DUI or Driving Under the Influence / DWI

Many people are surprised to find out that it is not illegal to drink and drive in Florida. That’s right. It is only illegal to drink and drive in Florida if your “normal faculties” are impaired by alcohol. Normal faculties include the ability to walk, talk, drive a car, judge distances and perform the mental and physical acts of our daily lives. It is also illegal to drink and then drive in Florida if your BAL is over .08. This is called “legal impairment” and a person can be found guilty of DUI even if that person looked perfect during roadside exercises and had zero problems operating their vehicle.

Did you have to Audition for your Freedom?

If you are stopped for DUI in Sarasota, Florida then you were likely asked to perform some “simple exercises” to give you the opportunity to dispel the officer’s belief that you might be DUI or DWI. However, when you look closely at the HGN (horizontal gaze nystagmus), the walk and turn, and the one-legged stand and you see all of the little tricks officers use to literally trip you up and almost guarantee that you will be arrested. They are called divided attention exercises and little do you know when you are at the side of the road, nervous, afraid and literally auditioning for your freedom that the officer is likely counting points off against you for doing things you were not even told would count against you!

For example, during the walk and turn the officer tells you to take 9 heel-to-toe steps in a straight line (sometimes the line is imaginary – how is that fair?) and then take a series of small steps and turn around and take nine heel-to-toe steps back, oh yeah, don’t start until I tell you to start and keep your arms at your side. Little do you know but if your heel to toe steps are more than a half inch apart, you lose a point and if you raise your arms from your side more than two inches, you lose another point. Remember the small steps to turn around? You guessed it, if the officer believes your steps were not small enough or that your turned to the left instead of the right that is another point off.

Sarasota DUI lawyer Anthony G. Ryan knows how unfair these so-called tests or exercises are and he knows how to explain this to a jury. These are totally subjective exercises in futility that have nothing to do with a person’s normal faculties. In fact, officers are trained to try to trip you up from the very beginning if they smell the odor of alcohol or just happened to pull you over right outside a down-town restaurant and bar district. How? They might ask you for your driver’s license and then while you are nervously looking for it, ask you another totally unrelated question. They will also try to get you to admit that you had a few drinks. What about my right to remain silent and not incriminate myself?

DUI is also one of the few crimes where you can be arrested based only upon the opinion of the arresting officer. If you drink alcoholic beverages and then drive in Florida, then you could easily be arrested for driving under the influence, or DUI. Even if you are not drunk, buzzed or impaired you can be arrested and convicted based only on one officer’s opinion. If this doesn’t seem fair to you, then you are not alone.

Even if the state ultimately drops the case, just a DUI arrest can have serious consequences, like an immediate license suspension and harsh minimum mandatory penalties. However, an experienced Sarasota DUI lawyer can help you to get a hardship license or BPO (business purposes only) license so you can keep getting to and from work while you fight your case. Contact an experienced DUI attorney in Sarasota who can help you get a hardship license, and who will evaluate your case and come up with the best defense.

Wait I didn’t Drink Anything. Can I still get a DUI in Florida?

Yes. Driving under the influence of illegal drugs, like cocaine and marijuana, or even common prescription medications, like Prozac, Xanex/Zanex, oxycontin, or benzodiazepines, can result in a Sarasota DUI arrest. In Florida drug DUI cases, after the arresting officer gives you a breath test and you pass, she will then ask for a urine sample. This is particularly troubling in DUI cases, since the presence of illegal and prescription drugs in your urine does not necessarily mean that you are currently under the influence of that substance. Let alone impaired by the substance. In the case of a marijuana DUI, a person’s urine may test positive even if that person hasn’t smoked in over a month. If you have been accused of a drug DUI in Sarasota, the police may then try to have a DRE or a so-called drug recognition expert do an examination and then give an opinion of impairment. DREs examine a person’s eye movements, behavior and other cues that are supposed to be effective in pointing out drug influence. In reality, it is not an objective examination and is only used to support the arresting officer’s decision. Hire an experienced Sarasota Drug DUI attorney who will educate a jury and create a comprehensive and effective defense.

Client Reviews

I was amazed at how much Mr. Ryan knew about his profession. He is a very honest person who has his clients best interest at heart. He is well informed in all areas of law not only defense law. He is a straight talker that is extremely passionate about his work. I highly recommend him. He is one of...

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Mr. Ryan was wonderful. I trusted him with my life and he saved it with his knowledge and skill. I would recommend him to anyone who is in trouble with the law and needs help, he is the attorney for you!!

Criminal Defense Client

When you are in a situation when there seems to be no silver lining, someone with a little experience should always offer their feedback to inform you of your options to better your position. I was in a situation where I did not know what was going on, no idea what to do and most of all, scared of...

Criminal Defense Client

He was very quick to respond to requests and handled everything very professionally.

Criminal Defense Client

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