DUI Defense Attorney Jacksonville FL
Criminal Defense Lawyers Fighting for You
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that over 1.5 million Americans are arrested for DUI each year. That translates to one out of every 121 licensed drivers who are stopped, investigated by police for impairment, and arrested for DUI. Even states that have legalized cannabis for recreational purposes are seeing an increase in DUI arrests, according to recent statistics. Most states impose harsh penalties and high fines for operating a vehicle or water craft while under the influence, and the penalties for repeat offenders are even more severe.
Although operating a motor vehicle while impaired is unlawful, not all alcohol consumption means a driver is under the influence to the extent that his or her normal faculties are impaired. However, in many cases, the slightest suggestion or evidence someone has recently consumed a beer, a glass of wine, or an alcoholic beverage is enough for the police to begin an investigation. The officer will request the driver to step out of the vehicle and submit to roadside field sobriety exercises. If the driver makes even small mistakes when performing these exercises, the hand-cuffs come out, and the driver is arrested and taken to jail.At the Law Offices of Fallgatter Catlin & Varon, P.A., we understand that not everyone arrested for DUI is guilty of DUI. The odor of alcohol on your breath or the inability to stand on one foot is not a crime and does not necessarily mean you are driving while impaired. Before you throw in the towel and plead guilty as charged, talk to a lawyer about the facts in your case and the options you have available to fight a DUI conviction. Penalties can be severe and once you have been convicted of a DUI crime, your life as you know it will change forever. A DUI conviction could affect your entry into some foreign countries, commercial driving privileges, some professional licensing, insurance rates, and even some jobs opportunities.
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Know Your Legal Rights if Stopped by Police
As Jacksonville criminal defense and DUI attorneys, Curtis Fallgatter and Lisa Varon always recommended that clients understand their legal rights if stopped by an officer and questioned about their sobriety. It is important to remain calm and treat the officer with respect and above all, be polite.
If you have consumed alcoholic beverages and believe it is not in your best interest to perform Field Sobriety Exercises or answer questions, here are a few simple statements you may make:
- I am not willing to answer any questions without a lawyer present and my attorney is Curtis Fallgatter.
- I have an injury or a general lack of coordination which could affect my ability to perform field sobriety exercises, and therefore I must decline them.
- I am not willing to submit to the breath or urine tests due to their inaccuracies and false readings.
- I am willing to submit to an independent blood or urine test to prove I am not impaired, and I have a credit card in my possession to pay for it.
- This is my name, address, driver’s license, vehicle registration, and insurance card.
First Steps In Fighting DUI Charges in Florida
If you have been arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or a Controlled Substance you are facing two separate charges, one civil and one criminal. After an arrest for DUI, a driver has the legal right to refuse a breath, urine, or blood test, but refusal to take a chemical test is grounds for an automatic license suspension for one year. If a driver agrees to take a breath test and blows over the legal limit of .08, his or her driver’s license will be suspended for six months.
You have a 10-day window from the time of your arrest to request an administrative hearing with the Florida DHSMV. This “Formal Review Hearing” may allow you to extend your driving privileges and retain your license, if your attorney can establish you were stopped or arrested without probable cause. It also allows your attorney to question the arresting officer about the investigation.
At the Law Offices of Fallgatter Catlin & Varon P.A., we understand that being arrested for DUI is a stressful and uncertain time in your life, and we want to make the handling of your case as easy as possible for you.
Curtis Fallgatter and his experienced legal team have only one common goal; to protect your rights and devise a strategy for a successful outcome in your case.
Curtis Fallgatter is a former Federal Prosecutor who has been practicing criminal law for over 40 years. He is one of the most experienced and successful criminal defense attorneys in the United States and has been coveted as an expert on criminal matters by television producers and the Dr. Phil Show, to provide commentary on criminal subjects ranging from DUI to complex criminal matters. Lisa Varon has been a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer for over 25 years and is the former President of the Northeast Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Put the full weight and experience of an experienced criminal trial attorney behind you. We understand that sometimes good people make bad choices, but don’t compound the situation by hiring the least expensive attorney or none at all. Protect your rights by hiring the most experienced and successful criminal defense attorneys available. You will be glad you did. Call Fallgatter Catlin & Varon, P.A. for a free consultation at 904-353-5800.
DUI is not an open-and-shut case
Although the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles reported 33,625 DUI convictions in 2011 alone, DUI is not an open and shut case. There are many requirements of proof and issues of evidence that the state must overcome before a defendant should plead guilty. An improper police stop can result in the exclusion of all evidence that came from that stop. Many times, officers claim that a driver failed the field test, but we review the video and prove them wrong — this happens in up to 50 percent of cases. Breath tests can also have many flaws, and because law enforcement often administers these tests several hours after you last drove a vehicle, many defenses exist against a failed breath test.
If you did plead guilty that first morning in court, do not think it is too late to get help. We can also assist in withdrawing your plea under many circumstances and fighting your case. Discover your options. The only way you are sure to lose is if you do not understand your rights.
Representation for a full array of traffic violations
Many times, police issue other traffic tickets along with a citation for DUI. Or else it may be that you simply got traffic tickets and no DUI. We can help there, too. Tickets can mean points on your license, and like a DUI, they can mean more expensive (or unavailable) insurance — often for years. If you got a ticket for being in an accident, a conviction may prevent you from denying fault if you are sued.
Contact us for full defense
Know your rights. Insist on them. Find a lawyer who fights for them. Fallgatter Catlin & Varon, P.A. provides the full protection you need. Contact us for a free consultation. Make the informed, intelligent decision. Take back the power and make the state answer to you.
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