DUI Attorney in Tampa

Tampa DUI Attorney for the RIDR (DUI Diversion) Program

DUI

A DUI arrest can be extremely devastating. Not only can it cost you a lot of money for an attorney, fines, court costs, costs for vehicle impound and higher insurance fees, it can also cost you your driver’s license, possible jail time and it will stay on your driving record for 75 years. A DUI also comes with a mandatory conviction, meaning you cannot get your criminal record sealed or expunged. But a Tampa DUI attorney maybe able to help you avoid some of those consequences. A Hillsborough County DUI attorney can help you find out about the new RIDR program that will avoid a DUI conviction, court imposed driver’s license suspension plus you may be able to have your criminal record sealed.

Background for the Tampa RIDR (Reduced Impaired Driving Recidivism) Program

The Program was first announced in February 2018. At that meeting Tampa DUI attorneys were able to get details about the program requirements and ask questions. The program gives first time DUI offenders in Tampa and Hillsborough County the chance to avoid not only a DUI conviction but a criminal conviction altogether. The purpose of the program is to reduce the chance of people getting arresting for DUI a second time and thereby reduce the number of DUI arrests and the number of drunk drivers on the roads in Tampa and Hillsborough County. However, in order to reduce the chance of people driving drunk again, the program does require that anybody who wants to take advantage of the opportunity has to have an ignition interlock device installed or wear a SCRAM monitor. The reasoning behind that is that a study found that people who were wearing an alcoholic monitoring device had a much lower chance of getting arrested for DUI a second time. Another purpose of the program is to encourage people to provide a breath test when arrested for DUI. However, it seems that the fact that anybody who bows .20 or above does not qualify for the program defeats that purpose. The program officially started on March 1st 2018.

How to participate in the RIDR Program

The state attorney’s office has made it clear that they will review every case separately to see whether or not a person qualifies. This means that even though there are general guidelines as to what would disqualify someone, that not everybody who falls within the guidelines will be offered the chance to complete the program and avoid the DUI conviction. Therefore, it is extremely important that you hire an experienced Tampa DUI lawyer to help you fight the DUI and get int the program if that is the best option for you. Per the state attorney’s office the general guidelines to qualify for the program are:

  1. The pending charge must be a misdemeanor DUI (no felony)
  2. The Person cannot have a prior record for:
    1. DUI (including no prior DUI diversion program)
    2. Alcohol Related Reckless Driving
    3. Leaving the Scene of an Accident causing injury or death
    4. Vehicular Homicide or Manslaughter
    5. No prior Felony Conviction or Withhold of Adjudication within 5 years of the date of arrest
    6. No more than 1 prior non-DUI diversion program
  3. No other pending charges for DUI, leaving the scene causing injury or death, driving while license suspended or Vehicular homicide
  4. The person can also not be on probation or Pretrial Diversion for any other charge
  5. The person must have a valid driver’s license at the time of the arrest
  6. The incident cannot include an accident and no minor under 18 years of age was in the car
  7. No breath test of .20 or above.
A new Law May Provide for Harsher Penalties for a Refusal

Some drivers refuse to take a breath, blood or urine test when stopped for DUI. In some cases that can be helpful to the defense because the prosecutor does not have the additional scientific evidence showing that you had alcohol or drugs in your system. However, under Florida law a driver who has previously refused a breath, blood or urine test, is not only facing an 18 months license suspension but also a second criminal charge - with a possible maximum of 1 year in jail. Prosecutors have always used this second criminal charge as leverage when prosecuting a person for DUI, especially when the state had a weak case on the DUI. That is because it is a lot easier for the state to prove that a person refused a breath test for a second time than it is for the state to prove that a person drive under the influence without the added benefit of the breath test.

Now the Florida legislature is considering a law that would make even a first refusal a separate offense. Based on 2016 Senate Bill 1244, drivers could face up to 6 months probation and or a $1000 fine for a first refusal as early as December 2016 if approved. Making a first refusal a separate offense could provide the same leverage to the state. For more details read my article on harsher penalties for a first refusal.

Tampa DUI Defenses Holes in the Prosecutor's Case and Improper Stop

A Tampa DUI Lawyer can challenge the DUI and possibly help you avoid the mandatory criminal conviction and other mandatory penalties that are associated with drunk driving. At the Wade Law Firm, we will first obtain all of the documents and other evidence that the state attorney's office has against you. We will then examine the prosecutor's evidence for holes: which include looking at and challenging the reliability of the police officer witness(es), checking if the police stopped you for a proper reason.

Breath Tests Challenges

We also closely look at all of the documentation for the breath test machine that the police used in your case. We then use that documentation to challenge the breath test results and keep the state from being able to use that as evidence against you.

Blood and Urine Tests Challenges

We will closely look to see whether or not the police was even entitled in the first place to take either one of those tests and then we will look to see whether or not the tests that were conducted were reliable and can be used as evidence against you.

Medical and Physical Conditions

We also collect all possible documentation, including but not limited to medical records showing that you have a physical injury or a medical condition (such as diabetes) that would prevent you from being able to perform according to the police officer's expectations on the physical roadside exercises.

See the case results section to see how Kerstin Wade has helped previous clients charged with DUI getting their charged dismissed or reduced.

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