Blog | Ferraro Law Group, PL | Boutique Stuart, FL, Criminal Defense Law Firm, Representing The Treasure Coast and Palm Beaches | Page 3

Four Things To Do For A DUI Arrest

A DUI is a serious matter with serious consequences. You can lose your driver’s license, go to jail, and pay hefty fines. The loss of your driver’s license is automatic upon arrest, but can be fought. In most cases, especially first time offender cases, you can obtain a limited license and allowed to drive for limited purposes. But to get that type of license you have to act fast, because there is a short time period for asking for a limited license and if you miss it, you miss out on the opportunity. There are other things you will need to do if you are arrested for DUI, and doing these things can set the stage for a successful case.

Four things to do if you are arrested for DUI include the following:

  • Stay calm, which will help you to think things through before speaking or acting. When you make quick decisions you are more likely to say or do something that can be used against you later. But if you are able to keep your wits about you, you stand a better chance of keeping damaging information to yourself, and this can really help your case down the road.
  • Stay silent, except to give short and direct answers. The temptation to try and talk your way out of the arrest may be great, but most times when this happens you only end up digging a deeper hole. You do have the right to remain silent and if your answers would jeopardize your freedom then you should exercise this right. But if you can give a short answer without elaborating, it is okay to do so.
  • As soon as you are able to, call an attorney. Hopefully you are able to bond out of jail quickly, and once you do you need to clear your head and call an attorney for help. Calling an attorney while the facts are fresh and you are clear headed will allow you to give an accurate account of the facts, without overlooking important details.
  • One fact that will play a role in your defense is whether you submitted to the breath test, or declined. If you did take the test it is crucial to tell your attorney all of the details. A lot of DUI defendants mistakenly believe breath test results cannot be challenged, but the plain truth is that these results are challenged all the time. There are several objections you can make, and when done properly a breath test challenge can lead to a dismissal or a reduced charge.

Our goal is to design a strategy that meets your needs. Our team of DUI defense attorneys is experienced and reviewing the facts and developing a defense that fits those facts. Call us today to learn more.

If you have been arrested for DUI, call our office for help today. Contact us today schedule an appointment with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. The first visit is a free initial consultation.

Two Possible Changes To DUI Interlock Rules

Ignition Interlock being considered by Florida Legislature

The Legislature is back in session, considering changes to current DUI Laws

The requirement to have an interlock device installed in your car if you get a DUI has historically been reserved for cases where the BAC was significantly higher than the 0.08% limit (at .15%) or if the driver was transporting a minor child at the time of DUI arrest. However, there have been pushes for changes to these requirements, and that movement seems to be gaining ground. A recent proposal to make the interlock requirement apply to all first time DUI offenders, even those who do not have a BAC as high as .15% and/or are not driving with a minor in the car, has passed its first hurdle in the State Legislature. If the initiative continues forward, there could be changes coming to the rules that apply to when an interlock is required and when it is not required.

If passed as it stands now, two of the changes to the interlock rules in DUI cases would be as follows:

  • A first time offender would be given the chance to withhold adjudication if they make the choice to have the device installed.
  • This means upon passage of the probationary term, the Court would be required to release the defendant without having entered a conviction on the charges.

These changes would drastically change the way DUI plea negotiations are entered, and could also change the outcome of a potentially huge number of cases. In order for these new rules to become effective, the proposed bill must go through two more stages of legislative review. If passed, Florida will now be in the majority of states with this type of requirement, as over half of the states in the nation currently have this type of system in place. We know how important it is to you to know what to expect if you are arrested for a crime, especially one that jeopardizes your freedom or ability to drive. We also know there is a lot of information available on the internet, through friends, or from well-intentioned family members and that this information can be hard to sift through to get to the bottom line. That is why we are here to stay on top of any legal changes, and to advise you when needed. Our team of DUI defense attorneys has experience in cases with all sorts of fact patterns, and knows how to help you too.

If you questions about DUI’s and interlock rules, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast for answers. Your first visit is a free consultation and we work with you to reach results that fit your needs.

Five Factors That Affect Breath Test

Breath Test DUI Attorney

RJ Ferraro has defended against DUI convictions since 2001

The breath test is the most common way police officers make a determination that a driver has had more to drink than is legally allowed before operating a vehicle. Once an officer observes a driving pattern that is indicative of drunk driving, the car can be pulled over the drive questioned. If the questioning leads the officer to believe the driver has had too much to drink, he or she can ask the driver to submit to a breath test. When the breath test results show an alcohol concentration in the driver’s system of 0.08% or more, a ticket and arrest for DUI can be written. This type of scenario makes it critical for every driver on Florida roadways to know a few things about how breath tests work, and what types of things can have an impact on the test result.

