Under Florida DUI law, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level (BAL) of 0.08% or higher. In drunk driving cases, the result of the breathalyzer test is often the most important piece of evidence the prosecutor has. Therefore, it is important to hire a DUI defense lawyer who can successfully challenge the admissibility of the breathalyzer test. One way to get the breathalyzer test thrown out of court is to show that the test was not administered according to Florida law. Florida has very specific rules on how breathalyzer tests must be administered. To find out more about the rules on administering breathalyzer tests you should contact a DUI defense law firm in your area.

20 Minute Waiting Period
Florida rules on breathalyzer tests require that, “the breath test operator, agency inspector, arresting officer, or person designated by the permit holder shall reasonably ensure that the subject has not taken anything by mouth or has not regurgitated for at least twenty (20) minutes before administering the test.” If the State does not substantially comply with this rule the results of the breathalyzer test may be deemed inadmissible in a court of law.

If there is sufficient evidence that the police officer was not close enough to the defendant to reasonably ensure the defendant did not regurgitate within the 20 minute waiting period the test may be inadmissible. The officer must be in a position to observe whether or not the defendant regurgitated or ingested anything within the 20 minutes prior to the breath test for alcohol. For instance, if the defendant was in the officer’s vehicle for transport during the 20 minute waiting period, the officer may not have been able to reasonably ensure that the defendant had not taken anything by mouth or regurgitated.

Two Breath Test Requirement
Florida law requires the breath test operator to collect at least two breath samples from the driver. See Fla. Admin. Code R 11D-800.2. Additionally, the two tests must be conducted within 15 minutes of each other. Further, if the results of the two breath tests are not within .02 of each other a third breath test must be administered. If the police fail to analyze two breath test samples according to this rule the results may be suppressed. However, not all cases involving breath test results with a greater than .02 difference will be suppressed. You should consult a DUI lawyer for information about any specific case or set of circumstances. The State only needs to show it substantially complied with this regulation, 100% compliance is not necessary.

Procedure to Suppress the Breathalyzer Test:
The State has the burden of proving they substantially complied with the breathalyzer regulations. Before the State can use the breathalyzer test as evidence against the defendant, they must first produce evidence that the: 1)test was administered substantially in compliance with the regulations; 2) on a breathalyzer machine approved by the State; 3) by a person who was certified to conduct the test; and 4) the machine was calibrated, tested, and inspected in accordance with Florida regulations. See Florida v. Donaldson.

Failure to comply with the regulations above will not always result in a breathalyzer test being deemed inadmissible. The State only needs to show substantial compliance, strict compliance with the regulations are not necessary. Therefore, it is important for any DUI defense lawyer to carefully emphasize any defect in the breath test administration to help convince the court the defect is substantial. To speak with a DUI Defense lawyer about your breathalyzer test click here.

DUI Defense Law Firm:
If you have been accused of drunk driving in Florida call Florida Law Advisers to speak with DUI defense lawyer in Tampa. The DUI attorneys at our firm carefully scrutinize every detail of a case to identify any affirmative defenses, errors by police, violations of constitutional rights, mishandling of evidence, or sloppy police work that we can use to help our clients. We know how much our clients have at stake in DUI cases and we work diligently to aggressively defend our clients. Every DUI case is unique, which is why we carefully develop a comprehensive legal strategy that is individualized for each client. To find out if we can help you beat the DUI charges or for answers to your legal questions, call us today at 800 990 7763 to speak with a DUI defense attorney.

Under Florida law, a driver involved in a crash that resulted in property damage or injury must not leave the scene of the accident. In the event of a collision, the driver must immediately stop at the accident scene, or as close to it as possible, and remain at the accident scene until the requirements of the statute have been fulfilled. See Florida Statute 316.062. Further, the driver is required to refrain from obstructing traffic as much as possible, and if their vehicle is obstructing traffic make reasonable efforts to remove the vehicle from the flow of traffic. The purpose of these laws are to obtain information for an insurance claim or accident report and ensure all injured persons receive medical treatment as soon as possible. The penalties for leaving the scene of an accident can be quite harsh. If you have been accused of leaving the scene of an accident in Florida contact a criminal defense lawyer right away.

