What happens next?
Being charged with a Florida DUI is very stressful and scary experience. Being subjected to the jail experience is a very traumatic and life changing event, but unfortunately, the process has just begun. It is very important to bring on a qualified Fort Lauderdale DUI attorney to guide you through the many steps that are ahead of you.
There are two processes that begin after the arrest. The first process is the DMV review. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will begin their own administrative review of the status of your license after a DUI arrest. When the police arrest you for DUI in Fort Lauderdale, they confiscate your license and give you a DUI citation which acts as your temporary driving permit for 10 days. If you do nothing after these 10 days, your license will be suspended throughout the pendency of your DUI prosecution. The first things that needs to be done within the 10 day period is to either request an administrative review hearing or formally waive your administrative review hearing. If you are a first time offender and you formally waive your administrative review hearing, you will be issued a driving permit for work purposes. If you request a formal review hearing then you will be given a temporary driving permit for wok purposes that will last until your formal administrative review hearing is scheduled. At your formal administrative review hearing, we will be able to contest certain aspects of your DUI stop and detention to a DMV administrative review officer. If the officer finds that the DUI stop and/or detention was warranted, then your license will be suspended throughout your DUI prosecution in the Criminal Court. In the alternative, if the administrative review officer finds that the DUI stop and/or detention was not warranted your license will not be suspended.
The second and most important process, is the DUI prosecution in the Criminal Court system. After an arrest for DUI, the Clerk of Courts of whatever county you were arrested in will initiate a new case and number for your DUI prosecution. You will be prosecuted for DUI by the State Attorney’s Office of whichever county you were arrested in. The State Attorney’s Office is tasked with the duty of prosecuting all criminal charges in their county. At this point in the case, a case will be created for you at the State Attorney’s Office. The first prosecutor assigned to your case at the State Attorney’s Office is called a case filing attorney. When the police arrest an individual for DUI, their police report serves as a rough draft of the charges that will be brought against you. That police report is sent to the case filing attorney, who is then tasked with comparing the facts of your case with the statutes of the State, and determining what the final formal charges against you will be. It is vital for an experienced DUI attorney to make contact with this case filing prosecutor as soon as possible. In many situations, a lot of legal arguments can be made directly to these case filing prosecutors in an attempt to prevent the filing of these charges against you.
There are many aspects to defending a DUI charge. First, is whether the police have conducted a lawful traffic stop. In order to conduct a lawful traffic stop, the police need to show reasonable suspicion that a traffic infraction has occurred. Once a traffic stop has occurred, the police must show that there was probable cause to continue your detention for a DUI investigation. In meeting this standard, the police must show specific signs or observations of impairment. There are many nuances and hard line rules that must be adhered to in complying with this standard. The arguments in defense of these standards should be presented to the case filing prosecutor, as they have the ability to end the prosecution before it goes further. It is vital that an experienced DUI attorney is proactive in this portion of your case.
The next phase in the criminal prosecution begins with your first court appearance, which is called The Arraignment. The Arraignment is when the State Attorney’s Office and the Judge formally announce to you the final formal charges that have been filed against you, and offer you the opportunity to enter any plea you wish. An experienced DUI defense attorney will enter a plea of not guilty at this point, and request all of the evidence to be presented against you in your case; which is due 15 days after the Arraignment date. Upon receipt of the evidence, which is called the Discovery packet, we will begin scrutinizing and analyzing all aspects of the prosecution. Depositions will be taken of all essential witnesses in your case. A deposition is a sworn statement taken in our office of all officers in your case, with a court reporter present to memorialize the statement.
If any of the actions of the officers is deemed unlawful, we will file a motion to suppress evidence with the Court on your behalf. A motion to suppress is an evidentiary hearing wherein we are able to cross examine the officers, and present evidence of an unlawful detention and/or traffic stop in your case to the Judge. If the Judge agrees with our argument, the evidence we are seeking to suppress will be suppressed and excluded, and many times will necessitate the State Attorney’s Office dismissing all charges against you. On many occasions, if the State Attorney believes there are flaws in your case, they will offer a breakdown of your DUI charges to lesser offenses, in order to avoid this evidentiary hearing.
If the motion to suppress is not granted, or is not available in your case, we will present you with all alternatives to resolve your case, and explain to you the Trial process if it is necessary. Our Fort Lauderdale criminal defense firm has a proven track record and has litigated hundreds of cases to Trial. It is most important, should your case proceed to Trial, that you are guided by an experienced criminal defense litigator. At Trial, the State Attorney’s Office has the burden of proving that you have committed the crime of Driving Under the Influence beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt to a jury of your peers. Our DUI lawyer will guide you through and to the other side of this mountain of a process, and allow you to heal from this very traumatizing experience, and protect your future.