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DUI in the City of Bartow

If you have been arrested for DUI in the City of Bartow, after either taking a breath test or refusing to submit to a breath, blood or urine test, ithen your case will be heard at the courthouse in downtown Bartow, FL. Many of these cases involve an arrest by an officer with the Bartow Police Department, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office, of the Florida Highway Patrol. Other DUI cases in Polk County are prosecuted at the courthouse in Winter Haven, FL.

In addition to the criminal case, you should also fight the DUI administrative suspension of your driver's license initiated by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) at the Bureau of Administrative Reviews (BAR) office in Tampa, FL. To fight the administrative suspension, you should hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who can demand a formal review hearing within 10 days of the arrest.

DUI Attorney in Bartow, FL

If you were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI), it is important to hire an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney. At the Sammis Law Firm, P.A., we focus on drunk driving and DUI cases after an arrest by an officer with the Bartow Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies.

We can help you obtain all of the paperwork the officer filled out regarding the case including the DUI Affidavit and Report, the charging citation, and the DUI Detection Package Report. We fight DUI cases involving a breath test reading on the Intoxilyzer 8000 that is over the legal limit of .08 or subject to enhanced sanctions for being over .15. We also represent clients who submitted to a urine or blood test or the refusal to submit to chemical testing.

Contact us to find out what you need to do today to protect all avenues of attacking the charges and protecting your driver license. Talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney for Bartow, FL. Call 813-250-0500.


10 Days to Demand a Formal Review Hearing

Remember that you only have 10 days after your arrest to file a request for a formal review hearing with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. If you fail to do you, your driver's license will be automatically suspended for a period of six (6) months for a breath test reading over the legal limit of 0.08 or for a period of one year for an alleged refusal to submit to chemical testing case. If your license has previously been suspended after a DUI arrest, you may be facing a driver's license suspension of twelve (12) to eighteen (18) months.

If your driver's license is administratively suspended after a DUI arrest in Bartow, Florida, you may be apply for a business purpose only or hardship license after serving out a "hard suspension" period during which you can not drive for any reason. If you took the breath test and blew over the legal limit, then a 30 day hard suspension will result, meaning that you can not drive for any reason for 30 days. If you allegedly refused to take the breath test, then your hard suspension will be for 90 days for a first offense.

Effective July 1, 2013, if you have no prior DUI arrests, then you may be eligible to request a waiver review hearing for immediate reinstatement. You must apply for immediate reinstatement within 10 days of th arrest after enrolling in DUI school. Requesting immediate reinstatement also means you must forever waive your right to a formal review hearing to contest the administrative suspension.

It is also important to remember that the statutory changes on July 1, 2013, also increase your chances of winning the formal review hearing because if the arresting officer or breath test operator fails to appear, then the administrative suspension will be automatically invalidated or lifted completely from your driving record.


BPD's Standard Operating Procedure 1803-1 - DUI Enforcement and Procedures

The Bartow Police Department’s Standard Operating Procedures for DUI Enforcement and Procedures were last update on April 21, 2016. The purpose of this Standard Operating Procedure is to provide members of the Bartow Police Department with guidelines on the investigation and enforcement of driving under the influence complaints.

The City of Bartow Police Department recognizes that the operation of a vehicle while intoxicated or impaired can have grave results leading to the death or serious injury of the driver or innocent persons.  Driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol places the public's safety at risk and the seriousness of such an act cannot be taken lightly.

The policy of the City of Bartow Police Department is to actively seek out violators and aggressively enforce the laws of this state with regard to chemically impaired driving. DUI enforcement officers for the Bartow Police Department are trained that a DUI case includes the following elements:

  1. An officer must have a legal right to stop a vehicle;
  2. The suspect was driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle.
  3. The suspect's normal faculties were impaired by alcohol or any chemical substance set forth in F.S.S. 877.111 or any substance controlled under F.S.S. 893.