The Information Required From Drivers at an Accident Scene:
Drivers involved in an accident resulting in injury or property damage must provide their: name, address, vehicle registration number, and driver license to anyone involved in the accident. Additionally, if a person was injured as a result of the collision, the driver must render reasonable assistance to the person injured. Determining whether or not assistance was reasonable will depend on the facts and circumstances of each individual case. In some cases, the driver may be required to carry or make arrangements for the injured person to be carried to a hospital. For information about a specific case or circumstance contact a criminal defense attorney in your area.

What Must Be Proven For Conviction:
In order to be convicted of leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in property damage or injury, the prosecutor most prove there was an actual injury or damage to property. Additionally, the State will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant either knew of the injury or property damage or reasonably should have known. If more than one person is injured in the accident, the defendant may only be charged with one count of leaving the scene. The prohibition against double jeopardy will prevent the State from seeking multiple convictions for one offense. See Florida v. Waldecker.

Penalties For Conviction:
Leaving the scene of a car accident that did Not result in property damage or injury may be charged as a nonmoving violation, it is not a criminal offense. See Florida v. J.J. However, leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in serious bodily injury is a 2nd degree felony under Florida law. On the other hand, if the injury is classified as non-serious bodily injury, the offense will be reduced to a 3rd degree felony. See Florida Statute 316.027. If the collision only resulted in property damage the defendant can be charged with a 2nd degree misdemeanor.

The most severe penalties are reserved for drivers leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in death, these offenses are charged as a 1st degree felony. These convictions require a mandatory prison sentence of at least 4 years. Regardless whether the crime is charged as a felony or misdemeanor, defendants should always seek the aid of a criminal defense attorney. An experienced criminal defense lawyer in Tampa may be able to successfully challenge the State’s evidence and avoid a conviction of the charges.

The court can also impose other penalties in addition to incarceration on drivers convicted of leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage or injury. For instance, the court can require the driver to pay restitution to the victim for injuries or damage caused as a result of the accident. Additionally, defendants can have their driver’s license suspended for at least 3 years. Further, the driver may need to provide proof of completing a victim’s impact panel session in a judicial court before having their driver’s license reinstated.

Please note, the penalties discussed in this article are solely in relation to the charge of leaving the scene of an accident. There may be separate and additional penalties imposed if there are other charges related to leaving the scene. For instance, if the driver is convicted of a DUI that involved an accident and left the scene of the accident, the driver may be facing penalties under both Florida DUI law and leaving the scene of an accident.

Contact a Florida Criminal Defense Attorney:
If you have been arrested for DUI you should hire competent legal counsel, especially if your arrest includes allegations of property damage or injury. Florida DUI law takes a tough stance on drivers convicted of causing property damage or injury while drunk driving. To schedule a free consultation with a DUI defense attorney in Tampa call Florida Law Advisers, P.A. at 800 990 7763. The DUI attorneys at our firm carefully scrutinize every detail of a case to identify any potential errors by police, violations of constitutional rights, mishandling of evidence, or sloppy police work we can use to help our clients. We know how much our clients have at stake in DUI cases and we work diligently to aggressively defend our clients.

In order to be convicted of drunk driving Florida, the State will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant: (1) drove or was in physical control of a vehicle; (2) was under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, a chemical substance listed in Florida Statute 877.111, or a controlled substance listed in Chapter 893 of the Florida Statutes; and (3) was impaired or had a blood or breath alcohol level of .08 or higher. If the prosecutor fails to prove all three of the above elements beyond a reasonable doubt the defendant will be found not guilty. Typically, in Florida DUI trials the prosecutor will rely on chemical blood alcohol tests, field sobriety tests, police videotapes, and testimony of the arresting officer to prove their case. A skilled DUI defense lawyer can challenge the admissibility of these and other types of evidence the prosecutor intends to introduce at trial. Challenges to admissibility of evidence can include lack of authenticity, hearsay, and insufficient chain of custody. If the DUI defense lawyer’s challenges are successful the evidence will be inadmissible at trial and cannot be used help convict the defendant at a DUI trial in Florida.

