Strategic DUI Defense in Clermont, Inverness and Tavares
Former public defenders challenge procedures and evidence
Largey Law is committed to protect your Constitutional rights. As former public defenders, we understand the elements that are necessary for conviction. We develop defenses that attack the flaws in the prosecution’s case and emphasize those facts that support an outcome favorable to you. In DUI cases, forensic evidence can be difficult to overcome. But we aggressively explore all grounds to have that evidence excluded or cast doubt upon its validity. Our aggressive approach has led to dismissals and reductions of charges. While no attorney can guarantee results, we can promise our determined efforts on your behalf.
Challenging a traffic stop on Constitutional grounds
A DUI invariably begins with a traffic stop, which at some critical point escalates to an arrest. That presents two critical questions we must ask:
- Did an officer have reasonable suspicion for a traffic stop?
- Did an officer have probable cause to make an arrest?
Reasonable suspicion and probable cause are different legal standards. To make a DUI traffic stop, an officer only has to suspect that something might be wrong. If the driver violates a traffic law, such as running a stop sign or turning without signaling, the officer is completely justified in making the stop, because an actual violation goes beyond raising suspicion. Or, the officer might observe a car weaving through traffic or drifting from one lane to another. These maneuvers may not be technically illegal, but if they appear suspicious, the officer is justified in making a stop. However, if a cop is acting without suspicion, or pulls a driver over for an illegal reason such as racial profiling, a court could decide that the stop violated the driver’s Constitutional rights. The court may exclude any evidence the cop got from that traffic stop.
Assuming an officer has made a legal stop, there must be probable cause to make an arrest. This higher standard means that a reasonable person would be somewhat certain that a crime has been committed. Your behavior during the stop is the most critical factor in whether an officer can find probable cause. The officer must observe you as you speak, perform various exercises in the Standard Field Sobriety Test (SFST) and may request that you take a Breathalyzer test. However, many factors besides alcohol or drugs can affect a driver’s performance of these tasks:
- Physical impairments can hamper performance on SFST
- Nervousness can negatively affect performance on SFST
- Allergies, lack of sleep or contact lenses can cause irritated, red eyes
Many police forces record traffic stops with dashboard cameras, so there may be a record that your attorney can examine to raise questions about the professionalism of the officer and whether there was probable cause for an arrest. Witnesses at the scene, including passengers in your car, may offer helpful testimony as well.
Casting the shadow of doubt on forensic evidence
Authorities cannot use results of a roadside breath test as evidence in court. They must collect forensic evidence (breath, blood or urine) at the station, process the sample and preserve it with a record of the chain of custody. This allows us to raise questions about the validity of this test:
- Was the machine properly calibrated?
- Had the machine been maintained as scheduled?
- Would any food or medication you had consumed influence the results?
- Was the operator properly certified?
- Does the chain of custody have any gaps in it?
Launch a strategic DUI defense in Tavares, Inverness and Clermont, FL
Largey Law challenges police procedures and forensic evidence to raise reasonable doubt about your DUI arrest. To schedule your free consultation in Tavares, Inverness or Clermont, call us at 352.508.1485 or contact the firm online. Because a DUI arrest can occur at any time, we offer weekend and evening appointments and can even visit you in jail. Se habla español.