Five factors that affect breath tests in DUI cases are:

  • The calibration of the machine. This is not a factor that is under the control of the driver, but is still a factor just the same. If the machine is not properly calibrated, it will not give off an accurate result.
  • Personal physiological traits such as the driver’s metabolism and mouth temperature. These are things that are still not within your control, but are unique to you specifically. It is important to identify and work through any special circumstances related to you personally. Sometimes medical evidence is needed to support a claim of this type.
  • Whether you blew into the machine in short breaths, or one long breath. Believe it or not, this does make a difference in how the result is computed.
  • What you have eaten just prior to the test.
  • Whether you suffer from certain medical conditions that can “fool the machine.”

An experienced DUI defense attorney knows where to look for factors that help bolster your defense, and can point these things out to the prosecution. Keep in mind though that just because these are possible parts to your defense, not all will apply in every case. We take the time to review your case as it applies only to you, and develop a defense that is tailored to your needs.

For answers to questions about breath tests, call an experienced criminal defense attorney today. Skilled criminal defense attorneys in Stuart and the Treasure Coast are here to help you today. Your first visit is a free initial consultation.

Two Elements To Every Drug Bust

Drug Defense Attorney

RJ Ferraro has defended against Drug convictions since 2001

With all of the focus on the legalization of marijuana in Florida, some important information on other types of drug charges may be getting overlooked. Remember that the crack down on drugs is not limited to pot, and even if you are engaged in legal activity regarding marijuana, there are still plenty of illegal activities as far as other substances are concerned. Once final, the legalization of marijuana will apply only to that substance, and if you are caught with cocaine, methamphetamine, or any other banned substance you can be arrested and brought up on drug charges.

Two parts to every drug bust, that is the responsibility of the State to prove in order to get a conviction against you, are:

  • That you were knowingly in possession of the drug in question.
  • That you were able to exercise control or ownership of the drug in question.

 

These two requirements mean that it is not sufficient to show that you possessed an illegal substance, you must also have done so both knowingly and willingly. These are difficult standards to prove and require an in depth analysis into each facet of your case. The prosecution will work hard to show that you knew you had the drugs on you, and that you did so of your own willful act. Our job is to dispute the evidence offered by the State, and minimize the possible range of punishment you face. This is done through careful investigation and persuasive argument. When an error is made by the prosecution, we point that out to the Court and make sure you get the benefit of a lawful proceeding against you. All cases are different and some are resolve by plea negotiation while others require a trial to prove the truth of the matter. You also need to know that the law defines possession as either actual or constructive. With actual possession it can be more difficult to rebut the presumption you knew you had the drugs on your person. Constructive possession, on the other hand, is a type of possession where the substance is simply near your and/or within your control. For more information about what to do if you are charged with drug possession, call our office.

If you have questions about drug possession cases, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast for answers. Your first visit is a free consultation and we work with you to reach results that fit your needs.

Four Common Challenges To Breath Test Results That Can Work For You

Unless you have a background in science you might be intimidated when trying to challenge the result of a scientific test. The methodology used and the scientific terms are often times difficult for the layperson to understand, let alone question. So if you have been charged with DUI after having “failed” a breath test, you might be thinking that there is little hope for a good defense. But the truth is breath tests are not as reliable as an arresting officer might have you believe, and successful challenges to the test results can be made in a large majority of cases.

Four common challenges to breath tests in DUI cases that just might work for your case include:

  • Challenging the maintenance of the equipment. The equipment used to test the level of alcohol in your system has to be maintained a certain way. You have the right to ask if that happened, and if it did not, the result could be considered unreliable.
  • Question whether the test result picked up the existence of any other substance that may give off the same type of reading as alcohol. There are some over the counter medications, and even some prescription medications, that can cause a false positive. If you had any of these in your system at the time of the test, the result could be wrong.
  • Attack the way the test was given. Were you asked to blow in short spurts, or one long breath? There is a difference and it is important to look at this part of the testing procedure when determining if the results are valid.
  • Were you made aware of your right to refuse the test? Florida has an implied consent law, which basically means that by driving on the roads your consent to submit to the test is implied. But in truth you can refuse, and should be told this is one of your rights.

An experienced DUI defense attorney will look at all of these possible challenges, and any others that your case warrants. If you have been charged with DUI, call us for help. We have helped others fight these scary charges, and look forward to helping you too.