The DUI enforcement officer with the police department in the City of Bartow are trainined to identify the offender. The Traffic Crash Investigation can identify the offender by using information required by law for the crash report cannot be used to establish probable cause and personal observations are permissible for probable cause. Upon completion of the crash investigation, the DUI enforcement officer must inform the suspect:

  1. That the crash investigation has been terminated;
  2. That the possibility he/she may be DUI is now being investigated;
  3. Proceed with field sobriety tasks if necessary;
  4. Place the suspect under arrest at this time or release him/her; and
  5. If arrested, follow steps as outlined in the standard operating procedures.

For all routine traffic stops, officers with the Bartow Police Department are trained to evaluate the driver's behavior. From the initial observation, the officer will look for signs of aggressiveness, excessive talking, disorientation, unsure movements, and odor of alcoholic beverages. The officers are trained to look for signs of use of controlled substances; such as, seeds, "roaches" in the ashtray, etc. Abnormal driving patterns that might indicate intoxication can include:

  • Abnormal speed (too fast or too slow);
  • Weaving over center line or off shoulder of the road;
  • Improper passing;
  • Sitting through a green light;
  • Stopping too far back from the intersection;
  • Driving with headlights off at night; or
  • Driving on the wrong side of the roadway.

Once attention has been drawn to the vehicle, the officer will note the exact location of each violation or erratic driving behavior to be included in the report. After the decision to stop the vehicle has been made, the officer will look for a suitable location, considering traffic conditions, lighting, and safety of others in the area. The officer will advise communications of a possible DUI and request a backup officer.

After the officer turns on his emergency lights and motions for the driver to pull over, the officer will look for evidence related to the driver's reaction that might indicate impairment. When the driver exits the vehicle, the officer will note what the driver does and his physical condition (i.e., staggering, weaving, holding onto the vehicle, etc.). If the driver sits in the vehicle, the officer is trained to approach from the left and stand slightly to the rear of the driver and ask for his/her driver's license, registration and proof of insurance. The BPD officer will ask the driver to stop the engine, while looking for the following clues of impairment:

  • Fumbling to find his/her license, registration and insurance information or to remove it;
  • An odor on breath or about his/her person;
  • Flushed face;
  • Slurred or incoherent speech, thick tongue; and
  • Bloodshot, watery, or glassy eyes.

The officer with the Bartow Police Deparatment will ask the driver to step out of the vehicle and note movements as he/she exits, and physical conditions as he/she stands. After the driver has exited the vehicle, the officer will ask the driver to take a field sobriety task.  Each officer will carry a piece of  equipment, designed for the marking of a line in the event one is not readily available.

The officer is required to select a safe location that is relatively smooth. The officer will demonstrate the tasks which the suspect is to perform. In an effort to maintain uniformity and increase convictions, officers shall, at a minimum, administer the following sobriety tests:

  • Walk and turn (heel to toe method);
  • One leg stand; and
  • Any other tasks that the officer can use to help the officer make his or her determination.

If observation and field sobriety tasks established probable cause, then the officer is trained to do the following:

  • Place the suspect under arrest;
  • Transport the suspect to the Polk County Jail where he/she is read implied consent warnings and offered a chemical intoxication test; and
  • If the taking of a breath sample is impossible or impractical the officer may transport the suspect to the police department and request a urine sample.

After the chemical intoxication test, the officer will ead Miranda rights and complete the subject interview. Then the officer will complete a DUI Affidavit and Report, BPF (055) and submit it with the charging citation to the Polk County Jail.  A copy will be submitted to Records. A DUI Detection Package Report, BPF (056) will also be completed and submitted to Records.


DUI Checkpoints in Bartow, FL

The Standard Operating Procedures for Vehicle Checkpoints by the Bartow Police Department were last updated on April 20, 2016. The purpose of this Standard Operating Procedure is to establish guidelines to be utilized by members of the Department when conducting vehicle checkpoints. All checkpoints shall be conducted during daylight hours or with sufficient lighting to adequately identify the location as a vehicle checkpoint. A supervisor with the rank of sergeant or above shall be present and in charge at the checkpoint.

Checkpoints allow the Bartow Police Department to review a large volume of vehicles and drivers for compliance with the driver's license and motor vehicle laws with minimal intrusion to the public.

