Charged with a DUI? Protect Yourself With a Dade County Criminal Attorney

Many people have friends who like to have fun while drinking alcoholic beverages. While this is not illegal, driving after such excursions is. There are many ways to discourage such people from taking risks with both their lives and the lives of others. Here is a list of methods from a Miami DUI attorney that have varying degrees of success.

How to Avoid DUI Penalties in Miami

>When going to a party, make sure to always have a designated driver who agrees to stay sober and take friends home later.

>Always have the number of a reliable taxi company to use as a back-up plan in case there isn’t a designated driver. This is more expensive, but safer.

>Make sure all of your friends know the consequences of drunk driving and stress to them the importance of never doing so.

>If possible, offer yourself as someone to call if they are ever in need of a safe driver.

>The best method of stopping friends from driving drunk is prevention. Urge friends to try not to overindulge. If this is not something they want to do, encourage them to drink at their destination for the night so that no driving is required after.

>As a more extreme measure, have friends get a ride to a party so that they do not have a vehicle available to think about driving when they leave.

>If a friend is already drunk and still determined to drive home, it may be necessary to resort to more extreme measures to ensure their safety. In this case, the best prevention for the friend would be to take their keys. This would stop them from becoming a danger to themselves and others.

>If a friend has a known drinking problem, it may be necessary to have a breathalyzer installed in their car. These are usually required by law for anyone previously convicted of driving under the influence. These can also be obtained through online vendors for a small fee. By using these devices, the vehicle becomes incapable of being started without the driver first taking a breathalyzer test. This is an extreme method, but will ensure the safety of the person at all times.

>As a last resort for friends who make bad decisions, it may be necessary to get them to join the local alcoholic’s anonymous group. These are free and can help to stop the urge to drink to excess as well as show the dangers of driving under the influence.

>There have been some studies that suggest using hypnosis to deter anyone from driving while drunk. After the subject is initially hypnotized, they will have the instructions subconsciously implanted to never drive after drinking a certain amount. This is a method that is currently being tested, but is not proven.

>As an extra incentive to encourage friends to not drive drunk, you might give them rewards for making the right decision. For instance, if a friend is drunk, they can call you for a ride home and you can reward them for making the right decision by taking them out to eat. Using this method is probably less effective overall than the others, but it is a great way to keep your friends from feeling that you are taking too much control over their lives. Each of these methods is a good way to help keep your friends and others safe from the dangers of drinking and driving. However, you should keep in mind that the best prevention is to keep them from overindulging to begin with.

Miami DUI Implied Consent Law

In the state of Florida you may not refuse a breath test when you are suspected of drinking and driving by a police officer who request that you submit to one. By possessing and maintaining a current Florida drivers license you have already given your consent to such tests as they may be requested by Florida Law enforcement. This is because of a law known as “Implied Consent.”

DUI Testing

Investigating officers are also required by Florida law to notify citizens of this law and of its consequences when requesting that a motorist submit to the test. Legally, motorists must be aware that they will lose their license if they refuse the test. For Miami-Dade, this is the way it must be stated: “You are under arrest for operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcoholic beverages or chemical or controlled substance. I am now requesting that you submit to a lawful test of your breath for the purpose of determining its alcohol content. Will you submit to a breath test? If you fail to submit to the test I have requested of you, your privilege to operate a motor vehicle will be suspended for a period of one year for a first refusal or eighteen months if your privilege has been previously suspended as a result of a refusal to submit to a lawful test of your breath, urine, or blood. Additionally, if you refuse to submit to the test I have requested of you and if your driving privileges have been previously suspended for refusal to submit to a lawful test of your breath, urine, or blood, you will be committing a misdemeanor. Refusal to submit to the test I have requested of you is admissible into evidence in any criminal proceeding. Will you submit to the test?”

DUI Test Refusal

According to the law, if a person refuses to take the requested breath test, he or she is subject to have their drivers license suspended for 1 year. After a second refusal, an 18 month Miami DUI lawyersuspension is imposed and violators are charged with a 1st degree misdemeanor. It is important that arresting officers read the terms of the “Implied Consent” agreement before a motorist is read their Miranda rights. The reason is because Miranda rights give suspects the right to remain silent, so, if Miranda has already been invoked, a person, by law, wouldn’t have to answer either yes or no when the officer requests that a motorist submit to the breath test. Once Miranda rights have been read, it is a suspects legal right to “remain silent”. This requirement to notify motorists of the “Implied Consent” law before they are read their Miranda rights is called the “Miranda Confusion Doctrine”.

Avoiding Prosecution

If this doctrine is not followed, a DUI suspect cannot be properly prosecuted under Florida law. This Miranda rights issue, is the only technicality that will stop the mandatory drivers license suspension of those who refuse the breath test according to the “Implied Consent” language. When a person is arrested for DUI in Miami, the only way to be sure that they can escape penalties for refusing the breath test under the law, is if they have already been “Mirandized” before they are asked to take the test. A person can reasonably refuse the test under this condition and normally should be able to retain their drivers license without suspension. Of course, all cases are not the same and it is up to each individual to decide what they should do. There are many DUI lawyers in the Miami-Dade area who are well versed on the “Miranda Confusion Doctrine” and one should be consulted when a person refuses a breath test due to being read their Miranda rights.

