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Charged with a DUI While Vacationing in Florida? Here’s What You Need to Know

Charged with a DUI While Vacationing in Florida? Here’s What You Need to Know

When you’re on vacation, it’s only natural to want to kick back and have a few drinks to relax. Unfortunately, even on vacation, you might find yourself facing DUI charges. Nothing ruins a great vacation like an arrest, especially for a DUI. This can become an even more complicated process if you’re visiting from out of state. You may need to appear in court or serve a sentence locally if convicted, creating an even more frustrating scenario for you and your family.

In this brief article, our best DUI attorney in Clearwater with Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan shares a few things you might need to know if you are charged with a DUI while visiting Clearwater, Florida on vacation.

During and Right After the Arrest

Just as you would have to handle the arrest if you were in your hometown, you may be asked to submit to a breathalyzer test. Additionally, your car will likely be impounded and you’ll more than likely need to contact someone who can come with bail money to help you get out.

It is an even stickier situation if you are on your trip alone or with only your children. In either event, your best choice is to contact DUI lawyers in Clearwater with Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan. Your attorney will help you understand your choices to be released.

Can You Go Home to Another State After an Arrest?

The big question after you’ve been arrested while vacationing in another state is whether you can go home, and what comes next. While you may be permitted to travel back to your home state, you may not be able to travel internationally. This poses an obvious issue to international travelers in particular, or those who travel internationally for business.

Once you go home, the DUI charge will follow you and if your license was revoked or temporarily suspended, the suspension stands in your home state as well. In fact, other states will treat the arrest as though it happened there for all penalties.

You may be required to return to the state for a trial depending on your plea, however when you hire Clearwater DUI lawyers you may not have to appear for other hearings. This will depend on what your attorney can have approved by the judge and if they are approved to appear alone on your behalf.

If convicted in Clearwater, you may be required to return to serve your sentence or the judge may approve you to serve your sentence locally to your home. This will vary depending on the judge, the blood alcohol level when arrested, if this is your first conviction, and a number of other factors.

The best course of action after any arrest when you are on vacation is to attempt to handle as much as you can while you are still in town. You may have a limited amount of time to handle your case, which is why it is so important to contact the best DUI attorney in Clearwater. To find out what you should do when you’ve been arrested for any reason during a vacation, contacting Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan can help.

For a free consultation with the best DUI attorney in Clearwater, please contact Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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3 Ways a Clearwater DWI Attorney Can Help Your Case

3 Ways a Clearwater DWI Attorney Can Help Your Case

The impacts of DUI and DWI cases appear to be falling. In fact, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), there were 746 fatalities from crashes involving alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both in Florida in 2020, which constitutes a decrease of more than 33% from 2019. However, the number of DUI cases appears to be on the rise, with the most recent data showing that over 43,000 DUI cases are filed annually.

If you’re part of the vast majority of DUI cases that do not involve a fatality, you may be tempted to represent yourself in court. Unfortunately, handling a DWI/DUI case is not the same as handling a simple traffic ticket. Although a DWI involves a vehicle, it will be handled in criminal court and requires knowledge of the criminal justice system.

In this brief article, a team member of our Clearwater DWI defense law firm, Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan, shares a few of the key reasons you should hire an attorney for your DUI arrest.

1. Attorneys Can Review Field Sobriety Tests for Issues

If your field sobriety test was flawed or administered incorrectly, you may have grounds to reduce your charge to reckless driving. The key is to hire an attorney who is as trained as the police when it comes to administering these sobriety tests. Attorneys Frank Russo and Marc Pelletier can review the video of your field sobriety tests to see if they were properly administered and interpreted fairly.

2. Your Attorney Will Review All of Your Options With You

Whether you have decided to plead guilty or want to fight your charges in court, an experienced attorney will be able to share all of your options. For example, if you want to take your case to trial, your attorney will discuss the best defense strategy for your unique case. If you want to reduce your charge, your attorney will help you review DUI diversion programs such as the D.R.O.P. program in Pinellas County, which can help reduce your charge to reckless driving.

3. Your Attorney Will Ensure You Meet All Deadlines

When dealing with any legal case, there are specific deadlines you must meet in a timely manner or you’ll risk a negative impact to your case. Your attorney will help make sure that you meet all necessary deadlines, including entering your plea and completing necessary program requirements (should you opt for a diversion program).

