How the prosecution sees your case.
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Motor Vehicle / DUI Defense
Driving While Under the Influence (DUI) attorneys Philip M. Snyder and Marc P. Lyons provide courtroom defense for people charged with felony and misdemeanor motor vehicle crimes throughout South Florida.
Pursuing all options
As a former Special Unit Assistant State Attorneys, Marc P. Lyons and Philip M. Snyder prosecuted thousands of individuals charged with motor vehicle crimes, including DUIs. As a result of their experience, Marc P. Lyons and Philip M. Snyder know first hand that the key to a successful resolution in these cases is hiring an attorney who is familiar with the specific statues, motions, and penalties associated with motor vehicles crimes and, more importantly, are not afraid to go to trial. Any attorney can represent you and encourage you to take a plea. The DUI attorneys at Lyons, Snyder & Collin aggressively explores criminal defenses and prepares for trial from day one.
If you have been arrested for Driving While Under the Influence (DUI), the first question is whether it is a felony or a misdemeanor. If you are charged with a Felony DUI, the State Attorney’s Office will most likely petition the Court to impose a lengthy period of incarceration, regardless of your criminal history.
The State will charge an individual with DUI Manslaughter when somebody is killed as a result of an alleged drunk driver. The Legislature designated this offense as a 2nd degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in Florida State Prison.
DUI Serious Bodily Injury (DUI / SBI)
The State will charge an individual with DUI / SBI when somebody (other than the alleged drunk driver) is seriously injured as a result of the crash. The Legislature designated this offense as a 3rd degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in Florida State Prison.
The State may charge an individual with Felony DUI when they are arrested for their third or more DUI offense. The Legislature designated this offense as a 3rd degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in Florida State Prison.
The State will charge an individual with Misdemeanor DUI when they are arrested for a first or second DUI. The Legislature designated this offense as a 1st degree misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in county jail, depending on the nature of the offense.
Know the law
In Florida, in order to prove that you were driving under the influence, the State must prove that you:
- Drove or were in actual physical control of a vehicle;
- While under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, chemical substance, or controlled substance; and
- To the extent that your normal faculties were impaired OR having a breath or blood alcohol level of .08 or higher.
If you agreed to take a breath test
In Florida, the police administer the breath test after you have been arrested. Therefore, even if your breath alcohol level is below a .08, you will still go to jail. Additionally, the State can still charge you with driving under the influence if your breath alcohol level is below .08.
If your breath alcohol level is .08 or above, the Legislature has deemed you presumptively impaired and the State will only have to prove this element to convict you. The fact that your breath alcohol level is .08 or above does not preclude you from taking your case to trial and receiving a not-guilty verdict. The DUI attorneys at Lyons, Snyder & Collin meticulously examines the probable cause affidavit and video to point out any glaring inconsistencies that would prove that the breath test machine was malfunctioning or provided a false reading.
If you refused to take a breath test (“Refusal”)
In Florida, the State will charge you with driving while under the influence, even if you refused to take a breath test. In these cases, the State will attempt to convict you through other evidence such as your driving pattern, your physical characteristics, your speech, your statements, and/or how well you performed on your field sobriety exercises.
Fort Lauderdale DUI attorneys Marc P. Lyons and Philip M. Snyder have experience pointing out to the jury the inherent flaws with the administration of field sobriety exercises. We will aggressively customize your defense to highlight one of the infinite numbers of reasons you refused to provide a breath sample.
Know the penalties
If you are convicted of a first DUI, the Court must sentence you to the following minimum penalities:
- License Revocation
- DUI School
- Fine + Court Costs
- Community Service
- Immobilization of your vehicle (in most cases)
- Interlock device on your vehicle (if your breath sample was over .15)
If you are convicted of a 2nd DUI with 5 years, the penalties also include a mandatory 10 days in County Jail.
