Call Today - (941) 363-7900

Call Today - (941) 363-7900

Sarasota DUI Attorney

Call Today - (941) 363-7900

Call for a consultation: (941) 363-7900

Have you been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI)? If so, it is time to call a Sarasota DUI attorney. Trying to handle this situation yourself increases the chance of a prosecutor moving forward with unnecessary charges. You may have to negotiate a plea deal or go to trial when your charges could have been dismissed early on. Representing yourself also increases the risk of your being found guilty. An attorney will understand the best way to raise doubt in regard to the prosecutor’s argument and present evidence that supports your innocence.

If you are found guilty while representing yourself, there is a significant risk that you will be sentenced to the maximum penalties. You could face an unnecessary term of incarceration or harsh probationary requirements. An experienced DUI lawyer in Sarasota understands how to ask for leniency or seek sentencing alternatives.

It can be difficult to admit when you are in trouble and need help. However, acknowledging you need someone else’s help is the best way to handle DUI charges. To learn more about how a Sarasota DUI attorney can help you, contact Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. at (941) 363-7900 to schedule a free case consultation.

Sarasota DUI Law

Florida Statute §316.193 defines a DUI as driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle while:

  • Under the influence of alcohol, a harmful chemical substance, or a controlled substance to the extent that it impairs a person’s normal faculties; or
  • Having a blood alcohol level (BAL) of .08 percent or more.

This law dispels the myth that you can only be arrested and charged with a DUI if you actually driving with a BAL above the legal limit. You may be charged with a crime if you are in control of a vehicle – even a boat – while over the legal limit. Being in control of the vehicle does not require driving. Sitting in the front seat with the keys in the ignition could lead to charges.

Also, you may be charged with a DUI when your BAL is not above the legal limit if there is evidence your ability to safety drive is impaired. You could be charged with a DUI without having a drop to drink, such as if you are impaired by a drug, like marijuana, methamphetamines, or prescription painkillers.

If you have been charged with a DUI, even though you had not been drinking, you still need to take it seriously. The prosecutor may have other evidence against you. Do not assume the case will be dropped or you will quickly prove your innocence. Call a DUI lawyer right away to review your case.

The Legal Limit in Sarasota

When it comes to Florida DUI law, it essential you realize that not all drivers face the same legal limit. This is the amount of alcohol they can have in their blood before they are breaking the law. The legal limit is measured by a person’s blood alcohol level. In other states, you will see this referred to as the blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

Florida’s BAL limits are:

  • For 21 years and over: If you are legally able to drink, the legal limit is .08 percent. However, remember: you can be charged with a DUI without being at or over the legal BAL limit.
  • For CDL drivers: Commercial drivers are held to a higher standard. If you have your commercial driver’s license and are in a commercial vehicle at the time of the stop, your legal limit is .04 percent.
  • For underage drivers: If you are not yet 21 years old at the time of the DUI stop, you should not have any alcohol in your system. It is illegal for you to drink any alcohol. You will face a citation or criminal charges if your BAL is .02 percent or higher.

Elements of a DUI Offense

When you are facing a DUI offense in Florida, it is not your responsibility to prove you did not commit the crime. The burden of proof rests on the prosecutor’s shoulders.

It is the prosecutor’s job to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  • You were driving or in physical control of the vehicle: Many DUIs arise because of literal drunk driving. However, you can be charged and convicted without the vehicle being in motion at the time of the stop. Physical control of a vehicle can be proven in a variety of ways, such as if the vehicle is on and in park or if you are sitting in the front seat with keys.
  • You were under the influence of an intoxicating substance: Many DUIs involve BAL at or above .08 percent. Yet, this is not necessary. The prosecutor can prove intoxication or impairment by evidence of drugs in your system or evidence of your actions at the time of the arrest and immediately afterward. Evidence prosecutors may use to prove intoxication can include the police officer’s testimony, an officer’s chest camera footage, and dash cam footage.