A Clearwater DWI attorney will help you understand the best course of action for your specific case and will guide you through the legal process. In addition to the points above, they will help you understand the avenues you can take to get your license back if it has been revoked and will represent your best interests.

For a free consultation with a DWI attorney in Clearwater, please contact Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation

 

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Can You Get a DUI if Taking Legally Prescribed Medications?

Can You Get a DUI if Taking Legally Prescribed Medications?

When most people think of a DWI or DUI, they think of someone who has been drinking large amounts of alcohol. They wouldn’t suspect that someone taking the proper dose of legally prescribed medications could also be pulled over or even charged with a DUI, but in Florida that is not necessarily the case.

In this brief article, a DWI attorney in Clearwater with our team at Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan shares what you need to know about being charged with a DWI after taking legally prescribed medications.


Can I Be Convicted of Drugged Driving?


Florida law provides that a person can be arrested and charged with a DUI if he or she is under the influence of a prescription drug or an illegal drug. The key is that you had to be impaired at the time of driving. The drug must have impacted your abilities to see, hear, walk, talk, make decisions, judge distances, or otherwise operate the vehicle safely.

A DUI does not require evidence of the use of heavy drugs like cocaine or heroin, it can include medications you’ve been prescribed by your physician like Ambien, oxycodone, and even anti-anxiety medications that impair your ability to make decisions. That means that even if you are taking the prescribed, legal dose of a medication, if it has impacted your ability to drive, you can be arrested.

Of note, unlike alcohol where the legal limit is .08%, there is no legal limit for driving under the influence of drugs. This means that anyone can be at risk of getting a DUI, even if they are under the influence of a prescribed controlled substance.


Penalties for Drugged Driving


Like drunk driving, drugged driving has serious consequences. You may face anywhere from days to years in jail or prison, and will face steep fines ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. You may also have to complete community service and lengthy probation periods, in addition to losing your driver’s license. On top of this, you will have a permanent criminal record. You can read more about the mandatory sentencing requirements here.


Defenses for Driving Drugged


If you’ve been charged with driving under the influence of any substance, be it alcohol, drugs or a legally prescribed medication, you will need a strong defense. A Clearwater DWI defense law firm like Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan may be able to help you get your charges dismissed or reduced to reckless driving. Our team will also discuss your options for DUI and drug diversion programs that may be available to lessen your charges and sentence.

 

For a free consultation with a DWI attorney in Clearwater, please contact Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation

 

Call our office for a free consultation at (727) 578-0303

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Long-Term Impacts of a DUI Conviction

Long-Term Impacts of a DUI Conviction

If you’re facing a DUI, chances are that you are already experiencing some of the psychological and social challenges before you have even been convicted. The stigma of a DUI can stick with you for a long time, but there are other long-term impacts of a DUI conviction that will likely make you reconsider whether you should represent yourself in court or hire an attorney.

In this brief article, our best DUI attorney in Clearwater with Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan shares a few of the long-term impacts you may experience if you are convicted of a DUI.


Financial Impacts


Perhaps the most obvious, but the most long-term effect of a DUI conviction comes in the form of your finances. You may be facing steep fines, possibly thousands of dollars, costs of educational courses, counseling and not to mention the costs to recover your vehicle from being impounded.

Additionally, you may find that after a DUI conviction you can experience:

  • Insurance rate increases. These may extend for several years after the conviction, even if you are a first-time offender.
  • Loss of work due to prison time or criminal record. Your job prospects may become much slimmer, especially if you have a job that requires travel or a driver’s license. You may also find it harder to pass a background check for a new job as a DUI is a criminal offense, not a traffic offense.
  • Loss of scholarship opportunities. If you’re in college or hoping to go back to school, many scholarships and grants require no prior criminal history. If you are a current scholarship recipient, a DUI conviction can also cause you to lose your current scholarships.


Social Impacts


In addition to the financial challenges presented by a DUI conviction, you may also experience social isolation. If your driver’s license is revoked, you may have a harder time attending social gatherings and might find that public transit is simply not reliable, when you want (or need) to get somewhere. You can end up losing hours in a day due to public transportation issues, on top of the social challenges that come from a criminal conviction of any kind.


