Florida DUI Court Proceedings
During the course of a DUI arrest, if a driver blows over the legal limit of .08 or refuses to take the breath-alcohol test, their license is administratively suspended. This administrative driver license suspension is issued at the time of arrest and goes into effect immediately. This administrative suspension is entirely independent from the criminal case. Whether a driver wins or loses their administrative hearing has no bearing on the criminal case, and vice versa. So getting the criminal charges dropped will have absolutely no effect on the initial administrative license suspension. And, on the other hand, winning the administrative hearing and getting the administrative suspension set aside, will have on effect on any future court suspension you would receive if you are found guilty of D.U.I. by the court.
The First Court Date and the Pre-Trial Conference
The first court date in a criminal case is known as an “Arraignment.” This typically occurs around a month following a driver’s arrest. An arraignment is a very simple court proceeding. At the arraignment the defendant is brought before the court, is advised of what charges he/she is facing, and is then asked to enter a plea of either “guilty” or “not-guilty.” That’s it. Very rarely do defendants ever plea guilty at these hearings.
Assuming the Defendant enters a plea of “not guilty,” the case will progress much like any other case that works its way through the Florida criminal system. Typically a pre-trial conference is set after the arraignment, which is a hearing where the state and the defense confer and address the case with the court, to discuss scheduling, continuances, discovery issues, and whether the case will proceed to trial.
Plea Negotiations and The Evidence
Often in DUI cases, police videos are of particular interest. Frequently there is video evidence recorded from the police cruiser that captures the defendant’s driving pattern up to the traffic stop, and sometimes the interaction with the officers afterwards. Further, most DUI investigators record the field sobriety exercises, as well as the request to take the breath test, that occurs back at the station. Sometimes this evidence can benefit the defendant and lead to potential evidentiary suppression motions, motions to exclude evidence at trial, and otherwise bolster the defense’s bargaining leverage. On the the other hand, a video showing obvious and undeniable signs of impairment, can make it more difficult to get a desired outcome.
If the parties are unable to reach a plea agreement, the case will proceed to trial. Ordinarily, this will be a jury trial. At such a trial, six jurors will be called upon to hear the case and decide the ultimate issue of guilt or innocence. In a D.U.I. case, a jury would be asked to decide whether the evidence proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle, while under the influence.
In a D.U.I. case, a jury would be asked to decide whether the evidence proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle, while under the influence.
Tampa DUI attorney William B. Wynne will take the time to look for all the options available to accomplish full dismissal of your case, if possible. He will appear in court on your behalf, allowing you to continue to work and support you and your family. In order to be convicted at trial of the crime of “Driving Under the Influence,” the prosecutor has to first be able to prove that the criminal offense took place beyond a reasonable doubt. A properly prepared defense can often result in reduced penalties, reduced charges, or even a dismissal. Even in cases where the evidence of guilt is overwhelming, a good defense attorney can present mitigating circumstances which can often decrease the penalties.
The Law Office of William B. Wynne, P.L.L.C., represents clients in all criminal matters, including D.U.I. cases. Consultations are free of charge, and we offer payment plans to those who qualify. Contact us today for your free consultation.