Three Key Pieces of Evidence in a Florida DUI Case
You may have been charged with drunk driving, but your arrest is only the beginning of a Florida DUI case. A conviction is very different from an arrest, which only requires the law enforcement officer to have probable cause. A prosecutor needs a higher level of solid, credible evidence to prove that you are guilty of drunk driving. There are various sets of facts and documents that a prosecuting attorney may present in court in an effort to convict you. A Florida criminal defense lawyer will develop an appropriate strategy based upon your situation, but you should understand how three key pieces of evidence may be involved in your case.
- Field Sobriety Tests: Before you are under arrest, police may request that you take one or more field sobriety tests to assess your level of impairment. Even though these are often recorded on video by a dash cam, there are ways to challenge the officer’s evaluation of your performance. If you have any medical condition that affects your physical capabilities, you may have grounds to contest the test results. Field sobriety tests administered under less-than-ideal conditions are also problematic. Uneven pavement, weather, poor lighting, and related factors can have a major impact on your ability to do the one-legged stand or walk-and-turn tests.
Plus, any interference with the video’s audio or visual quality could mean it has limited value in court. The footage may even act in your favor if it contradicts the officer’s account of your performance on the tests.
Chemical Tests: Though they may seem the most solid piece of evidence in a Florida DUI case, the results of a chemical test are also subject to legal challenge. Breathalyzer exams, which are the most common means of assessing your blood alcohol concentration (BAC), can be unreliable for multiple reasons. Inaccuracies can be caused by improper maintenance or calibration. You may also contest the results if the operator does not have proper credentials, was not trained, has an expired license. You can even dispute the results of a breathalyzer if you burped, as the gas escaping your body can lead to false positive readings.
Police Report: The arresting officer is required to submit documentation regarding his or her account of circumstances leading up to your arrest for drunk driving. This police report is nothing more than a subjective narrative, where the officer recounts your performance on field sobriety tests, your demeanor, the reasons for pulling you over in the first place, and other details. It is an opinion that may contain bias, motivated by the officer’s desire to get a conviction for every arrest. The police report should be reviewed in the context of objective evidence, such as the video recording.
Discuss DUI Defense Strategies with a Florida Criminal Attorney
If you have questions about Florida DUI cases and ways to fight drunk driving charges, please contact attorney Kevin J. Kulik. We can tell you more about potential defense strategies after reviewing the circumstances of your case.