By giving proper attention to traffic control and safety, officers can effectively enforce driver's license and motor vehicle laws under controlled conditions that a routine traffic stop may not allow.

It is the policy of the Bartow Police Department to conduct vehicle checkpoints in a safe, effective, and legal manner with minimal intrusion to the public.

All checkpoints must be approved in advance, by the Chief of Police or his designee, in writing specifying the dates, time frame, and location. The Chief of Police or designee shall notify the local media advising that the Bartow Police Department will be conducting driver's license and vehicle inspection checkpoints.

This information shall advise the media that driver's license and vehicle inspection checkpoints will be conducted during specific dates at specified locations. The release of information to the media shall be submitted in sufficient time to allow publication of the information prior to the implementation of any checkpoint, as required by State and Federal guidelines.

Random selection of vehicles to be stopped shall not be permitted. Checkpoints for systematic review of driver's license status and driving under the influence may be conducted based upon:

  1. Available personnel (both on the road and in Communications);
  2. Current shift workload; and
  3. Community needs.

Checkpoints should be chosen:

  1. With a realistic belief that a location would yield violators;
  2. With sufficient area and restriction to allow a workable checkpoint; and
  3. At such time and place to cause minimal intrusion or delay to the motoring public.

All checkpoints will have an Operational Plan, BPF(060) and an After Action Report, BPF(098) completed and approved by the Chief of Police for the Bartow Police Department.


Driver's License Checkpoints in the City of Bartow, FL

The driver's license checkpoint administered by the Bartow Police Department is intended to allow the officer(s) to stop all vehicles, make the check, and then allow the vehicle to proceed. Among the items to be addressed by the planning of a DL checkpoint are:

  1. A system of choosing the target (all vehicles, every other vehicle, every third vehicle, etc.);
  2. Limitations on what to check for (suspended DL, possession of DL, etc.);
  3. Location for writing citations, warnings, as well as parking of cars of arrestees;
  4. Provisions for unexpected events (warrants, other wants, etc.); e. Time limit of check; and
  5. Provision for terminating the checkpoint if delays become too long or fewer members become available to work the check.

The supervisor in charge, on scene, shall make the decision for terminating the checkpoint.


DUI Checkpoints in the City of Bartow, FL

DUI checkpoints allow the officer(s) to stop all vehicles, make the check, and then allow the vehicle to proceed. Among the items to be addressed by the planning of a DUI checkpoint are:

  1. A system of choosing the target (all vehicles, every other vehicle, every third vehicle, etc.);
  2. Limitations on what to check for (DUI, DL, any violation, etc.);
  3. Location for writing citations, warnings as well as parking of cars of arrestees;
  4. Provisions for unexpected events (warrants, other wants, etc.);
  5. Time limit of check; and
  6. Provision for terminating the checkpoint if delays become too long or fewer members become available to work the check. The supervisor in charge, on scene, shall make the decision for terminating the checkpoint.

Finding a Lawyer for DUI Cases in Bartow, FL

Contact the Sammis Law Firm today to fight out what steps you must take in the 10 days after your arrest to preserved all of your options for the best result in your Bartow, Polk County, Florida, driving under the influence or drunk driving (DUI) case. Call 813-250-0500 today to speak with a criminal defense attorney for Bartow, FL.

In many DUI cases in which a viable motion can be filed, the best results occur after your attorney has filed a motion to suppress or exclude evidence, or potentially a motion to dismiss. Learn more about potential defenses that may apply to your DUI prosecution by contacting an experienced DUI lawyer who is experienced in fighting cases in Bartow, Polk County, FL.

Hiring a criminal defense attorney in Polk County, FL, early in the process allows you to fight the administrative suspension of your driver's license. At the formal review hearing your attorney can subpoena of the law enforcement officers that were involved in your arrest to provide testimony under oath that is recorded.

That testimony can later be used to prepare motions to dismiss, or motions to suppress or exclude evidence during your criminal trial. This formal review hearing is particularly important in misdemeanor DUI cases because your DUI attorney does not normally have the opportunity to take a deposition of the officers involved in your arrest before a motion hearing or trial.


This article was last updated on March 2, 2018.