As an experienced Florida DUI lawyer, clients often ask me why they should even bother to fight their DUI case. When a client comes in for a free consultation, we obtain the facts and circumstances regarding their arrest, the basis of the traffic stop, and the results of any field sobriety exercises or testing, if the client performed these voluntary exercises along with and any chemical tests they submitted to. Typically if a client has submitted to the voluntary field sobriety test and has provided a blood or breath sample they ask, “Why should I fight this?” Our first response is always that more people are wrongly arrested for DUI than any other crime. The State of Florida does not have pre-arrest breath testing so you are to rely on the impartiality and fairness of the officer at the scene. With institutions such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) handing out awards for the most DUI arrests, it has become commonplace for officers to make bad arrests, just to pad their stats.
Let’s look at some of the many reasons that you should have an experienced and trial tested DUI lawyer on your side.
First things first, if you plead guilty to drunk driving, you will be convicted of drunk driving (a/k/a DUI). In Florida DUI is a serious charge and can have lasting affects on your ability to drive a car, work and your finances due to increased insurance premiums. In addition, it typically results in a permanent criminal conviction that stays on your arrest and driving records for the rest of your life and is bared from expungment or sealing of your criminal record. But, if you plead Not Guilty, you are cloaked with the presumption of innocence and you are also entitled to a jury trial if you so choose.
What is a jury trial like for for a misdemeanor case? Six (6) jurors will be chosen from a panel of 23 potential juror and all six (6) must be convinced beyond all reasonable doubt of your guilt in order to convict you of the alleged charge of DUI. What are the possible results of a jury trial? There are three (3) real likely possibilities: Guilty, Not Guilty and Hung Jury. For a Guilty verdict, all six (6) jurors must agree that the defendant is guilt has been proved beyond all reasonable doubt. A Not Guilty verdict (our favorite) requires allows for either six (6) jurors agreeing that the defendant is innocent, or, some jurors can vote guilty and some can vote not guilty. In the third scenario, you have what is called a “hung jury”. This is when the jurors cannot decide a verdict based upon all the evidence submitted and typically this results in a dismissal of your case. That means you will walk away acquitted of the charges against you.
If your DUI attorney can convince only one (1) of the six (6) jurors to vote not guilty, you may win the case. That certainly seems a lot better than relying on the mercy of the court and the State Attorney to treat you fairly. At Daniels & Hannan, we fight DUI cases for our clients and use all of our skills and trial tested techniques to defend our client, protect their innocence and vindicate their names.
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