The Florida DUI process can be an intimidating process, and one that can end with you going to jail or facing criminal conviction. It is not a process you want to go through on your own.
If you have been arrested for a DUI, it is very important to contact a Fort Lauderdale DUI attorney as soon as possible in the DUI process. The Ansara Law Firm will help ensure your legal rights are protected during the investigation, arrest and trial and our experienced Boward County DUI attorneys will help you explore options for avoiding conviction and/or minimizing the potential penalties you face.The DUI Process
In the state of Florida, the DUI process involves multiple stages. The steps of the DUI process include:
- Being stopped by law enforcement. You might be stopped for traffic infractions, after an accident or because police suspect you are intoxicated.
- The field sobriety test. You may be asked to perform a variety of field sobriety tests including walking and turning or standing on one leg. You have the right to refuse a field sobriety test.
- The BAC test. The officer may test your blood alcohol content using a portable breath test, a breath test at the police station and/or a blood test. All drivers in Florida are assumed to have given consent to having their blood alcohol content tested by virtue of getting behind the wheel. You may – and often should- request an independent blood test.
- The arrest and booking. If police believe they have probable cause because of your BAC test results and/or because of your actions, you will be arrested and booked into police custody. This means you'll be fingerprinted and have your fingerprints taken and bail will be set.
- The release. Those arrested for a DUI will be held for at least 8 hours unless their BAC returns to .05 or lower and/or they are no longer impaired by alcohol. You may be released on your own recognizance or you may have to pay bail to be released. When you are released, you may also need to go to the impound lot to pick up your car.
- The first appearance If you are not released on bond or on your own recognizance, a hearing will be held at the jail within 24 hours of your arrest. At this hearing, the charges against you will be read and a judge will determine if probable cause exists.
- The DMV hearing. When you are arrested for a DUI or if you fail to submit to a breath test, your license is automatically suspended. You can drive using your DUI citation as your license temporarily but you have only ten days to request a hearing from the DMV to challenge your license suspension, after which you will not be permitted to drive.
- The arraignment. Your DUI citation may list the date of your arraignment or you may be told this date when released on bail or on your first appearance. You will want to have a Fort Lauderdale DUI attorney representing you at this arraignment, if you do not already have a lawyer. The charges against you will be read at the arraignment and you will need to tell the court whether you are pleading guilty, not guilty or no contest (i.e. you aren't admitting guilt but you aren't contesting the charges against you either).
- Pre-trial hearings, motions and evidentiary hearings. Before the official trial starts, there will likely be a number of pre-trial hearings. At this hearings, plea officers may be discussed, discovery issues resolved, and your attorney may request that the judge rule on whether certain evidence against you can be admitted in court.
- The trial. If your case has not been resolved by this point, you will go to court and the prosecutor will have the burden of proving you are guilty of DUI. Your trial may be before a judge (bench trial) or before a jury. At the end of the trial, a determination will be made as to your guilt or innocence.
At every step of the DUI process, there are important legal issues that must be resolved. You should not try to resolve these issues on your own- you need a professional to guide you as to what your best course of action is.
If you have been charged with DUI in South Florida, call The Ansara Law Firm today for your free initial consultation at (954) 761-4011! You can also contact us online. It only takes a minute to call, but it can make all the difference in the world.