What to Do if You’ve Been Charged with a DUI/DWI


A DUI isn’t the same thing as being charged with a simple traffic offense. Although you might be able to successfully represent yourself in traffic court, you shouldn’t represent yourself with the criminal charge of a DUI. Clearwater DUI lawyers with Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan are available to talk about your options and help you understand your best defense. You may be able to attend a DUI diversion program or have your charges reduced, or even dismissed with the help of an attorney.

For a free consultation with the best DUI attorneys in Clearwater, please contact Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation

 

Call our office for a free consultation at (727) 578-0303

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What is a DUI Diversion Program?

What is a DUI Diversion Program?

If you have been arrested for a DUI, chances are you have heard about programs that make it possible to attend classes or drug and alcohol rehabilitation to avoid jail time. These are called DUI diversion programs. In other states, this is a popular option, but what about when you have a DUI arrest in Florida? In this brief article, Clearwater DUI lawyers with Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan share what you need to know about DUI diversion programs, and whether it is an option for you in Florida.

What is a DUI Diversion Program?

A DUI diversion program allows you to complete specific steps, such as attending a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program, in place of other DUI penalties. This can be a preferable resolution to a DUI, which can often carry steep fines, jail time, and loss of license.

A typical Diversion Program allows you to leave the criminal justice system in order to complete certain conditions, like drug rehab or other therapies. If you do all that is asked of you, then the State will dismiss your charge. This option is increasingly popular in other states because instead of punishment, the person is given the opportunity to address their possible addiction and dangerous behaviors in order to prevent them in the future.

Is DUI Diversion Available in All Florida Counties?

DUI diversion is available in some Florida counties in one form or another. However, it is important to note this may not be an option in all counties. For example, in June of 2021, the State Attorney’s Office introduced a program called DUI Rehabilitation of Offenders Program (DROP). This program ultimately helps first-time offenders avoid jail time and the psychosocial penalties of being charged with a DUI.

Can Charges be Reduced with DUI Diversion?

The DROP program previously mentioned is available in Pinellas County. Successful participation in this program will result in a reduction in the charge from DUI to reckless driving.

The benefit of reducing your charges is that you can avoid a steep increase in insurance costs, keep your driver’s license, and reduce the risk of negative impacts to your job or other work prospects. The stigma of a DUI can also be socially taxing, which leads to even more hardship. By reducing to a charge like reckless driving with the completion of DROP, you can avoid these penalties — not to mention reduction of sentence like jail time and fines.

Not every DUI arrestee will qualify for the DROP program. During your initial consultation with our highly experienced Clearwater DUI Defense Team, we will evaluate your eligibility for the program and develop a strategy designed to give you the best chances of successfully completing the program.

For a free consultation with the best DUI attorneys in Clearwater, please contact Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Call our office for a free consultation at (727) 578-0303

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How Hiring an Experienced DUI Attorney Can Help Ensure a Favorable Outcome

How Hiring an Experienced DUI Attorney Can Help Ensure a Favorable Outcome

One of the questions that our experienced Clearwater DUI defense team is frequently asked is “do I really need a lawyer? Can I simply plead my case to the judge and hope for leniency?” An individual charged with a DUI is not required to have an attorney represent them in court. However, having an experienced DUI defense advocate can aid in securing the most lenient resolution in your case.

In this brief article, a Clearwater DUI lawyer with Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan shares a few ways that hiring an experienced attorney can help you cut through the red tape and secure the most favorable outcome in your DUI case.

Charge Reduction

 Our office may be able to negotiate with the State Attorney to secure an amendment in the charge from DUI to reckless driving. It’s important to remember that neither the judge nor the arresting officer have the authority to reduce a DUI to the lesser charge of reckless driving. It’s your defense attorney’s job to achieve the best possible outcome including persuading the prosecutor to reduce the charge from a DUI to reckless driving.

If you’re looking to have your DUI charge reduced to reckless driving, it’s absolutely critical to partner with an attorney who is highly-experienced in DUI defense in Clearwater. At a free consultation with an attorney from The Law Offices at Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan, we’ll examine various aspects of your case, such as lawfulness of the traffic stop, whether injury is involved, and the legality of the request for a breath test, prior to outlining a plan of action that is designed to thoroughly investigate your case and uncover evidence that may prove beneficial to your defense.

