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Motion Practice in Florida Felony DUI Cases

Any DUI conviction includes different penalties under Florida law, but the offense rises to the level of a felony under certain circumstances, including:

  • A third DUI within ten years;
  • A fourth DUI overall;
  • A DUI accident that caused another person bodily harm; and,
  • A DUI accident that caused death.

When any of these situations raises your DUI offense from a misdemeanor to a felony, you need a strong defense and strategies to help ensure the best possible outcome in your case. One tactic that is highly effective in defending your interests is the use of pre-trial motions. You should consult with a Florida felony DUI lawyer to address the specifics of your case, but here is some general information to help you understand pre-trial motions.

How Pre-Trial Motions Can Support Your Case: The proceedings that lead up to your felony DUI trial are important because they can make or break the case against you. With a strong strategy for pre-trial motions, you have the best chances of gaining leverage for a better deal from the prosecutors. Motions are intended to set the stage for your felony DUI trial and sort through the evidence that will be allowed, as opposed to other facts that cannot be introduced against you for legal reasons.

Types of Pre-Trial Motions: There are four common motions used during pre-trial proceedings when defending a felony DUI case.

  1. Motion to Suppress: Where there are allegations that a police officer obtained certain information illegally, you may use a motion to suppress to have the evidence thrown out of court. This type of motion is most commonly employed when there are civil rights violations, such as an improper search and seizure or issues with self-incrimination. If the motion is granted, that evidence cannot be used at a felony DUI trial and may lead to dismissal.
  2. Motion to Dismiss: The approach with a motion to dismiss is to argue to the court that, even if all the facts are true, they aren’t enough to charge you with a felony DUI. Here, you would ask the judge to throw out the case entirely because the prosecutors have not established that you committed a crime. If the motion is granted, the case is dismissed and all charges are dropped.
  3. Motion in Limine: Prosecutors will always want to present witnesses to testify on facts to help them win at trial, but not all of this testimony is allowable in a felony DUI case. For instance, if you have prior arrests, these have no bearing on whether or not you were driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A motion in limine prevents witnesses from mentioning these facts.
  4. Motion to Compel: While some motions seek to prevent certain information from being admitted at trial, there are times when you want to obtain evidence. When the prosecution refuses to it give to you, a motion to compel may be necessary. With this proceeding, you are requested that the court issue an order directing the information to be provided.

Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in Fort Lauderdale

If you or a loved one has been arrested for felony DUI, an experienced defense attorney like Kevin J. Kulik can advocate on your behalf and guide you through the criminal justice system. Contact Kevin J. Kulik today for a free and confidential consultation in the Fort Lauderdale area.

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