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What to Do if You are Arrested for DUI?

If you have been arrested for DUI, like most people, you are not quite sure what to do next. According to Jacksonville criminal defense attorneys Curtis Fallgatter and Lisa Varon, it is very important to fight a DUI case, but the question remains:  How do you win? The lawyer you choose needs to have the legal experience and expertise to know the right kind of strategy to handle a DUI case. Very much like a medical emergency room that triages cases, your attorney needs to “triage” your case, in order to provide you with the best outcome. 

First, your attorney must determine if the evidence is admissible in a court of law.  Was the traffic stop legal? If it wasn’t, then all of the evidence can be suppressed and the case should be dismissed.  Was their probable cause for your arrest?  If not, all evidence obtained after the arrest should be suppressed. Are the statements you made in violation of your Miranda rights? If so, they cannot be used against you. 

The second part of triaging the case is a review of the admissible evidence, including your performance on field sobriety tests and breathalyzer test results. Did the officer administer the field sobriety tests properly? Was the intoxilyzer machine properly maintained and tested?  Was the breath test operator qualified to administer the breath test?  Did the officers follow proper procedures? Are there any sobriety witnesses that were with you or who saw you before you were stopped, who can contradict the officers? Can they attest that you were not impaired and that you were walking and talking just fine? Is there additional evidence that proves you were not impaired?  Did bad weather affect your driving? Were there other factors, such as health issues, age, or obesity, that might have contributed to difficulty with the field sobriety tests?

Finally, even if the evidence establishes you were impaired, the last part of the triage is to review your mitigation.  Every person that is arrested is different. This might be your first offense, you might have children to support, you might have an important job which will be negatively impacted by a DUI conviction, or you might make significant contributions to the community. The judge and the prosecutor need to know who you are because every sentence should take into consideration who the person is and what they have done in their lifetime.

Those are 3 methods of triage, and something you and your lawyer should discuss and develop in writing.  At Fallgatter Catlin & Varon, P.A., we draft a Leads List, detailing those 3 key components of your defense, that ultimately gets translated into a written presentation and submitted to the prosecutor. You can assist your lawyer in a prompt investigation of your case, by obtaining statements from any sobriety witnesses, providing receipts showing what you ate, or drank prior to your arrest or stops you made at a gas station and taking photographs of the scene of the arrest.  All of these types of investigations need to be performed expeditiously to preserve the evidence so that you have the best possibility of having the charges dropped or reduced to a lesser charge.

Have Experienced, Legal Representation When Charged with DUI

First and second offense DUI’s are prosecuted as misdemeanors if no “aggravating factors” such as serious injury or death occur.  But the minimum sentence for a first or second DUI can carry severe penalties. Being arrested and charged with DUI in the State of Florida is a serious crime that can have lasting repercussions, because a DUI conviction cannot be sealed or expunged, and will always show up on a criminal background check. Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney is the first step to obtaining a successful outcome in any criminal prosecution. At Fallgatter Catlin & Varon, P.A. we have extensive experience handling all types of criminal law cases, including DUI, DUI manslaughter, murder, assault, white-collar crimes, drug charges, and sex offenses. Curtis Fallgatter is a former Federal Prosecutor with over 40 years of criminal law experience. Curtis is recognized as one of the most successful criminal defense attorneys in America. He has been called upon to give legal opinions on many complex criminal matters on both local and national television. Lisa Varon has been practicing as a criminal defense lawyer for over 25 years and is the former President of the Northeast Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Together Curtis and Lisa have over sixty years of shared legal experience in handling all types of criminal law cases. The law office of Fallgatter Catlin & Varon, P.A. is a full-service criminal defense firm protecting the rights of those accused of crimes. If you have been arrested for any criminal offense, including DUI, contact our office for a free, no-obligation consultation at 904-353-5800.