Even if you've been convicted, you may have options
If you were convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) in Florida, it may seem like your fate is sealed. However, you may still have a chance to beat the charge.
That's because some DUI convictions can be appealed. In order to be successful, you need a good reason for your appeal, and a good DUI defense lawyer to make your case.
There are, generally, three steps to your DUI appeal:
- Discover and collect evidence that proves an error was made during arrest, trial, or sentencing.
- Convince an appellate judge that, due to the aforementioned reasons, you deserve an appeal.
- If an appeal is granted, you may have to prepare for a new trial or other court action.
Reasons for DUI appeal
When you appeal a DUI conviction you are seeking a review of the legal process including the investigation, original trial, and, if it applies, newly discovered evidence that would have affected the outcome.
An appellate judge will review transcripts and other documents and evidence in search of errors. Errors that may justify an appeal include:
- Illegal stop - Police cannot pull a driver over without good reason. They must have a "reasonable suspicion" that a primary law is being violated. If it turns out the stop that led to your DUI arrest and conviction was illegal, everything that happened afterward has a chance of being thrown out.
- Illegal breathalyzer or DUI tests - Just like when they pull you over, police must have reasonable suspicion that you are driving under the influence of alcohol in order to legally give you a breathalyzer or other BAC (blood alcohol concentration) test. If there was no basis for a DUI test, the results may not be used against you.
- Miranda rights violation - Typically, when you are arrested an officer must inform you of your Miranda rights in a language that you understand. Failing to do this could destroy an officer's case and disqualify a lot of so-called "evidence."
- Faulty BAC results - Blood alcohol content (BAC) tests can be conducted on breath, blood, or urine. However, BAC testing equipment, like breathalyzers, often produce unreliable results. The equipment may be poorly maintained and miscalibrated. Results can be thrown off if an officer incorrectly administers the test or the lab screws up. Overall, results can be misinterpreted.
- Ineffective assistance of counsel - If you chose the wrong attorney or were assigned an overburdened public defender, they may have failed to take steps that would have saved you from conviction. A knowledgeable attorney with a successful DUI defense track record can identify these missed opportunities and file an appeal, if necessary.
Talk to a Lakeland DUI defense attorney
Just because a mistake was made with your DUI case does not mean you will get an appeal; it takes a lot for a judge to disagree with another court.
You need a no-nonsense DUI defense attorney who will thoroughly and aggressively pursue your appeal. Thomas C. Grajek, Attorney at Law has a reputation as a trusted Polk County DUI defense attorney. His track record of success is why many people facing charges or seeking an appeal turn to our law firm.
Attorney Grajek offers free consultations to potential clients. Our legal team is available to hear from you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Start protecting your freedom now; contact us to schedule your free case consultation today. Our law firm proudly serves Lakeland, Tampa, Lutz, and the larger Polk County region.