Former DUI Cop and Former DUI Prosecutor Representing Those Charged With DUI in Central Florida

Winning DUI Cases Others Said Couldn't Be Won

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Strategy Behind Beating A DUI

The arrest affidavit and the supporting documents are the cornerstone of the State's DUI case against you. Beating a DUI arrest starts with a thorough review of the arrest affidavit and documents, which I carefully analyze for information found to help knock down the State's case against you.

Was The Stop Lawful?

A police officer can’t pull you over without reasonable suspicion or one of the exceptions under the 4th Amendment. When a DUI cop sees you swerve, or exit from a bar they get a ‘hunch’ that you might be DUI.  A hunch is not enough.  The cops know this, and they follow you trying to find reasonable suspicion to pull you over. If they don’t see anything, some of these cops push the envelope and stop you for something that isn’t a violation of law.  If the stop was not lawful, the evidence that is derived from the stop should not be used against you.

How Was The Driving?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) has identified 24 driving patterns that are cues of impairment.  DUI cops are trained to recognize these driving patterns. If the driving patterns are observed, the Prosecutor and the police officer are certainly going to hammer home that evidence in any evidentiary hearing or trial. But, if the driving pattern cues are not present, it will simply not be discussed.  It’s always the case the cops and the prosecutor point out everything you did wrong, but rarely do they point out what you did right.

What Roadside Sobriety Tests Were Administered?

A police officer can use any kind of test he wants to determine if you’re impaired, but doing so would be foolish. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been studying DUI sobriety tests since the early 70’s and has determined that there are three that are best at identifying a person who’s impaired.  It’s a 50/50 split.  If you were arrested by a DUI cop this isn’t usually an issue. But if you were arrested by a cop who doesn’t make many DUI arrests, or an old school cop who hasn’t made a DUI arrest this century, what the officers had you do might be their own version of sobriety tests.

How Did You Perform On The Roadside Sobriety Tests?

The police are trained to look for 18 standardized clues throughout the three standardized tests. If you display as few as 8 clues you’re likely to be arrested by a DUI cop. On the other-hand, non-DUI cops generally don’t arrest people for DUI until they’re exhibiting well over 10-15 clues.  Therein lies the blessing and curse of being arrested by a non-DUI cop. They know they are weak in SFSTs and therefore they only take people to jail who are over the top impaired.  These types of cases are often referred to as “Falling down Drunks”, or “Deputy Drunks”. If you are arrested by a DUI cop and only scored the minimal clues, you might be over the legal limit, but you are not going to look too bad on video.  This dichotomy can create problems for the prosecutor.

Who Was There?

Did you know that back-up officers often don’t want to be on camera for a DUI investigation? They don’t want to be called into court for no reason. But often these “under the radar” officers are great for your case.  The more officers you get testifying to a detailed set of facts the more likely there will be differing recollections, thus more potential for reasonable doubt. An active cop makes a half dozen traffic stops per shift, responds to another 6-10 calls for service, and arrests 8-20 people per month.  The arresting officer is going to have what you allegedly did and where you did it thoroughly documented in his arrest report, but the secondary officer, in most cases, does not write anything down. This means he’s going to testify based only upon memory, and that usually doesn’t end well for the officer.

What About The Breath Test?

If you blew, what were the results?, How far apart were the two samples?, Who did the 20 minute observation?, Was there a bathroom break in the observation?, When was the machine last calibrated, and how many errors, if any, has the machine had since going online?, What was your breath volume sample?.

As a former breath test operator I assure you that I could devote an entire website to breath testing alone. The questions above are just a sample of what I review to determine the sufficiency of the breath test result.

If your breath test results are excluded, the prosecutor can still proceed forward with your charge, but the jury won’t be able to hear anything about a breath test and the prosecutor will have to prove DUI by “Impaired normal faculties” instead of using a presumption of impairment.

Now you are likely wondering, what are normal faculties? Normal faculties are defined in the DUI Jury instructions. “Normal faculties include but are not limited to the ability to see, hear, walk, talk, judge distances, drive an automobile, make judgments, act in emergencies and, in general, to normally perform the many mental and physical acts of our daily lives.”

Who's The Officer?

A very small percentage of officers make a very large percentage of the DUI arrests in Florida. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with or train many of these officers. If I know the officer I ask questions about that officer. What kind of work habits does the officer have? Is the officer one who is likely to cut corners? Does this officer show up for court? Does the officer "cut and paste" reports? Would this officer bolster observations in the arrest report or on the witness stand?

Is All Of The Paperwork Completed?

By their very nature DUI arrests take place during the early morning hours when, everyone is tired and prone to make mistakes. This combined with the number of documents required in a DUI arrest sometimes leads to incomplete or improper paperwork. If there is a critical document missing or not completed properly that might be enough for your case to be dismissed at the Driver’s license office and in the Court.

What Indicators Lead To The Roadside Sobriety Test?

In order for an officer to request you to perform sobriety tests he or she must have reasonable cause to believe you might be impaired.  This is an area where the cops use templated observations such as “Slurred thick tongued speech”, “Strong odor of alcohol”, “Swayed while he stood”, and “Red Watery Eyes” to convince the court that there was sufficient grounds to request you to perform the tests. What often happens is that the officer’s observations are contradicted by the in car video. If the officer says there was sway, but the video doesn’t show it, the officer’s credibility can be called into question. If you can rack up a few of these contradictions, the judge may question the credibility of the officer's observations.

How Were Roadside Sobriety Tests Administered?

The sobriety tests are more difficult to administer than you might think. Many officers don’t make DUI arrests because they simply don’t know how to give the tests properly.  This isn’t an off the cuff statement. I’ve seen it on the road, I’ve seen it teaching at the police academy, I’ve seen it teaching advanced level DUI cops, and I’ve seen it as an expert witness.

Cops are traditionally type-A personalities who are good at taking charge of situations – “You, come here.”  “Let me see your hands.”  But give them a script (the instructions) which they have to follow and they become nervous like they’re giving a speech in high school.  Once again, this isn’t going to be much of an issue if you fall within the 50% that are arrested by a DUI Cop. But, for the other 50%, the nervousness of giving the sobriety tests from a script and being paranoid not to screw things up can lead to huge mistakes that will make the police officer look foolish in court. No cop wants to look foolish in court.

What Was Said?

You might be surprised by the number of conversations that are recorded that are favorable to you.  One cop says to the other, “I don’t think I have enough, what do you think?” and then the officer arrests you anyway. I thoroughly review the conversation between the officers and between you and the officer. As a police officer I got a kick out of people who were under arrest and started making offensive jokes. The people that they were making jokes about, while sitting in the backseat of my patrol car, were the same people that were going to be sitting on the jury.

Request A Free No-Obligation Consultation

I’ve briefly shared a handful of the many things that may result in you beating your case. The truth is, it is difficult to make a quick reference “How to Beat a DUI Guide”  when I have more than a decade worth of information based on hands on experience.

The best thing you can do is to request a free no-obligation consultation with me and I will be happy to discuss the specifics of your case with you. You can call me directly on my cell at: 407-906-5040.