Maltezos Law

3306 N. Howard Ave
Tampa FL 33607

Phone: 813-642-7438

DUI Defense

Florida laws are tough on those driving under the influence

If you are arrested for a DUI, it’s serious. Florida laws are tough on those driving under the influence of alcohol, chemicals including prescription drugs, or illegal drugs. Driving or actual physical control of a vehicle while impaired by alcoholic beverages, chemicals, or controlled substances can result in various charges. These offenses vary in severity of punishment, but, except for commercial vehicle cases, require proof that the accused: drove or was in actual physical control of a vehicle; was under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, a chemical substance listed in Florida Statutes, Section 877.111, or a controlled substance listed in Florida Statutes, Chapter 893; was impaired or had a blood or breath alcohol level of .08 or higher. Such conduct is unlawful even on private property.

Usually, the offense involves the operation of some kind of motorized vehicle. It may, however, involve the operation of other modes of transportation such as bicycles and scooters. It may be committed in or on any device used to transport a person or property on a highway, except for those used exclusively on stationary rails or tracks. However, the Implied Consent Law, which establishes procedures for securing and testing samples, applies only to “motor vehicles”.

Typically, an officer or another witness sees the driving or the defendant’s statements may prove the driving. When that is not true, the circumstantial evidence rule applies. Thus, in Davis v. State, for example, the court acquitted the defendant where the evidence failed to overcome his testimony and other proof that he was only a passenger in the car. The court reached the same result in Lukas v. State, where there was no direct evidence of driving or actual physical control and the circumstantial evidence failed to exclude every reasonable hypothesis of innocence. The court came to a contrary conclusion in West v. State, in a DUI manslaughter based solely on the State’s expert testimony.

Circumstantial evidence of driving is often necessary where there is an accident involving only one person or several people who are so incapacitated that they are unable to identify the drivers. Proof of actual physical control may be unavailable in such cases because the defendant was not seen in control of the car, the vehicle could not reasonably be operated, or the offense was one usually requiring proof of driving, such as DUI Manslaughter.

 
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