DUI Appeals in Florida
Even after conviction, you may have legal options
A DUI conviction can have massive consequences for your life, and in Florida, it stays on your record essentially forever. However, a conviction isn’t always the end of the story. Depending on the circumstances, you may have the opportunity to appeal.
Not every DUI conviction can be appealed. Typically, you need to show there was an error made during the trial or sentencing in order to get your conviction overturned. However, your best chance is to hire a lawyer who understands the process and knows how to find opportunities. That’s why you need Thomas C. Grajek, Attorney at Law.
How DUI appeals work in Florida
An appeal is not a new trial. It’s a review of the legal process from the investigation and the original trial and, if applicable, newly discovered evidence that would have affected the outcome. The appellate judges will look at the trial process and transcripts to determine whether a legal error was made.
Some of the potential grounds for appeal include:
- Lack of basis for traffic stop or DUI tests – for instance, if the police pulled you over without reasonable suspicion or conducted a breath, blood or urine test without probable cause.
- Violation of Miranda rights – if the police didn’t advise you of your right to remain silent and right to an attorney, some of the evidence they took may have been inadmissible. In a DUI case, drivers aren’t typically considered “in custody” where Miranda would have to be read by the police. However, circumstances may require Miranda rights to be read.
- Improper admission of breathalyzer evidence – if there were problems with the handling of the test results or the calibration of the machine itself, that may have rendered some evidence inadmissible.
- Ineffective assistance of counsel – if your previous defense attorney failed to take necessary actions at trial to protect your rights, you may have grounds for an appeal.
Just because a mistake was made doesn’t guarantee that you will win your appeal. You need to convince the appeals court that the mistake was significant enough to affect the outcome of the trial. For instance, if some minor piece of evidence is found to be inadmissible, but the appeals court decides you would have been convicted with or without that evidence, that’s not enough. That’s why you need to do it right the first time and hire an experienced lawyer. If your lawyer does not waive these issue at trial, you may waive them on appeal.
Ultimately, there are four possible outcomes of an appeal. The appeals court can:
- Affirm the conviction, which means it stands as-is.
- Reverse the conviction, which means the trial court’s decision is overturned and replaced with a new decision.
- Reverse and remand, which means the matter is sent back to the trial court for a new trial.
- Remand for re-sentencing, which means the conviction stands but the sentence will be changed in accordance with the appeals court’s instructions.
Protect your rights with an experienced DUI defense attorney
Successful DUI appeals are rare, but they do happen. The key is to get an attorney on your side who understands the process and knows how to examine your conviction to find grounds for appeal. That’s why you need a lawyer who knows the law and has extensive experience defending DUI cases in court.
You also need to act quickly – usually, you have just 30 days from the date of conviction to appeal. If you suspect something went wrong leading to your conviction, don’t let your opportunity to clear your name slip away. Call 863-688-4606 or use the contact form to speak with an experienced Lakeland DUI attorney about your situation.