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Tampa, FL 33602
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Tampa Attorney Explains DUI Defenses

At the Sammis Law Firm, our attorneys focus on defending DUI cases. As a result, we pay attention to new developments in the law and defenses that can help us win our cases.

When you come in for the initial consultation, we can discuss the facts of your case and particular defenses that might apply. 

If you were arrested for Driving Under the Influence ("DUI"), then contact an experienced and aggressive DUI attorney at the Sammis Law Firm. Our offices are located in downtown Tampa. We represent clients throughout Tampa and Plant City in Hillsborough County, and the surrounding counties throughout Tampa Bay.


Types of Defenses in DUI Cases

· Motions to Suppress or Exclude Evidence in the DUI Case
· DUI and Drug Recognition (DRE) Expert Testimony
· DUI Roadblock or Checkpoint
· 10 Day Rule and the Formal Review Hearing


Motion to Suppress or Exclude Evidence in Your Drunk Driving Case

One of the most effective ways to fight your case is to file and litigate motions to suppress or exclude certain evidence in your case, including:

  1. Showing that the initial stop of the vehicle was without reasonable suspension or probable cause under Florida law;

  2. Attacking procedures used by the police in performing a roadblock (or checkpoint stop) of your vehicle;

  3. Arguing that the officer made an arrest before sufficient probable cause existed to indicate that you were driving under the influence;

  4. Demonstrating that the law enforcement officer violated your rights by not advising you of your Miranda warnings;

  5. Attacking that the results of your breath test because of problems with the maintenance or calibration of the machine;

  6. Showing that the officer did not preserve evidence, including a video tape of your driving pattern, performance on the roadside tests, or alleged refusal;

  7. Showing the officer administered the roadside sobriety tests improperly;

  8. Showing that your implied consent warnings were not properly given, thereby making any mention of your alleged "refusal" inadmissible; or

  9. Using special defenses that may be available to you depending on the particular facts of the case including special defenses available to women charged with DUI.

By filing and litigating a motion to suppress or exclude your attorney can fight to dismantle the prosecutor's case one piece of evidence at a time. If any evidence is excluded then the prosecutor's chances for a successful prosecution can drop dramatically.

As a result, the negotiations often get better. By aggressively litigating motions to suppress and exclude evidence, we can often create the best opportunities for our clients to avoid a conviction.

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DUI and Drug Recognition (DRE) Expert Testimony

For many DUI cases, obtaining the best DUI expert witness can give you a distinct advantage during pre-trial motions, pre-trial negotiations with the prosecutor, and at trial. DUI expert witnesses can be hired to investigate and testify about flaws in the administration, maintenance or calibration of the breath test machine called the "Intoxilyzer 8000."

Many of the expert witnesses that testify about the Intoxilyzer 8000 are former breath test technicians or law enforcement officers who have special training on instructing other officers on how to correctly administer the breath test.

After obtaining any videotaped evidence of your performance on the roadside sobriety exercises, your criminal defense attorney can use expert testimony from former law enforcement officers with special training in administering and scoring field sobriety exercises to attack the mistakes made by the often less experienced DUI arresting officer.

The attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm use expert witnesses in many of our DUI cases. The cost of obtaining an expert to review your case so that the expert can be listed as a witness is very low. In many cases, just the fact that you have an expert willing to testify in your case may make it more likely that the prosecutor will offer to reduce the charges. If the case goes to trial, then the expert witness testimony is often crucial to obtaining a "not guilty" verdict.

The prosecutor will call an expert witness also - the arresting officer or breath test technician. By having your own DUI expert witness, who is often more qualified and experienced than the arresting officer or other state witness, you can put yourself in a position to obtain the best result possible.

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DUI Roadblock or DUI Checkpoint Cases

Law enforcement officers normally need probable cause that a crime or traffic infraction has occurred before they can stop a vehicle. One of the few exceptions to this rule is when the officers stop a vehicle during a DUI roadblock or checkpoints.

If you were arrested for a Florida DUI after being stopped in a roadblock or checkpoint, call our office to speak with a Tampa DUI attorney about filing a motion to suppress. If any of the strict requirements for the DUI roadblock were not followed by the arresting officers then your entire case could be dismissed even if you had an extraordinarily high breath test result.

The Florida Supreme Court has required that before a DUI roadblock is proper under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States and Florida law a set of highly detailed written guidelines must be established. Police officers in Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Polk County, Pasco County, and Hernando County often make mistakes in drafting or executing the DUI roadblock guidelines.

The field officers conducting the DUI roadblock must also follow strict procedures in determining which vehicles to stop. The field officers are typically not allowed to stop certain vehicles that look suspicious while letting other vehicles pass through.

The written DUI guidelines must establish exactly how vehicles are to be selected and the procedures used after the stop occurs. For instance, the police may articulate in the plan that every third vehicle is to be stopped. By articulating such a rule for a Florida DUI roadblock, the officers are not able to deviate from that plan and stop vehicles that they deem "suspicious" while at the scene.

Under Florida law, if the State does not meet the burden of showing that the DUI operational plan sufficiently limited the ability of the field officers to select vehicle, or that the field officers did not follow the plan, and then all evidence of the DUI must be suppressed. That means the officers can not testify about the fact that your vehicle was stopped or use any evidence gathered after the stop. If the officers found drugs in the vehicle after the bad stop, all of the physical evidence is also thrown out.

After winning a DUI motion to suppress because of a bad stop in a DUI roadblock, the prosecutor is usually forced to drop the charges or the court may be required to dismiss the charge.

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DUI Administrative Suspension Hearing with the DMV

After a DUI arrest, the officer typically takes your Florida Driver's License and issues you a temporary driving permit. After your arrest you have only 10 days to request a formal review hearing to fight the administrative suspension of your driver's license. We can prepare all of the necessary paperwork to schedule the administrative hearing.

We then subpoena or compel the appearance of all of the law enforcement officers involved in your arrest. The suspension of your driver license can only be avoided by winning the administrative hearing.

Additionally, by conducting a thorough investigation of your case prior to your administrative hearing, we are able to question the officer that conducted the stop of your vehicle and the arresting officer under oath. The testimony from the administrative hearing can them be used to "impeach" the officers at trial or a motion hearing if their testimony in court differs from their testimony at the administrative hearing.

Additionally, a transcript of the testimony can be provided to the prosecutor to demonstrate weaknesses in the case so that the best pre-trial negotiations can be achieved.

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Defending Against the DUI Charges

Call the attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm to discuss the best strategies to defend you against the charge of Driving Under the Influence ("DUI"). We understand which defenses might work best in front of a particular prosecutor or judge. Let us put our experience defending DUI cases in the criminal justice system in Tampa, Hillsborough County, FL, to work for you.

Call 813-250-0500 to speak with a criminal defense attorney at the Sammis Law Firm about the particular facts and circumstances of your case. We can begin your defense today.

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