Florida drivers know that drunk driving is against the law. However, people make mistakes, and when they do, they can wind up facing DUI charges. If this happens to you, there are a few things you should know.
You have rights.
Regardless of the charges against you, you have rights, including the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Further, you have rights before, during and after a traffic stop. If police stop you without probable cause, search your car without your consent or a warrant, or fail to read you your Miranda rights, you can contest the charges based on these violations.
Not all DUIs are the same.
All DUI charges are serious, but they are not all the same. Several factors will affect the type and severity of charges you might face.
- Aggravating factors increase the severity of an alleged criminal act. Factors that could trigger harsher charges and penalties include having children in the car at the time of a DUI, having multiple previous offenses or causing a severe crash.
- Mitigating circumstances reduce the severity of an alleged criminal act. These can include having no previous offenses or being just barely over the legal limit of 0.08 percent.
Whether there are aggravating or mitigating circumstances in your case will affect the charges you face and the potential penalties of pleading guilty or conviction.
There are defenses to these charges.
No matter what charges you might be facing, there are defenses that could result in reduced or dropped DUI charges.
One possible defense is proving that police violated your rights during a DUI stop or arrest. Another option is to challenge the accuracy or the administration of tests that measure blood alcohol content or to argue that you have a medical condition that interfered with the results. You might also cast doubt on witness statements or testimony.
Keep in mind that the appropriate approach to defending yourself will depend on you and the details of your case, so it can be wise to discuss these and other strategies with an attorney.
DUI charges in Fort Myers are serious and disruptive, but you can protect yourself from unfair and unnecessarily harsh outcomes by understanding your rights and options.