While you do not have to prove your innocence, you do need to mount a defense. By hiring a DUI lawyer, you have someone there to create doubt. If your lawyer can create enough doubts in the jurors’ minds, you should be acquitted.

Sarasota DUI Charges

Our Sarasota DUI attorneys can represent you in a wide range of DUI charges in Florida. Some of the most common cases we handle include:

First DUI

If you have been arrested for your first DUI ever, or a previous DUI conviction was more than five years ago, then you may face first-time DUI charges. It is possible to ask for leniency when you have made a mistake. However, you are going to need the help of a skilled DUI defense lawyer to show the court you are remorseful and will not reoffend.

Second DUI

Florida’s look-back period is five years. If you are arrested for a second DUI within five years of your first conviction, you will face second DUI charges. Because this is not your first DUI offense, you face harsher punishments. You should work with a DUI lawyer to try to have the charges dropped or obtain an acquittal, or if necessary, mitigate the consequences a conviction.

Felony DUI

In certain circumstances, a DUI in Sarasota is charged as a more serious felony instead of a misdemeanor. You may be charged with a felony DUI if this is your third DUI offense within a 10-year period or if you cause someone serious harm in a DUI accident.

Underage DUI

If you are under 21 years old and have a BAL of .02 percent or higher when you are driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle, then you can face a DUI citation. For a citation, you can be punished with a number of civil penalties. However, if you have a BAL of .08 percent or higher, you are likely to face DUI criminal charges, which will create a criminal record and result in harsher penalties.


If you are a commercial driver and were arrested with BAL of .04 percent or higher, you face misdemeanor charges. The penalties for a conviction can be harsh, particularly as you will lose your CDL for at least one year. Drunk driving can put you out of work. To avoid this situation, hire an aggressive Sarasota DUI attorney.

Out-of-State DUI

If you were visiting Florida for work or fun, and you were charged with a DUI, you cannot ignore it. You are going to need a local DUI lawyer to handle your case. At Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A., we can represent you even when you are back home. We will fight for you to avoid a conviction that can follow you home.

DUI on a Boat

Just as it is illegal to drink and drive, it is also illegal to drink and boat. If you are operating a boat, whether by yourself or with friends and family aboard, you face the same legal limit as for driving cars. You cannot have a BAL of .08 percent or higher or be impaired by drugs, alcohol, or both. Also, bear in mind, if you own the boat and another operator is not clear, then you can be held responsible. If your BAL is over the legal limit, you may be charged.

Driving While High

It is illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of drugs, including prescriptions and over-the-counter medications, if they cause you to be impaired. If you are found to have drugs in your system while driving, you may face charges under the same DUI statute.

DUI Manslaughter

Drunk driving significantly increases the risk of DUI car accidents. If you caused a crash while intoxicated and someone was killed in that crash, then you may be charged with DUI manslaughter. This is a felony, and you face between 10 and 15 years in prison.

Do I Need a DUI Attorney?

At Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A., we often hear people ask whether they need a DUI lawyer. Some assume they will be convicted no matter what. Others worry that a lawyer will make the matter more contentious. They think by cooperating with the prosecutor, they will get the best possible outcome. Others are confident that they can navigate the Sarasota DUI court process by themselves. We have concerns about all of these situations, and we recommend hiring an experienced DUI lawyer whenever you face any type of DUI charge.

If you are facing DUI charges, whether for a first or subsequent time, do not assume you will be convicted. The prosecutor’s case against you may be weak. You may have one or more very strong defense options. Without calling a lawyer, though, you would never know that. A prosecutor will certainly not tell you. Instead of assuming how your case will go, hire a lawyer who will carefully review the circumstances and provide you with an objective opinion regarding the best possible outcome.

Unless you are highly experienced within the legal system, you are not going to obtain the best possible outcome in your case without a lawyer. The prosecutor will have the upper hand. They may seem like they are being nice to you. A prosecutor may act like they are doing you are favor by offering you a plea deal. However, there is no way to know if a prosecutor is offering a good deal without obtaining an experienced defense attorney’s opinion. Without that, you are relying on the opinion of a professional whose job it is to convict you.