Chain of Custody:
Chain of custody refers to the movement and location of physical evidence from the time it is obtained until the time it is presented in court. When the prosecutor in a Florida DUI trial intends to introduce evidence that is secured at the traffic stop or a laboratory, the prosecutor must establish that the evidence introduced at trial is in fact the same piece of physical evidence that was secured at the stop or laboratory. A DUI defense attorney in Tampa will typically try to raise doubts that the evidence at trial is in fact the same piece of evidence that was previously obtained. For instance, if the DUI defense lawyer can show there is a gap in the chain of custody the evidence may be deemed inadmissible in a court of law.

If the defense can show there is a gap in the chain of custody that may raise concerns that there was a probability the evidence was tampered with or is not the same piece of evidence that was previously obtained it may be thrown out of court. For example, if the prosecutor cannot properly identify where the laboratory blood tests where throughout the entire time it was obtained up till trial it may be susceptible to a chain of custody challenge. In order for a DUI defense attorney to prevail on a chain of custody objection the defendant must show that there was a probability the evidence was tampered with, a possibility of tampering is not enough. See Florida v. Jones.

Improper Authentication:
Before evidence can be introduced at a DUI trial in Florida the attorney offering the evidence must establish the necessary foundation to indicate the evidence is what it purports to be. For instance, before introducing a photograph of a crime scene the attorney must provide evidence that the photograph accurately depicts the crime scene. Typically, this can be established by having the photographer testify in court that they were at the crime scene, had a camera, took the picture, and the picture is in fact that of the crime scene.

Most police vehicles in Hillsborough and Pinellas County are equipped with video recorders that are used to show the interaction between the police and defendant during the traffic stop. In order to admit the video at a DUI trial, the prosecutor will need to provide evidence that it accurately depicts the scene of the arrest and any applicable sobriety tests performed before it can be used as evidence. In most cases, the prosecutor will rely on the arresting officer to authenticate the video. It will then be up to the DUI defense attorney to cross examine the officer and raise doubts as to the video’s authentication. Depending on the facts and circumstances of the arrest, a DUI defense lawyer may be able to challenge the video’s authentication and have it thrown out of court.

Hearsay:
Hearsay is an out-of-court statement used to prove the truth of the matter asserted. Hearsay statements is a broad term, it is not limited to just verbal statements, it also includes documents and reports prepared out-of-court. Hearsay statements are not admissible in a DUI trial unless the prosecutor proves it falls into one of the statutory exceptions to the hearsay rule. The most common type of hearsay docuemnt in a DUI trial is the laboratory result of the blood alcohol tests. Blood alcohol tests are conducted outside of the courtroom; therefore, before it can be admissible evidence the prosecutor must prove it falls into one of the statutory exceptions to the hearsay rule.

Prosecutors will typically try to admit the blood alcohol test results under the business record exception to hearsay. See Florida Statute 90.803(6). In order to classify as a business records exception to hearsay the prosecutor must prove: the records was made at or near the time by, or from information transmitted by, a person with knowledge, the records is kept in the ordinary course of a regularly conducted business activity, and it was the regular practice of that business to make such a report. However, even if the prosecutor satisfies the business records exception test the DUI defense lawyer can still have the laboratory results ruled inadmissible if the circumstances show a lack of trustworthiness. See Love v. Garcia.

Contact a DUI Defense Lawyer About Your Specific Case:
If you have been accused of a DUI in Florida call us to schedule a free case review with a Tampa DUI attorney. At Florida Law Advisers, we carefully scrutinize every detail of a DUI case to identify any potential errors by police, violations of constitutional rights, mishandling of evidence, or sloppy police work that we can use to help our clients. Every DUI case is unique, so we carefully develop a comprehensive legal strategy that is individualized for each client. To find out if we can help you beat the DUI charges or for answers to your legal questions, contact us today by phone, email, or website form to schedule a free consultation with a Tampa DUI lawyer at our firm.