For answers to questions about DUI cases, call an experienced criminal defense attorney today. Skilled criminal defense attorneys in Stuart and the Treasure Coast are here to help you reach workable solutions. Your first visit is a free initial consultation.

Five Possibile Penalties When You Are Convicted of DUI

Drug Defense Attorney

RJ Ferraro has defended against DUI convictions since 2001

Being arrested for DUI means a lot of things, and not many of them are fun. But it does happen, and it happens more than you might think. So, if you have been charged with DUI the best thing you can do is take a deep breath and being to prepare your defense. Preparation should start with contacting an experienced DUI defense attorney, and explaining what happened before, during and after the arrest. The facts you are able to relay to your attorney can help you establish a solid defense, and might just save you a trip to the jail house or loss of your driving privileges.

Five possible penalties when you are convicted for DUI are:

  • An increase in your insurance rates. Money is tight for most everyone these days, so if you have to pay higher insurance rates, you might have to find other areas where you can cut back on expenses.
  • The requirement that you have an interlock device installed in your car. This device requires you to blow into it before your car will start. If the device detects alcohol on your breath, your car’s ignition will not turn over for a period of time. This means you will not be able to drive, and will essentially be stuck in place.
  • Possible jail time and this depends on whether this is your first offense of if you have a prior DUI but can also depend on other factors. Each case is different, so the chances of having to spend time behind bars will vary from case to case.
  • Possible loss of your driver’s license, especially if you fail to request an administrative review of your license revocation within ten days after your DUI arrest. In many instances you can get at least a limited license, and this will allow you to continue driving for certain purposes.
  • Imposition of monetary fines and penalties.

A DUI arrest raises many questions, and we have the answers you need. We understand how important it is for you to stay on the road, out of jail, and to minimize the costs associated with a DUI arrest. This is why we work with you on an individual basis rather than treat your case like all the rest, and develop a defense aimed at a solution that works for your personal needs.

If you have questions about how to defend a DUI, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast for answers. Your first visit is a free consultation and we work with you to reach results that fit your needs.

Two Reasons To Talk To An Attorney About Drugs

Being arrested for a drug related offense is a serious matter that can have serious consequences. The punishment for possession or some other drug crime can include jail time and loss of other liberties. This is true even if you are charged in a case that seems minor, such as misdemeanor possession of marijuana. A lot of people don’t consider marijuana to be a “hard drug”, and thus are unaware of how serious an arrest can be when caught with the substance. And now that there is movement towards legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes, the thought of some is that there is no harm in simple possession or that it won’t be long until marijuana is legalized for other purposes. But until that time comes, you do have to be careful and act fast if you are facing possession or other drug related charges.

The first thing to know if you have been arrested on a drug charge is that your best defense starts by talking to a qualified attorney about your case before you talk to anyone else, including friends and family! Two reasons to talk to an attorney about drug charges, including things like possession, possession with intent, and distribution, are:

  • Anything you say to an officer can be used against you, and this is true even if you said something in jest or to an undercover police officer. Because it is hard to know when an officer is taking part in an undercover operation, it is hard to keep your words to yourself. When this instance is part of your case it is time to zip your lips and say nothing further until you give all of the details to an attorney.
  • Talking about things you think you know can quickly become the equivalent of actual knowledge when charges get filed. It is never a good idea to speculate or guess about circumstances, and if you happen to open up to an officer outside of the presence of an attorney, take care not to try and provide an answer to a question you don’t know. The more you say, the more likely you will be implicated in an unlawful act.

It is important to exercise your right to stay silent for many reasons, and perhaps one of the most important reasons is because in order to be convicted of a crime the state has to prove certain elements of that crime. Rather than give the prosecution the information they need to establish those elements, stay silent and let a competent defense attorney help you.

For assistance with drug charges, contact our office. Call us today schedule an appointment with n qualified criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. The first visit is a free initial consultation.

Five Things You Might Not Know About Probation

VOP probation technical violation

Probation is an excellent option if you can follow the rules.

If you have been placed on probation then you know that there are certain things you can do and certain things that are prohibited. You probably also know that if you do something that is prohibited you can be charged with violating your probation. A probation violation or VOP is a new charge that you have to defend, and with every violation comes the risk that your supervision will be revoked. All of this is should sound familiar if you have been arrested and negotiated a plea that included a term of probation. But there are also some things about probation that are not as obvious, but just as important.