DUI Diversion Program

In Florida, you have the option of doing a DUI diversion program in place of other DUI penalties. This can be a preferable resolution to a DUI, which can often carry steep fines, jail time, and loss of license.

In Pinellas County, the State Attorney’s Office introduced the DUI Rehabilitation of Offenders Program (DROP) in June of 2021. During your initial consultation with one of our highly experienced Clearwater DUI lawyers, we will:

  • Discuss your eligibility for participation in the DROP Program;
  • Explain the benefits of participation in the program; and
  • Discuss what steps that you may take to improve your chances of being accepted into the program.

To create the best defense for your case, the top DUI lawyers in Clearwater with Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan can help. You may be able to avoid jail time and find a resolution.

For a free consultation with the top DUI lawyers in Clearwater, please contact Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Call our office for a free consultation at (727) 578-0303

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What You Should Know About Field Sobriety Tests

What You Should Know About Field Sobriety Tests

When you have been arrested for driving under the influence, DUI, you might be wondering what you should know about the dreaded field sobriety test (FST). For example, will you have to recite the alphabet backward (a feat many of us cannot do sober, let alone during a stressful interaction with a police officer)? What are your rights?

In this brief article, a top DWI attorney in Clearwater with Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan shares what you need to know about field sobriety tests, and how to best defend yourself against charges of DUI or DWI in Florida.

What is a Field Sobriety Test?

When you are pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated, you may be asked to take a breathalyzer test, complete a field sobriety test, or both. It is important to note: a field sobriety test is not the same thing as being asked to breathe into a breathalyzer.

A field sobriety test might consist of three methods:

  • The “Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus” test (which notably produces incorrect results 23% of the time according to The Southern California Research Institute, sponsored by NHTSA.)
  • The “Walk & Turn” test (in which results will be wrong 32% of the time.)
  • The “One Leg Stand” test (which yields incorrect results 35% of the time.)

Any other tests, including the infamous “alphabet” test and the finger to nose test, have been proven to lack scientific evidence as to their usefulness in proving a DUI and are not endorsed by the federal government or any law enforcement agencies.

Should You Take a Field Sobriety Test, or Refuse?

You may be wondering if a field sobriety test is mandatory. In Florida, the FST is not mandatory, but if you refuse you risk the officer making a decision to arrest and charge you with a DUI based on other factors.

For example, if you exhibit signs of impairment or smell of alcohol, you run the very high risk of arrest if you decide to challenge or refuse the FST. But, it should be noted that if the officer is asking that you perform FST’s, it is likely that he has already made up his mind that he is going to charge you with a DUI offense in our experience.

If you do decide to comply, the arrest might be avoided if you pass the test. If you decide to take the test, you should promptly tell the officer about any physical or mental problems that might have an impact on your ability to perform the tests.

Contact The Top DWI Attorney in Clearwater to Review Your FST

Most FSTs are recorded by the officer on video. This is made possible in part by body cams and dash cams. It is important to prove that the FST was administered properly in order to be admissible. Having a lawyer in our office review your field sobriety test results could be imperative in uncovering defenses in your case. A flawed FST might result in your charges being lowered to reckless driving or dismissed altogether.

If you have been arrested and charged with a DUI or DWI, contact the best DWI lawyers in Clearwater, Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan. Your attorney will discuss the best strategy to approach your case and will provide you with clear guidance on the best defense available.

For a free consultation with DWI lawyers in Clearwater, please contact Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Call our office for a free consultation at (727) 578-0303

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5 Ways a DUI Charge Can Affect Your Life

5 Ways a DUI Charge Can Affect Your Life

When you have been arrested and charged with a DUI, you might be wondering why you should bother defending yourself. The effects of a DUI charge and conviction can follow you for years to come, and may impact areas of your life which you might not have considered. In this brief article, a DWI defense attorney in Clearwater with Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan shares 5 ways a DUI or DWI charge can impact your life and what to do if you have been arrested for a DUI.