Drunk Driving Definitions

Florida law defines a DUI, or driving while under the influence of alcohol, as impairment of reasonably normal motor function that can be proven or a measured blood alcohol level of 0/08 or above. While there are a few different methods of proving that a person is under the influence, the consequences of a conviction are the same. Penalties cover a variety of different aspects, such as community service or imprisonment, and the punishment becomes greater when a person chooses to repeat offend. Following is an outline of the consequences that a conviction for a DUI in Florida:

First Conviction

The first time that a person is convicted of this offense, they will face multiple things. First, the person will have to pay a fine that is no less than five hundred dollars, and no more than a thousand dollars. If there is a minor in the vehicle at the time, or if the blood alcohol level is above 0.15, these fine amounts increase to one thousand and two thousand respectively. First time offenders will also be required by the courts to serve at least fifty hours of community service in addition to any other penalties. Some judges require that more hours are served based on the situation, or they may choose to convert these extra hours into a fine that equals ten dollars per hour. Probation is something else that a person can get when they are convicted of a DUI in Florida for the first time, but it cannot exceed the period of one year. Jail time is a real possibility in these cases as well. Like many other faucets of the DUI consequences, imprisonment is based on how many times you have been convicted of the same crime. For first time offenders, imprisonment may not last more than six months. Again, if there was a minor in the car, or the blood alcohol level was above 0.15, then this requirement is raised to nine months. All imprisonment in DUI cases allow time spent in residential alcoholism treatment centers to be counted towards the total jail time ordered in the case.

Repeat Convictions

Repeat offenders that are convicted of this crime in the state of Florida will face steeper penalties than the first time that they were in this situation. The first thing that changes is the amount of the fine. For the second conviction, this fine amount is raised to no less than a thousand dollars, but no more than two thousand. Third and subsequent convictions thereafter carry a fee of no less than two thousand dollars. People who find that they are repeating the crime will also face higher amounts of jail time. While a second time offender will face no more than nine months in jail, third time offenders will face no more than a year. Any repeat offenses after that can be viewed as either repeat offenses, or a habitual offense. Repeat offenses will face no more than five years of jail time, while habitual offenses will be treated as outlined in another Florida statute. Based on the situation, who was involved, what vehicle was being operated, and how you act throughout the process, a variety of other consequences can be brought to the table as well. Your vehicle can be impounded, your license can be revoked, and you can be charged, and convicted of a felony.

As you can tell from the penalties outlined above, driving while under the influence of alcohol in the state of Florida carry some steep consequences.You’ve been arrested for drunk driving in the Miami area, and you feel vulnerable and scared.  You know you need to act smart in order to best defend yourself and finding the right lawyer is the most important step.  But how can you find the right DUI lawyer in Miami for your specific situation?  Here are some important considerations you should take into account as you make your decision:

Choosing a Miami DUI Lawyer


  1. Number One, experience is key.  Choose a lawyer from the Miami area that is experienced in fighting DUI and DWI cases.  There are hundreds of attorneys in the Miami area, but a local lawyer experienced in DUI cases will have the best understanding of the law applicable to your case and the best way to go about defending you from the charges against you.  They will be able to best evaluate whether the police treated you correctly or whether mistakes were made.  If it turns out that the police and other law enforcement officials overstepped their bounds, the charges could be dropped.

Presumption of Innocence


  1. Number Two, you are presumed innocent until found guilty.  An experienced, aggressive Miami DUI lawyer will be the best chance you have of getting the best result possible for your case.  They may be able to reduce or eliminate many of the penalties that come from DUI convictions such as jail time, revocation of your driver license, etc.  Your attorney needs to understand your rights and be able to use the evidence or lack thereof in order to create the best strategy to defend you.  Remember, it is the burden of the state to prove that you are guilty.



  1. Number Three, when it comes to DUI lawyers in Miami, you get what you pay for.  There are the so-called discount DUI/DWI lawyers in Miami and elsewhere that have lower rates than the biggest law firms.  These discount lawyers also have many more cases than the most experienced and talented lawyers and are interested in getting their cases over with fast and moving on to the next paying customer.  Law firms that have this setup cannot give the same amount of attention to your case as a DUI lawyer in Miami that may cost you more money.  Being charged with a DUI in Miami is no laughing matter.  It is important that you have the best possible defense. Many lawyers offer free initial consultations, but you will likely pay $2000 or more (sometimes a lot more) as a retainer fee if this is your first DUI arrest, and even more than this for a second offense.  If you can’t afford this, you are better off with a public defender than you are with a discount attorney.



  1. Number Four, community involvement and membership in important organizations is a good clue you’ve found a good lawyer.  Prominent positions in the state bar association, membership in the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), and membership in the National College for DUI Defense, Inc. (NCDD) are examples of things you might look for.


Whatever you do, when deciding on a DUI lawyer in Miami, make sure that you find someone you trust and that you feel will put the proper amount of focus and attention to your case.