Five things you might not know about probation, but should if you are considering agreeing to a term, are:

  • You might be subject to a random drug test, even if you were not arrested on a drug charge initially.
  • If you have been ordered not to “associate” with someone who is engaging in criminal activity, which might extend to minor violations. It is clear that you should stay away from hanging out with people who are dealing drugs or committing armed robbery, but what happens if you are out with a friend who gets arrested for public intoxication? That might be considered “associating with someone engaged in unlawful activity”.
  • Not all scientific proof has to be supported by an actual scientist. So, if you fail a one of the random drug tests mentioned above, don’t expect to get an opportunity to cross examine someone with scientific knowledge about the test itself.
  • Staying out past curfew can be a violation, and as easy as it is to lose track of time, this is a pretty common violation but one that gets little attention.
  • If you are caught committing a new crime, it might not be the best idea to enter a plea to that charge because doing so might be used as evidence in the case against you for VOP. You have to be very careful about how you respond to violation charges, or you risk digging a deeper hole.

The idea of going on probation sounds easy enough, but the little nuances described above show some of the complexities that must be considered first. If you have questions about probation or have been charged with a violation of probation, call us for help.

 

For more information about probation and VOP, call us today to schedule an appointment. One of our experienced criminal defense attorneys in Stuart and the Treasure Coast is here to help you and your first visit is a free initial consultation.

Tis the Season for Wine and Food Festival, Charity Dinners and DUI

Wine and Food Festival DUI Arrest

Enjoy all that our area has to offer, but drink responsibly!

Weather stations across the country have been reporting sunnier days in the midst of cold weather and residents from all parts of the nation are gearing up for summer. Snow birds are still in season, and we are in prime time for wine and food festival, charity dinners and often, DUI.

Not only does Florida have miles and miles of beautiful coast line, but also events for just about every taste. And, speaking of taste, a popular festival that involves good food and wine is getting ready to take place just to our north. The Vero Beach Wine and Food Festival has been a success in the past, and there is no reason to think it will not be a hit again in a few short months. But if you plan to go, do some advance planning in order to stay out of trouble with the law.

Two ways the Vero Beach Wine and Food Festival might land you in jail for DUI are:

  • The event includes wine, which is an alcoholic beverage. Any time you attend something where alcohol is served, and you got there by car, you run the risk of being pulled over on your way home and arrested for DUI.
  • This year the opportunity to attend after parties, where there will no doubt be more opportunities to take part in an alcoholic beverage. This is a new feature to the Festival and with even more chances to have a drink, your chances of being stopped and charged with DUI increases.

The best way to avoid an arrest is to make a plan prior to heading up the interstate for a safe ride home. You can designate a driver, use a driving service, or decide to stay put after the event ends. But even if you do make a good plan, things can still go wrong. This is true not only for this event, but also for a random Friday night out with friends. If you have been arrested for DUI you have to act fast to protect yourself and your right to drive. Our office has experience defending DUI cases and knows what type of defense will work best for the facts of your case. Call us today to find out more, and to work to save your driver’s license.

For questions about DUI defense, call us to schedule an appointment. Let one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys in Stuart and the Treasure Coast to help you with your case. Your first visit with us is a free initial consultation.

A Three Point Update On Medical Marijuana

medical marijuana is on its way

Medical Marijuana is still the exception, not the rule in Florida.

In November 2016 the most publicized issue at the voting polls was the choice of president, but there were more issues on the election ballot than just the race for the White House. Most states had local issues to decide and here at home one of those issues was the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Known as Amendment 2, the measure passed with just over 70% of the vote. But the “yes” vote was not an all clear to do as one wishes, and in the months that have followed there have been additional questions that have arisen, and getting answers is imperative if anyone is expected to act within the letter of the law.

A quick three point update on the status of medical marijuana in Florida includes the following information:

  • Of key concern to law enforcement officials is clarification on when, where, and how a dispensary will operate. This type of clarification is needed if law and order is to have any place within this new law.
  • What type of use will be permitted, vaping or smoking?
  • Growers have a large stake in the final version of the law, because they have invested a significant amount of time and money on this issue.

The State’s lawmakers have been tasked with implementing a law that operates in the way the voting public expected. The problem is that it is difficult to write a law that encompasses every voter’s needs or wants. The end result could be a law that sees a lot of legal challenges before there is any set groundwork for what is legal and what is illegal. In the meantime, we will keep our eyes on this very important issue, so we can provide accurate advice when required. It is also important to remember that the law will not give a blank check for things like distribution, possession, or other illegal drug activity. If you have questions about the status of medical marijuana or have another drug crime related mater that needs attention, call our office. We have experience defending people charged with drug crimes and will aggressively defend any charges against you.

For more information about drug charges, call our office. Schedule an appointment with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. Your first visit is a free initial consultation.