1005 N. Marion St.
Tampa, FL 33602

DUI Lawyer for Pasco County, FL

If you have been arrested for a DUI in Pasco County, FL, then your criminal charges will be prosecuted at the courthouse in either Dade City or New Port Richey. The four attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm are focused on DUI defense. We are experienced in fighting DUI cases throughout Pasco County, FL, and the surrounding areas.

Whether you took a breath, blood or urine test or refused any chemical testing, call us at 813-250-0500 to discuss your case.

Watch a quick video showing how one of our attorneys, Jason Sammis, uncovered evidence of police misconduct at a recent DUI checkpoint in Pasco County, FL, which lead to the dismissal of the charges.

The decisions that you make in the first few days after your arrest may have a tremendous impact on how your case is ultimately resolved. Just because you were arrested for DUI does not mean that you will be convicted. An experienced criminal defense attorneys can fight to have the charges reduced to lesser offenses such as reckless driving.

Other cases are resolved with no conviction of any offense after the prosecutor drops the charges, or the court dismisses the charges for insufficient evidence. Only by speaking directly with an experienced attorney can you learn about defenses that might apply to your case.

Contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer for DUI defense in New Port Richey and Dade City. Call 813-250-0500 to discuss your case directly with an attorney during a free and confidential consultation. Let us put our experience to work for you.

Protect Your Privilege to Drive after a Pasco County DUI

After your arrest, you have just ten (10) days to file a demand for a "formal review hearing" with the Bureau of Administrative Review (BAR) of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). After an arrest in Pasco County, the demand must be filed at the Bureau of Administrative Reviews Office in Clearwater, FL. It is important to have an experienced DUI attorney represent you at the formal review hearing to protect your driver's license.

If you do not file for a formal review hearing within 10 days, then you will suffer a hard suspension for either 30 days (if your BAC was over .08) or 90 days (if you refused to sumbit to a BAC test).

Although you can seek immediate reinstatement of your driving privileges to avoid the hard suspension, doing so requires you to WAIVE your rights and basically stipulate to the DUI for administrative purposes. That notation on your driving record that you were found to be DUI for administrative purposes will stay on your driving record for 75 years. For this reason, we ALWAYS recommend that our clients let us demand their formal review hearing within the first 10 days after the arrest.

Deciding whether to waive all your rights or request a FORMAL review hearing is one of the most important decisions you will make in the case.

If your attorney files for the formal review hearing and your license is otherwise valid, then you will be issued a 42-day driving permit so that you can continue to drive for hardship purposes while your attorney fights to invalidate the administrative suspension.

The formal review hearing is one of the most critical stages of your DUI case in Pasco County because it allows your DUI attorney to question each of the state's witnesses against you under oath. We can subpoena the officer that conducted the traffic stop, the officer that conducted the roadside agility exercises, any backup officer at the scene, the breath test technician, and the agency inspector that maintains the breathalyzer machines used in Pasco County, FL.

The evidence that your DUI attorney gathers at the hearing is critical to asking the hearing officer to invalidate the administrative suspension. The evidence gathered at the formal review hearing will also play an important role in fighting the criminal charges.

A transcript from that formal review hearing can be used to impeach the witnesses if they change their story at a hearing or trial in the criminal case. The transcript might also help your attorney convince the prosecutor in the criminal case to reduce the charges. If your case eventually goes to trial, that evidence gathered during the formal review hearing often plays a criminal role in fighting for the not guilty verdict.

Fight the Criminal DUI Charge in Pasco County, FL

Not only must you fight the DUI case with the DMV, but you must also answer the criminal charges at the Pasco County Courthouse in either Dade City or New Port Richey, Florida. Your attorney can attend court on your behalf.

Your attorney may be able to file motions to suppress evidence or motions to dismiss the DUI charges on your behalf.

In many of these case, after the arrest, the subject is taken to the jail at the Pasco County Sheriff's Office in 20101 Central Blvd, Land O' Lakes, FL 34637. The Pasco County Sheriff's Office has five (5) breath test machines called the Intoxilyzer 8000.

Each machine is identified by a different serial number. The following breathalyzer machines are registered the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office:

  • 80-001081
  • 80-001049
  • 80-001074
  • 80-001117
  • 80-003347

The breath testing program in Pasco County has serious problems. In fact, in 2015, the Pasco County has used three different agency inspectors. In 2017, the agency inspector changed again.

It came to light that the agency inspector for the first part of the year in 2015 was backspacing and deleting error warning messages that occurred during monthly agency inspections. When the machine was not in compliance with the rules, the agency inspector was simply logging back in and completing another inspection without notifying FDLE which is required by the rules.

The attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm are filing and litigating motions attacking breath test readings taken at the time that the Intoxilyzer 8000 was not in substantial compliance with the administrative rules.

