Our firm is open and plans to remain open throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Our goal is to continue to serve the needs of existing and future clients. Our thoughts are with all of those that are being impacted.
If you were arrested for a DUI, then the law enforcement officer probably took your license. You only have 10 days from the date your license was confiscated to file for and Administrative Hearing with the DMV. That hearing will determine whether or not your administrative license suspension is upheld. My goal is to do defend you at that hearing, and do everything possible to protect your rights and ability to drive. You can only drive for 10 days following your arrest with your citation. However, you may qualify for a temporary permit or hardship license to drive. I will assist you in maintaining your ability to drive.
To protect your license, we must file for the Administrative Hearing within 10 calendar days of your arrest.
A DUI offense can have serious consequences. Most potential clients have numerous questions such as:
The laws related to the use of an intoxilizer machine, or Breathalyzer, are constantly in a state of flux. You can count on R. Curtis Murtha, PA to defend your DUI case using the most up-to-date legal remedies and the most accurate technical information available. Contact my office for a free consultation on your DUI arrest and possible penalties that you may face as soon as possible to ensure timely defense.
Lately there has been much controversy about the Breathalyzer and you may have seen news reports discussing the admissibility of Breathalyzer evidence in courts. I have dealt with this issue in many cases and will use that experience to assist in your defense.
Promptly hiring experienced legal counsel is important if you have been charged with DUI. Those charged with DUI face potentially severe penalties, as well as swift automatic license suspension. If you have been charged with DUI, I can help ensure that you will be treated fairly and your rights will be protected.
DUI IMPAIRMENT - DUI is Florida Statute 316.193. It is very verbose and complicated. In general, it deals with driving while impaired and not necessarily driving drunk. Impairment can be by more than just alcohol. Florida law prohibits driving under the influence of drugs too. Nonetheless, the most common impairing substance is ethanol alcohol (commonly placed in beer, wine, hard liquor). Hence, you can pass (or blow zeros) the breathalyzer and still get the DUI under suspicion of drug impairment! Drug impairment cases are very difficult for the State to prove because of their complex nature and that there is no magic number like a breathalyzer. The breathalyzer only measures alcohol (and associated hydrocarbons), not drugs (i.e. cannabis, cocaine, methamphetamine, etc.).
GENERAL DUI INFORMATION:
IMPLIED CONSENT LAW - OR REALLY COERCION TO INCRIMINATE YOURSELF. This concept was adopted by the Florida Legislature. It means that if a person elects to drive a vehicle on the state's roadways (or even a pedal bike), then the person also implicitly agrees to submit to giving an evidence sample for alcohol. And if you don't, you lose your privilege of driving on Florida roads. It is very difficult to prove you guilty of DUI unless you give them all the evidence they need to convict you. Thus, without implied consent, people would have no incentive to incriminate themselves and the police would rarely get any convictions. Hence, they made this rule so that they can more easily convict you. Therefore, implied consent is basically a means to coerce you into incriminating yourself without the benefit of counsel.
MUST YOU TAKE THE TESTS? When a driver is suspected of DUI, an officer gives the suspect the "option" of submitting to a breath test. If the suspect takes the test and blows zero or blows very low (under a .08), they will most commonly ask him to take a blood or urine test too. They do this to support their case against the suspect. Remember, the officer made the decision to arrest; so when the suspect comes back to the breath center and blows under the legal limit, the officer looks foolish. Thus, the officer will then attribute his observation to drugs and seek another test. They can do this.
Florida Law permits a person to REFUSE to submit to testing one time without any criminal penalty, but there are consequences with regard to your driver's license. If you refuse to take their so-called "tests", the Florida DMV (not the Court) will suspend your license for one year. This suspension is the least of your problems because the suspension can be challenged by formal review within ten calendar (not business) days. Thus, it is in your best interests to hire a lawyer within ten days. Your lawyer can challenge the suspension and may be able to legally get you your license back based on a legal technicality. Many times the request for the breathalyzer was made prematurely or incorrectly and can be basis for reversal of the suspension. Remember, just because a police officer did it, doesn't make it right.
Knowing the law is key for any DUI or Driver's License Suspension case. My practice uses state of the art legal research to keep abreast of the latest cases, decisions, and laws that benefit the client. And even if your license cannot be reinstated, I will instruct you of how to get a business purposes license for the duration of your suspension.
One final note about refusing, in most cases, the police officer will have asked you to first perform field sobriety tests, but these field evaluations ARE NOT mandatory either. Many times officers use the wrong tests. There are strict guidelines with instructing people on these tests and if they are not followed, they may be excluded from evidence against you.
We can assist in getting you a temporary driving permit or temporary driver's license (sometimes called BPO or Hardship License) while your DUI is pending.
One option available is to see if we can get your DUI reduced to reckless driving. This is accomplished on a case by case basis. Please contact us for more details.
REPRESENTATION - R. Curtis Murtha, PA aims at being the best. I offer reasonable rates and aggressive DUI and DWI representation. Whether your case is a DUI with property damage or a DUI with personal injury or both, I can handle it.
If you refused the breath test or refused the roadside or Field Sobriety tests or not, we want your case. The double refusal type cases are the toughest cases for the state to prove. Even if you had an accident with your DUI, we can assist you in regaining your driving privileges and reinstating your license. We do also offer out of state DUI assistance. (Meaning if you get a DUI while on vacation in Florida). Many times we can resolve a DUI without you having to go to court at all. (i.e. by written plea.)
HAVE MY RIGHTS BEEN VIOLATED? This will involve a critical review of the case and the evidence against you. If your legal rights have been violated, the criminal case may be subject to being dismissed.
I WAS NOT READ MIRANDA? This is common with DUI arrests. Miranda only applies if 1) after arrest, 2) the officer did not tell you that you had the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney before 3) he/she interrogated you and 4) you confessed to the crime or made incriminating statements. Miranda is a tool that applies to exclude incriminating statements that were made after your arrest. Thus, it really only comes into play on rare occasions where there is an interrogation and a confession. If the court finds this to be the case, those statements may be excluded from the State's evidence against you.
R. Curtis Murtha, PA provides criminal defense against DUI, traffic violations, and Criminal cases, serving Clearwater, Florida and Surrounding Counties.