1. You Can Lose Your Driving Privileges

This is possibly the most commonly known impact that being convicted of a DUI can carry: the loss or suspension of your driver’s licence. This might not happen right away, but it can cause major problems. You will no longer have a means to drive to work, pick up your children or take them to appointments, go to classes, or simply run errands on your own.

2. You May Face Increased Insurance Rates

If you are allowed to keep your driver’s license you may face major increases on your insurance rates. You might also be dropped from your car insurance carrier altogether depending on how many times you have faced DUI charges. This increase is no chump change. In fact, you might see your rates increase by as much as 80%.

3. A DUI May Impact Your Employment

We mentioned before how losing your license can create an issue getting to work, which is one impact on employment, but it goes beyond that. Your employment prospects may become limited as you might not pass a background check (depending on whether it was a misdemeanor or felony). If you already have a job, you will need extra time off to attend court hearings and trial dates, and can face a slew of scheduling issues.

4. You May Face a Loss of Scholarship or Tuition Assistance

If you’re currently in school or hoping to go back, many scholarships and tuition assistance programs refuse help to anyone who has a criminal charge, including a DUI. You will also miss out on tax credits like the American Opportunity Credit, which takes into account if you have been charged with any crimes before refunding a portion of the tuition and associated fees you pay out of pocket.

5. Your Reputation Will Be Damaged

There is no way to repair a tarnished reputation after you have been charged and convicted with a DUI. This can impact your personal and professional reputations, creating problems with family, friends, and coworkers over time.

Contact a DWI Attorney in Clearwater to Help

Being arrested and charged with a DUI or DWI does not have to mean an automatic conviction. Contact a DWI defense attorney in Clearwater with Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan to help you find the best defense for your case. Your attorney will discuss the best strategy to approach your case and will provide you with clear guidance on the best defense available.

For a free consultation with DWI lawyers in Clearwater, please contact Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Call our office for a free consultation at (727) 578-0303

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How Does a Florida Hardship License Work?

How Does a Florida Hardship License Work?

Commuting is a large part of most people’s daily routine, as they need to use their vehicle in order to get to and from work, school, and other necessary tasks. The inability to drive due to the loss of a driver’s license can thus be severely damaging to one’s livelihood, particularly if you don’t have a spouse or family member who can take your kids to school or give you a ride to work. Fortunately, Florida Law enables you to secure a hardship license so that you suffer little to no interruption in your ability to lawfully drive.

In this brief article, we’ll be exploring how to obtain a hardship license in Florida with the help of the best DUI lawyers in Clearwater, how a hardship license works, and what to do if you have been charged with violation of driver’s license restriction. For more information, please get in touch with a member of our team at Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan.

Getting Your Florida Hardship License

The process for obtaining a Florida hardship license differs depending on whether this is your first, second, third, or fourth DUI. For example, if you are a first-time DUI offender, Florida Statute sections 322.2615(1)(b)3 and 322.271(7) allow for you to immediately apply to obtain a hardship driving privilege. On the other hand, Florida law mandates that an individual with a second-time DUI conviction must wait one year from the date that the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) revoked their license before applying for a hardship license. Similarly, a person who has been convicted of a third DUI must wait a period of two years from the date of the ten-year revocation before applying for a hardship license.

In order to be eligible for a hardship license in Florida after a DUI arrest, you must do the following:

  • Enroll in DUI school
  • Wait the required period to fill out an application
  • Bring proof of your enrollment in DUI school to the DHSMV Administrative Review Office
  • Fill out the application and pay the filing fee

Afterward, a hearing will occur in which the court will decide whether a full license suspension would place undue harm on you and your family. They will also examine your criminal history in order to determine whether offering the hardship license will benefit the safety of the public.

Understanding the Restrictions of a Florida Hardship License

Unfortunately, while a Florida hardship license will grant you limited driving privileges, it also comes with restrictions. Given the somewhat vague nature of the statute governing permissible use, this means that we see a wide variety of interpretations by law enforcement when it comes to the lawful use of a hardship license. Even driver’s license office personnel will often have conflicting opinions as to the extent of the permitted use of the license.