The deletion of error messages a major problem because the agency inspector is required to report the results of the test to FDLE. FDLE, judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys rely on seeing those error messages in order to understand whether the machine was working properly. These error messages can include:

  • Int Det
  • RFI Detect
  • Control Outside Tolerance
  • A F / M A
  • Ambient Fail

At the Sammis Law Firm, we take DUI breath test cases very seriously. We conduct an audit on the particular breath test machine used in your case. We can show you the log login records, the annual inspection, each monthly inspection, any repair records, and any subject tests before and after you submit to the test. It is important that you and your attorney understand any problems with the breath test machine used in your case.

If the problems are serious, your attorney can file a motion to exclude the breath test results from the trial because of a lack of substantial compliance with the rules. Even if that motion is denied and the jury sees the results, your attorney can show all of the problems with the way monthly inspections were being conducted and problems with the machine. Call us to discuss any DUI breath test in Pasco County, including a breath test case being prosecuted at the courthouse in New Port Richey or Dade City, FL.

Pasco County Sheriff's Office General Order 61.8 for DUI Investigations

General Order 61.8 (effective July 31, 2006) was issued by the Pasco County Sheriff's Office to establish guidelines for conducting driving under the influence (DUI) investigations. It applies to all law enforcement deputies with the Pasco County Sheriff's Office who preform DUI investigations, testing, arrests, and administrative license suspension duties. Those duties MUST be performed in accordance with the order.

The Pasco County Sheriff's Office trains its officers to look for certain indicators when investigating possible DUI cases. The officers are trained to look for certain vehicle maneuvers that may indicate alcohol intoxication or impairment after using drugs including:

  1. Turning with a wide radius;
  2. Straddling the center line or lane markers;
  3. Near collisions;
  4. Weaving, swerving or drifting on the roadway;
  5. Driving off the roadway;
  6. Driving into the oncoming traffic lane;
  7. Traveling more than 10 mph below the posted speed limit;
  8. Stopping on the roadway without cause;
  9. Following too closely;
  10. Braking erratically;
  11. Signaling inconsistent with driving paters;
  12. Slow response to traffic signals;
  13. Sudden or illegal turns;
  14. Rapid deceleration or acceleration; and
  15. Driving without headlights after dark.

After a traffic stop is conducted, law enforcement officers in Pasco County are trained to make certain observations while performing traffic stops. Officers will observe whether the driver pulled over safely and immediately and whether he or she gave any explanation for the observed difficulty driving. The officer will request the driver's license, insurance card and vehicle registration.

During the initial observation, the officer is trained to look for the following clues of impairment:

  1. Bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, crying;
  2. Irrational behavior or belligerence;
  3. Disheveled or soiled clothing;
  4. Inability to operate windows and/or doors, or lack of dexterity and inability to find ID;
  5. The odor of an alcoholic beverage or marijuana.

The officer will also look for contraband within plain view including open containers of an alcoholic beverage, legal or illegal controlled substances, or drug paraphernalia. The officer is also trained to document any pre-Miranda questions or admissions that can be used to assist the officer in finding reasonable suspicion of impairment.

Additional Resources

Pasco County DUI School -

New Port Richey DUI School with Pride Integrated Services, Inc.
7619 Little Road, Suite 350
New Port Richey, FL 34654
(727) 847-3411
fax (727) 847-3513

Zephyrhills DUI School with Pride Integrated Services, Inc.
5014 Mission Square
Zephyrhills, FL

Bureau of Administrative Review for Cases in Pasco County, FL

4585 140th Avenue
Clearwater, Florida 33762
727-507-4404 or 727-507-4405

DUI Information Center

Pasco County Sheriff's Office DUI Enforcement Unit - Read more about the Wolf Packs and Selective Traffic Enforcement Patrol Unit (called "STEP) for the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. STEP is made up of six deputies and a sergeant who are on the look out for suspected drunk drivers. STEP focuses patrol efforts near high crash intersections as determined by traffic statistician. STEP and the Motor Unit and Patrol Operations use Strategic Traffic Accident Reduction Tactics (called "START) to find locations to target. Find STEP Unit activities in Pasco County including scheduled sobriety checkpoints (roadblocks), aggressive driving enforcement, and DUI saturation patrols. Also find statistics on Pasco County DUI crashes and arrests.

New Port Richey Police Department - In 2009 the New Port Richey Police Department made 1,154 arrests. Most of the arrests were made by patrol officers.

Port Richey Police Department - Law enforcement officers with the Port Richey Police Department take part in special DUI Wolf Pack details as well as other city and county wide traffic enforcement efforts.

Zephyrhills Police Department - Read more about the Uniform Patrol Section and Operations Division for DUI investigations in Zephyrhills, Florida.

Dade City Police Department - Ray Velboom, Chief of the Dade City Police Department, represents 24 sworn officers and more than 16 civilian employees for the county seat of Pasco County, FL.

Finding a DUI Attorney in Pasco County, FL

If you were arrested for DUI in Pasco County, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Sammis Law Firm. We fight charges of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs throughout the county. Whether your case is being prosecuted at the courthouse in New Port Richey or Dade City, we can help.

We focus on drunk driving defense including the refusal case, or breath or blood test reading of a BAC over .08. We provide consultations over the phone or in the office to discuss the case.

This article was last updated on Thursday, January 18, 2018.