Even if you have some legal experience or knowledge, or if you have faced DUI charges before, you should not handle your case yourself. You may still be missing information and insights that could be helpful to you. Also, you are simply too close to the situation. Your emotions and expectations are bound to get in the way of obtaining the best possible outcome. By hiring a Sarasota DUI attorney, you gain someone who is highly experienced in fighting DUIs and someone who can be objective when fighting for you in court.

When the Police Can Pull You Over

The police must have a valid reason to stop you when you are driving or in your vehicle. They cannot pull over whoever they want whenever they want. The police may pull you over is if you committed a traffic offense. Once you are stopped, an officer may notice signs of inebriation and arrest you for a DUI. You may be pulled over if an officer has reasonable suspicion you are driving while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or both. If you were swerving, driving erratically, or holding a container of alcohol, then an officer has reasonable suspicion to conduct a traffic stop and ask you to submit to a roadside breath test or field sobriety test, which you are not obligated to take.

An officer also may stop you at a sobriety check point. This is an exception to the rule that officers need a reason to pull you over. The U.S. Supreme Court found in 1990 that DUI checkpoints are a lawful exception because they are in pursuit of public safety. However, check points must be conducted properly in order to be lawful. They should be visible, so that you can see you are approaching a check point. Officers must stop vehicles based on predetermined formula—they cannot use their discretion. For example, they may stop every vehicle, every other, or every third vehicle. Officers can keep you stopped for three minutes, during which time they can check your driver’s license and insurance, ask you a few questions, ensure your vehicle is properly registered, and observe whether there are any signs of intoxication. If an officer notices evidence of impairment, you can be asked to stop for additional questioning.

If you are arrested for a DUI, you should speak with a Sarasota DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible. You and your attorney will go over the traffic stop point-by-point to determine if your rights were violated. If the police did not have a valid reason to stop you, then your lawyer may be able to fight for the charges to be dismissed.

Field Sobriety Tests

Many drivers do not understand the law regarding field sobriety tests. These are physical tests officers use to gain clues that you are impaired. Only three have been approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). How to give and grade these three tests has been standardized by the NHTSA. That being said, these three tests are highly unreliable. They can provide officers with signs you are intoxicated when you are not.

The three standardized field sobriety tests are:

The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) Test

During this test, an officer asks you to look at an object, such as the top of their pen. Then, you will be asked to follow the object with your heads without turning your head. The officer is looking to see if your eye makes involuntary jerking motions more than it would if you were sober. Eyes make involuntary movements all of the time. However, when you are impaired due to alcohol, the jerking motion is exaggerated when looking at an angle.

The Walk-and-Turn Test

An officer will ask you to walk in a straight line, touching your heels to your toes, for nine steps. You will be asked to turn on one foot and return in the opposite direction. The officer is looking to see if you can follow directions, walk in a straight line, keep your balance, and count properly.

The One-Leg Stand Test

An officer will tell you to stand on one foot with the other held about six inches off the ground. You will be told to count out loud beginning with one thousand. The officer is looking to see if you can keep your balance, waive your arms, or put your foot down.

These tests are not reliable. You can fail these tests or show signs of inebriation when you have not had anything to drink. That is because so many factors can impair your ability to perform these tests perfect, including the road or ground conditions, the weather, your footwear, your age and physical capabilities, and any medical conditions you may have.

You are never required to perform any field sobriety tests. These are not the same thing as chemical tests to determine your BAL. An officer can ask you to perform of these field sobriety tests or another, and you can refuse without any fear of criminal or administrative punishment.

Keep in mind, refusing to submit to any field sobriety tests may not help you avoid arrest. However, by not taking any field sobriety tests, you limit the amount of evidence an officer obtains against you.

Chemical Tests and Florida’s Implied Consent Law

Under Florida Statute §316.1932, anyone who operates a vehicle in the state is deemed to have given consent to submit to a chemical test related to a lawful arrest by an officer for a DUI offense. What does this mean? It means that if an officer arrests you for a DUI, they are going to ask you to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test at the police station—or at a hospital if you required medical attention.

