FAQ: DUI and defense

DUI and defense

You’ve been arrested for a DUI, now what? You didn’t blow, so how do they know you are impaired? You blew, but it wasn’t that high – what are the options?

Every DUI case is different and there are many different legal issues that have to be examined in every case. Peter M. Dennis Law offers free initial consultations and 24/7 availability.

Should I get a lawyer?

 Hiring a lawyer for your DUI case is not mandatory. However, a local attorney who is familiar with the court system and local laws in your area may be able to get your charges reduced or even have your case dismissed.

Without a knowledgeable representative, your strategy might lack defenses which could help your case. Was the breathalyzer properly calibrated and has it had any maintenance issues in the past? Are there issues regarding suppression of evidence, improper procedure or tainted evidence? All of these issues are easy to spot for an experienced local DUI attorney.

DUI’s are complicated and experience can provide an important extra advantage.

Is hiring a lawyer worth the cost?

Believe it or not, in many cases your attorney’s fees in a DUI case do not make up the majority of the cost. If convicted, you may face years of higher insurance premiums, the need to have alcohol monitoring devices installed and monitored costs for probation and mandatory fines. Therefore spending money on the right attorney up front can be well worth it in the long run.

What is your experience with DUI cases and trials?

With our broad experience with local courts and prosecutors in Southwest Florida, we are ready to navigate you through the process and defend your case. We have negotiated against most of the prosecutors in Southwest Florida many times. We know how they work and how to get the best possible result for you.

How long does the process last and what does it entail?

Basic cases can generally take anywhere from three to six month to resolve.

Whether you want to take the case to a jury trial or resolve with a plea has the most impact on the length of the process. Other factors might include severity of any damage or injuries, and the existence of any video or audio evidence.  Also, any legal motions will slow the process as those motions must be heard on the Judge’s calendar dates, which can be fairly full.

The first step is getting your business purpose only license within the first 10 days after the arrest. You will need to prove to the DMV to that you have signed up for the DUI school, and if this is your first offense, go to a special DMV office and decide if you are willing to waive an administrative formal review. After this, you are, in most cases eligible for a business purpose only license that can be used “for the necessities of life.” If this is not your first DUI, there are a number of other complications that you will want to speak with your attorney about.

The court proceeding begins with an official hearing called the arraignment, where you are charged with DUI. Your presence is not required as we will file all paperwork for you and enter a plea of not guilty.

After a month or so, a docket sounding is held to update the judge on your case. If the negotiations are favorable at this point, we will present you with the prosecutor’s offer. If the offer is accepted, your case is resolved; if not, a trial date may be set. However, negotiations can take some time as well as trial prep, and locally as many as three docket sounding dates are fairly common.

Before the jury trial, we will prepare jury instructions, conduct preliminary hearings on evidence to be excluded, and discuss whether or not you want to testify. After this, the jury trial will be held.

Will I have to go to court?

You will ultimately have to go to court once a final resolution has been reached or if the case goes to a jury trial. There are ways to settle the case without going to court if you don’t reside in the area, but there are specific requirements for this. However, if you were on vacation or visiting family in the area at the time of the incident, your case may be resolved through a Plea in Absentia in which case you do not have to appear in court.