FSE’s are series of standardized physical and/or cognitive performance tests given to a driver under suspicion of Driving Under the Influence. A driver’s performance on the tests may provide law enforcement with probable cause to arrest the driver for DUI. The results of the FSE’s may be used as evidence in court.
Standard Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs) include:
Law enforcement will begin the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test by saying, “I am now going to check your eyes.” In fact, the officer is not conducting an eye exam. Instead they are looking for certain signs of impairment called Nystagmus. Nystagmus is the involuntary jerking or twitching of the eyeball over which a person has no control. Consumption of alcohol or other drugs may cause Nystagmus. However, there are many other reasons Nystagmus may be present or observed.
Officers are trained to administer a HGN Test by having the suspect track with their eyes an object moved horizontally across their gaze. The officer is looking for the suspect’s eyeball to jerk as he/she tracks the object being moved. The officer is looking the following signs of impairment:
The Walk and Turn Test is referred to as a divided attention test. A suspect must follow verbal instructions while also performing physical tasks. Impaired drivers may have difficulty performing tests requiring their attention to be divided between mental and physical tasks. In the Walk and Turn Test, a suspect is told to remain in a start position touching there the heel to toe of their feet together. They are then given instructions to take nine steps touching heel-to-toe along a straight line. After taking the nine steps, the suspect must turn on one foot in a series of small steps in a controlled manner and return to the line now facing the opposite direction. The suspect will then be asked to take nine steps back to the starting position. The suspect will also be asked to count aloud the steps taken along the line.
The officer is looking for the following signs of impairment:
The one leg stand test is a standardized field sobriety test that police use as a means of determining is a suspect is under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. The test typically lasts for 30 seconds. The officer asks the suspect to select whichever foot is most comfortable and lift it up approximately six inches from the ground. The suspect is instructed to court a loud by thousands. “one thousand-one, one thousand two” , ect. The suspect continues to count until told to stop by the officer.
The Suspect is also instructed to keep his eyes on the lifted foot and keep his arms by his sides while performing the test. The officer looks for certain signs of impairment such as:
Additional Content coming shortly on the below topics:
The Arrest Decision
Implied Consent/ Breath Test Refusal
Bond and Release from Custody
Hiring a lawyer
Driver’s License Hearing/ Suspension of License
Appeals of Driver’s License Hearing
First Court Date/ Arraignment
Second Court Date/ Pre Trial Conference
DUI Sentencing Options
Appeal from Criminal Conviction
Effects of DUI on Record
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