To better under these restrictions, it helps to know what kind of hardship license you have. A “C” restriction license typically secured by first-time offenders authorizes driving for “business purposes only,” while a “D” restriction license typically granted to multiple offenders limits driving to “employment purposes only.” Employment purposes is defined as driving to and from work and any necessary on the job driving, while business purposes is much broader — including any driving necessary to maintain livelihood.

What If I Get Charged with Violation of Driver’s License Restriction?

If you are subject to a traffic stop while driving on a hardship license, the individual facts and circumstances associated with your operation of the motor vehicle will be closely scrutinized by the police. For example, a police officer may be inclined to disbelieve your account that you are headed to work at an office building when you are dressed in a tank top and shorts. As always, the best way to avoid being arrested for violating a hardship license restriction is to avoid being stopped in your motor vehicle. Driving a car with an expired tag or driving recklessly is an open invitation to trouble.

However, in the event that you are charged with violation of driver’s license restriction, the top DUI lawyers in Clearwater are here to help. We may be able to prove that your driving was within the permitted use of your restriction or secure a withholding of adjudication that saves your hardship license from being revoked for improper use. Just give us a call or fill out our contact form today for a free consultation.

For a free consultation with one of the best DUI attorneys in Clearwater, please contact Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Call our office for a free consultation at (727) 578-0303

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I Failed the Breathalyzer — Now What?

I Failed the Breathalyzer — Now What?

Picture this — you’re driving home after spending an evening with a couple of close friends over a few laughs, good food, and maybe even a glass of beer or two. While you’re still on your way, you get stopped by a police officer, things take a wrong turn, and you end up being arrested for DUI. You know that you weren’t driving recklessly or otherwise showing signs of impairment, but you still blow a 0.08 or above on the breath test. Now, you fear the police may have definitive proof that you were driving while intoxicated.

However, it’s important to remember that a failed breath test is not an automatic conviction for DUI. A breathalyzer test is just one piece of evidence against you, and it is entirely possible to raise an effective defense against criminal charges with the help of a top DWI attorney in Clearwater. Below, we’ll go over several reasons why breath tests may fail to give accurate results and how we can keep your breath test results out of court.

Related: What Are Your Rights During a DUI Stop?

Reasons Why Breath Tests May Fail to Provide Accurate Results

It may come as a surprise to many people, but the breathalyzer test you submit to does not always provide the most reliable results. Why? The breathalyzer machine actually has quite a few flaws on its own. As a result, it’s entirely possible for the breathalyzer to provide a false reading, wrongfully convicting you of a DUI if you do not have an attorney in place to fight the charges. Below, we go over several frequent cases of false readings:

  • Body still in absorption phase: It can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours for your body to absorb alcohol after it has been consumed. Thus, you could have been under the limit while driving but over the limit when you were tested at the police station.
  • Mouth alcohol: When you burp or belch, the gas from your stomach, including any alcohol, will remain in your mouth until it is dissipated. This can dramatically throw off the results of the breath test.
  • Mouth contaminants: Other mouth contaminants, such as mouthwash, dentures, breath sprays, and gum disease, can all significantly skew the results of the breath test.
  • Calibration error: Most handheld breathalyzers will require proper software calibration to accurately detect an individual’s blood-alcohol level. If these devices are not calibrated, the accuracy of the sensors will degrade over time.

How We Can Keep Your Breath Test Results Out of Court

The top DUI attorneys in Clearwater with Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan are very familiar with the various nuances in the law associated with breath testing and are in a unique position to critically analyze the effectiveness of the breath testing machine. We will determine whether the machine used in your case was properly registered and approved for use by FDLE, calibrated, and tested for accuracy. If any kind of calibration or maintenance problem is discovered in your case, we can point to this failure on the part of law enforcement to comply with the administrative rules and prevent the prosecution from introducing your breath results in court.

Other defenses to potentially exclude breath test readings include whether the office had a right to originally stop your vehicle, if your breath test sample was secured via unlawful coercion, and if you were observed for a 20 minute period in order to ensure you did not regurgitate or place something in your mouth. Our team of highly-experienced attorneys is at an advantage when it comes to employing these types of defenses because we have been trained in the proper administration of breath tests. We will examine your case from all possible angles and identify any legal issues that could lead to the exclusion of your breath test results.

For a free consultation with one of the best DUI attorneys in Clearwater, please contact Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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