The Anatomy of a DUI and Palm Beach County’s “First Time DUI Offender Program”
The Office of the State Attorney in and for Palm Beach County, FL has a first time DUI offender program in place. The first time dui offender program allows those who have not been previously arrested for a DUI, those who have blown below a certain BAC level, were not involved in a DUI related crash and some other criteria, to have their DUI case examined by the prosecutor and their criminal defense attorney to possibly reduce their dui to a reckless driving arrest. The anatomy of a DUI follows.
Driving under the influence or “DUI” in Florida can be proven in many different ways, but the following elements of a DUI crime are essential. First, the state must prove that the driver was in actual physical control of the motor vehicle. Second, the driver was under the influence of alcoholic beverages or chemical controlled substances as described in FL STAT. 877.11 or a controlled substance as described in FL STAT. 893 or any combination thereof. Third, the driver’s normal facilities were impaired or while having a blood or breathe alcohol level higher than .08.
Once a driver is stopped for a driving infraction, at an accident scene, or roadside sobriety check point, and tells the police officer “yes I had a few beers” or “I had two drinks with my meal several hours ago” the officer has probable cause to believe that the driver is under the influence of alcoholic beverages and therefore may begin the DUI Investigation. Another way for an Officer to begin his or her DUI investigation is to report that the officer smells unknown alcoholic beverage coming from the driver’s breath or person. Once the predict of alcohol has been laid, the officer will begin the DUI investigation. The DUI investigation begins more often than not with the field sobriety test.
The field sobriety tests are likely videotaped and will be used as evidence in a court of law. The first field sobriety test most police officers employ is the HGN. The HGN is when the officer uses a pen light and shines it in the driver’s eyes and request that the driver follow the pen light with his eyes while keeping his head still. With the HGN, the officer is checking the pupil reaction to the light to determine if the tracking of the pupils is smooth or jerky. People under the influence of alcohol, prescription drugs or illegal drugs tend to have an eye pupil movement that is jerky when light stimuli hits their eye, versus the smooth reaction of the pupil to one who is not under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The second test is usually the finger to nose. The officer tells the driver to raise their finger to their nose; and touch the tip of their nose with the tip of their finger. But before doing so, the driver is asked to tilt their head back and keep their eyes closed. The verbal command of the hand being used is usually: left, right, left, right, left, left, and right. The variation of the commands regarding what hand to rise usually throws off the head lilted, closed eyed, driver.
The third test is usually the walk and turn. The walk and turn is when the officer request that the driver walk in a straight line touching their heel to their toe and counting a certain number of steps, usually ten. On the tenth step the driver is asked to keep their foot planted on the ground and pivot around with their other foot and come back the other way; again touching their heel to their toe.
The fourth test is usually the one leg stand. The one leg stand is when the officer asks that the driver to hold their foot approximately 6 inches from the ground and balances their body, while standing on the other foot for a period of time which is usually between 30-60 seconds.
The last test is usually the Romberg alphabet. The driver is asked to tilt their head back and close their eyes and say the alphabet. The officer will explain to the driver not to sing the alphabet but to say it slowly.
After the roadside sobriety tests are completed, which more than likely have been videotaped and sound recorded, the driver is arrested and led to the BAT facility or Breath alcohol testing facility. At the BAT facility, the driver is requested to give a sample of their breath, blood or urine. Under the driver’s license obligation, drivers consent to have their breath, blood or urine extracted in only a “few” distinct circumstances. Those circumstances can be when there is an accident causing severe bodily injury, harm or death in an alcohol related crash. In most if DUI’S, drivers have the right to refuse to provide a sample of their breath, blood or urine at the BAT facility. Any sample at the BAT facility that you provide, of your breath or bodily fluids, will be used against you as evidence in your criminal DUI proceeding.
Additionally, at the BAT facility the entire location is video and audio taped. This means that everything the driver does and says will be recorded. The driver may or may not answer the questions at the BAT facility, like what day is it? What time where you stopped by police? Where were you coming from? When was the last time you ate? When was the last time you drank? If so what? How many alcoholic beverages did you consume? How long ago did you consume the alcoholic beverages? And many more questions that will be used against the suspected DUI driver in the criminal dui proceedings. If however, you request a lawyer then all questioning will stop and cannot be used against you in your DUI trial.
If you or a loved one has been arrested for DUI, tell the law enforcement officer your lawyer is Andrew D. Stine. Criminal Attorney Andrew D. Stine has handled over 6,000 criminal files since 2001. West Palm Beach DUI Lawyer, Andrew D Stine, knows the policies and procedures of the dui investigators from Jupiter to Boca Raton. Criminal DUI Lawyer Andrew D. Stine has a proven track record of success at trial in DUI crimes and DUI Homicides. If you are looking for a Florida DUI Lawyer, to fight for you or your loved one, hire Attorney Andrew D. Stine and he will personal handle your DUI file from start to finish. Hire Stine or do the Time.
In conclusion, the Office of State Attorney in and for Palm Beach County, FL is offering first time DUI offenders a downfield Reckless driving plea. The Reckless driving plea, as oppose to a DUI plea, does not provide for loss of driver’s license, does not provide the driver with a criminal record as the driver receives a withhold of adjudication, the driver also has reduced fees, costs and penalties. If you or a loved one are facing a DUI arrest in Palm Beach County, FL and believes you want help in this endeavor, Palm Beach DUI Attorney Andrew D. Stine will meet with you and speak to the Assistant State Attorney to determine if you qualify for this reduced sanction of Reckless driving. Call today for your free immediate consultation with Palm Beach’s DUI Lawyer for your DUI Arrest in West Palm Beach, Wellington, Boca Raton, Lantana, Jupiter, Loxahatchee, Boynton Beach, Palm Beach and throughout the Palm Beaches.