The Fort Lauderdale DUI lawyers at Lyons, Snyder & Collin are skilled in working with prosecutors to reduce charges to avoid the harsh penalties associated with a DUI conviction. Attorneys Marc P. Lyons and Philip M. Snyder thoroughly examine your case and provide you with tailored representation depending on the issues. We aggressively cross-examine the stopping officer, arresting office, and breath technician to uncover mistakes in their investigations. We will always advocate that the Court not impose any jail conditions regardless of the facts and circumstances of your case.
I need to drive
Independent of the imposition of the sentence by the Court, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will immediately suspend your license upon arrest. The State allows you only 10 days from the date of arrest to contest any suspension of your license. You must request a formal or informal hearing with the DMV. If you fail to contact the DMV within those 10 days, the State will suspend your license for 30 days (if you provided a breath sample) and 90 days (if you refused to provide a breath sample). After this time, you may be eligible for a hardship license. At a DMV hearing, the DUI lawyers at Lyons, Snyder & Collin will argue on your behalf that the officer did not have probable cause to effectuate an arrest, and accordingly, your license should not be suspended.
*** As of July 2013, you can get immediately apply for a hardship license if you waive your right to a DMV hearing and enroll in DUI school.
In Miami-Dade County and Palm Beach County, the State Attorney’s Office has implemented DUI Diversion Programs for qualifying first time DUI offenders. Broward County does NOT offer a DUI Diversion Program. Click here to read Mr. Snyder’s article on Miami’s DUI Diversion Program. Upon completion of the diversion program (Miami), the State will amend your DUI to reckless driving and the Court will sentence you to a withhold of adjudication (making the charge eligible for sealing).
Palm Beach’s diversion program is similar to Miami’s program with a few noticeable differences. Palm Beach’s program is separated into two tiers: Tier 1 is for those with a blood alcohol level between .08 and .15, while Tier 2 is for those with a blood alcohol level between .15 and .20 or who refused the breath test. Palm Beach’s diversion program is only available to those who have/were (1) been arrested on DUI charges for the first time with no accompanying felony or possession charges; (2) not involved in an accident at the time they were arrested; (3) a blood alcohol content below .20; (4) no minors or animals were present in the vehicle; and (5) a valid driver’s license at the time of the arrest. Additionally, the applicant may not have been charged with a similar offense, and/or served a prior prison sentence.
You must enroll in the program at or before arraignment. This program can be entered at any of the satellite courthouses: Gun Club, South County or North County.
When you enter the program, you will plead guilty to reckless driving and the DUI charge will be dropped. You will be placed on probation for 12 months. Once you enter the program, you agree not to possess or consume any alcohol, illegal or prescription drugs without a prescription for the duration of the program. Additionally, there are several steps you will need to complete.
First, your vehicle will be immobilized for 10 days. You will then need to submit to an alcohol monitoring device for a 3-month (Tier 1) or 6-month (Tier 2) period. You will be able to choose from three different devices:
- Ignition Interlock: This device requires you to take a breath analysis test before you will be able to start your car.
- SCRAM Monitor: This device is an anklet bracelet that constantly monitors your blood alcohol level.
- Visual Alcohol Monitoring: This device combines photo and breath testing devices to ensure the identity of the person submitting to the test.
Tier 1 includes a $250 fine and Tier 2 includes a $500 fine, plus court fees. Random urine tests will be performed during your time in the program. You will also need to perform 50 (Tier 1) or 75 (Tier 2) hours of community service at a court-approved location. You will also need to complete level one of the DUI School within the first four months of the program and complete a substance abuse evaluation within the first two months. Finally, you will need to complete a one-hour Victim Impact Panel Class online.
If you fail to complete the program, the DUI charge will be reinstated and you will be sentenced to 90 days in the Palm Beach County Jail.
The bottom line: whether it’s getting you accepted into a diversion program or proceeding to trial, our criminal defense attorneys are committed to providing one thing: RESULTS. Contact the Fort Lauderdale DUI attorneys at Lyons, Snyder & Collin 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 954.462.8035 for your free DUI consultation.