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a serious offense in Florida that can carry significant penalties. One such penalty, may be the requirement of probation. Probation for DUI convictions in Florida often require more than just periodic visits to the assigned probation officer. The court will commonly impose other requirements as a condition of the probation. If you have been arrested for a DUI it is important to hire a DUI attorney to help fight the charges against you. An experienced DUI defense lawyer can use legal grounds to attack the evidence against you and seek a dismissal of the charges. In most DUI cases, it is best to hire a DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible, delays in obtaining legal counsel can hinder the defense options available to defendants.

Under Florida DUI law, the court is authorized to impose mandatory conditions as part of the probation sentence. The conditions can include, but are not limited to: community service, DUI school, ignition interlock device installation, and vehicle impoundment. For more information on these and the other types of possible conditions for probation contact a DUI defense lawyer in the Tampa Bay area.

Community Service:
If convicted of a DUI in Hillsborough or Pinellas County, Florida the court will likely make it a condition of probation that the defendant perform 50 hours of community service. In some cases, the court will allow the defendant to buyout up to half of the community services hours. It will cost the defendant $10 to buyout each hour of community service. Many defendants prefer to pay the $10 per hour and reduce the community service to 25 hours. However, the court must approve the buyout. Typically, if the defendant can show the community service will hinder their employment the court will permit the buyout.

DUI School:
There are two types of substance abuse courses, the Level 1 and Level 2 course. The type of course that will be required depends on the circumstances of the arrest and whether or not the driver has previous DUI convictions. The Level 1 course requires a minimum 12 hours of instruction, and the Level 2 course requires a minimum of 21 hours of class time. Both of these courses are intended to educate drivers on the effects of drunk driving, rather than serving as a form punishment.

The defendant will be required to pay for the DUI course. The Level 1 course in Pinellas County will cost $276.50. The Level 2 course in Pinellas county will cost $421.50. In Hillsborough County, the Level 1 course will cost $263, the Level 2 course will cost $408.

DUI Ignition Interlock Device:
An ignition interlock device (IID) requires the driver to verify their blood alcohol level is below .08 each time they want to start the car. The IID is basically a breathalyzer test hooked up to your car’s engine. The court can require the IID to be installed on all vehicles that are individually or jointly leased or owned by the defendant as a condition of DUI probation. Additionally, the court can require installation of an ignition interlock device on all vehicles not owned or leased that are routinely operated by the defendant.

The defendant will be required to pay for the installation and maintenance of the IID, which can add up to a lot of money. The costs for each IID usually include: a $12 interlock fee, $75 installation fee, $72.50 monthly monitoring fee, and either a $100 refundable deposit or a $5 monthly insurance charge for the device.

Vehicle Impoundment:
If convicted of a DUI in the Tampa Bay area, the court can also order impoundment of the defendant’s vehicle as a condition of the probation. The length of the impoundment will depend on the facts and circumstances of the DUI arrest. Typically, a first time DUI conviction will result in impoundment for 10 days. If the defendant has previous DUI convictions the time of impoundment will increase substantially. For instance, if the defendant has a prior DUI conviction, the vehicle may be impounded for up to 30 days. However, if the family of the defendant has no other means of transportation the impoundment may be lifted by the court.

Contact a DUI Defense Law Firm in the Tampa Bay Area:
If you have been arrested for drunk driving in the Tampa Bay area contact Florida Law Advisers to speak with a DUI defense attorney. The DUI attorneys at our firm carefully scrutinize every detail of a case to identify any potential errors by police, violations of constitutional rights, mishandling of evidence, or sloppy police work we can use to help our clients. We know how much our clients have at stake in DUI cases and we work diligently to aggressively defend our clients. We are available 24/7 and our initial consultation is free. Call us today at 800 990 7763 to speak with a DUI defense attorney in Tampa.

enforcement of child support

When a court order to pay spousal or child support is violated it can have devastating effects on the party expecting to receive the funds. Often, the party will depend on the funds each month to make ends meet. Fortunately, Florida family law provides many different tools for child support enforcement. If you are not receiving the child support or alimony a court awarded you contact a family law attorney for assistance. A family law firm in Tampa may be able to assist you by petitioning a court to employ one of the options for enforcement of child support or alimony listed below.

Enforcement of Child Support with Wage Garnishment

Under Florida child support law, a court is authorized to garnish wages as a method of enforcement of child support. A wage garnishment automatically deducts the funds you are entitled to receive from the payor’s paycheck. The court can require the enforcement of child support by garnishment to occur on a periodic basis and continue for as long as the court deems necessary. Further, orders for child support are not susceptible to the head of household defense to garnishments. See Waddell v. Schwarz.

Enforcement of Child Support with Suspended Driver’s License

Failure to pay child support or alimony can result in a driver’s license suspension as a means of enforcement of child support or alimony. See Florida family law 61.13016. Additionally, under Florida Statute 61.13015, the payor’s professional license can be suspended or denied as a form of enforcement of child support. However, a court can deny the license suspension petition if it would result in irreparable harm to the payor and not help accomplish the objective of collecting payment. Additionally, the court may refuse to suspend a license if the payor demonstrates a good faith effort to reach an agreement with the payee.

Enforcement of Child Support by Civil or Criminal Contempt

Failure to comply with a court order requiring payment of spousal or child support can be enforced by either a civil or criminal contempt action. However, civil contempt is used much more frequently than criminal contempt. In order to convict a person of criminal contempt, the evidence must prove the defendant has the ability to pay and the failure to pay is willful and intentional. See Bowen v. Bowen. Further, since it is a criminal action, the prosecution must be in compliance with Rule 3.840 of the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure. If convicted of criminal contempt for failure to pay court ordered alimony the incarceration must not exceed 180 days. The incarceration is designed to encourage payment of the funds that are due, rather than retributive. Therefore, often a court will purge the contempt if a specified amount is paid by the defendant.

On the other hand, the burden for obtaining civil contempt as a means of enforcement of child support only requires proof that there is a prior court order directing the defendant to pay alimony, and the defendant has failed to pay according to the terms of the court order. However, a defendant can defeat a civil contempt action by demonstrating that due to circumstances beyond his/ her control he/ she no longer has the ability to tender the payments required by the court order. For this defense to apply, the defendant must prove the failure to pay is unintentional and due to an intervening circumstance not contemplated at the time the original order requiring support was entered.

Garnishment of Tax Returns for Enforcement of Child Support

If a party does not adhere to a court order to pay child support their federal income tax dependent exemption may be allocated to the other parent. See Florida Statute 61.30. Further, the court can order the exemption to be allocated to the payee either on a permanent or rotating basis. The dependent tax exemption can be a substantial amount of money. Therefore, in some cases this can be a significant penalty for failure to comply with a child support order.

Defenses to Enforcement of Child Support or Alimony Orders

The payor may have legal defenses which will prevent a Florida family law court from taking action on enforcement of child support. Defenses to payment include but are not limited to: laches, the child has reached the age of majority, and a present inability to pay the amount owed. There may be other defenses available, for advice on a particular case or circumstance contact a family law attorney in Tampa for advice.

Tampa Family Law Firm

A skilled family law attorney in Tampa can make a big difference in a case for enforcement of child support or alimony. If you are seeking enforcement of an alimony or child support order, or trying to prevent contempt for failure to pay contact Florida Law Advisers, P.A. to speak with a family law attorney in Tampa, Florida. The family law attorneys at Florida Law Advisers, P.A. have years of experience in both advocating for and against enforcement of alimony and child support orders. With years of experience in family law litigation, we are more than ready to present a compelling case on your behalf and to stand firm for what is fair. If you would like to speak with a divorce lawyer at our firm call us today at 800 990 7763.