To be clear, this law refers to tests related to an actual arrest for a DUI. When an officer asks you to blow into a roadside breath test device, before you are arrested, you can refuse without fear of legal consequences. You have not impliedly consented to a roadside breath test that is requested prior to a lawful arrest.

Under Florida law, you are supposed to say yes to chemical tests after you have been lawfully arrested. You have already consented to going through with these tests by getting a driver’s license and driving your car. However, you can say no. If you do, though, there will be consequences.

If you are lawfully arrested for drunk driving, and you refuse one or more chemical tests, your license will be subject to an automatic administrative suspension. This is a civil consequence of your refusal. It is not a criminal penalty.

When you refuse to take a breath, urine, or blood test, call a Sarasota DUI attorney immediately. You only have 10 days to request a hearing to fight the administrative suspension.

When the Police Can Search Your Vehicle

In some situations, your vehicle can be searched in relation to a DUI arrest. However, not always and not automatically. Based on the U.S. Constitution, you have a right to a reasonable amount of privacy in your vehicle—though not as much privacy as you are entitled to in your home. But because of your right to privacy in your car, the police cannot search it whenever they want.

To search your vehicle, the police can obtain a warrant. This warrant is based on probable cause that there is evidence in your vehicle. However, if, during the traffic stop, the police have probable cause that there is evidence related to drunk driving in your vehicle, they may be able to search it without a warrant. In this situation, the police can look through the inside of your vehicle for alcohol or drugs.

The police can also search your vehicle if they believe it is necessary for their safety and protection. This may happen if the police have reason to believe there is a weapon in your vehicle.

Also, the police can search your car if you give them consent. During a traffic stop, an officer may ask you if they can look in the vehicle. They may ask you to pop the trunk of your car. If they are asking, it is because the officers do not have probable cause to search your vehicle without your permission. You have the right to say no. You should politely decline and state that you do not consent to a search of your vehicle.

If you are arrested for a DUI, your vehicle will be confiscated and impounded. In this process, the police may take an inventory of what is in your vehicle. This inventory is a lawful search of your car.

To learn more about the law regarding searches and seizures, call a DUI lawyer at Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. right away.

The DUI Court Process

If you are arrested for a DUI, you will be taken to a local police station. Here, the officers will ask you questions, take and inventory your personal affects, ask you to submit to one or more chemical tests, take your picture, and book you into jail. You may be held in jail until you are sober and can be safely released. In this situation, you will receive a date and time to return to court for your arraignment. Or, you may be taken directly from jail to your initial appearance. You may be required to pay bail before you can be released.

Whether you have to pay bail, or you are released to a family member or friend, officers will keep you at least 8 hours to ensure your blood alcohol concentration has decreased enough.

The first significant step in the court process is your arraignment. This is the court hearing in which you are told the exact charges against you. You will be reminded of your right to an attorney. Finally, you must enter your initial plea. You must state that you are guilty or not guilty.

If you contact a DUI lawyer immediately after your arrest, your lawyer may enter a Notice of Appearance for you. This tells the court you are represented by an attorney and your initial plea.

If you do not have a lawyer by the date of your arraignment, you must attend by yourself and enter your plea personally. You should then hire a lawyer as soon as possible to guide you through the rest of the DUI court process.

After entering a not guilty plea, there may be a number of court hearings your lawyer will attend. If you are facing a felony charge, there may be a preliminary hearing. This is a sort of mini-trial, in which a judge decides whether there is enough evidence to move forward with charges against you.

Whether or not you go through a preliminary trial, your attorney will participate in discovery, case management (pre-trial conferences), and pre-trial motions, such as a motion to dismiss or motions regarding the admissibility of evidence.

After the discovery period of pre-trial motions, your attorney may negotiate a plea with the prosecutor. Plea bargains are how many cases are resolved, though you are never required to accept a plea. You always have the right to go to trial. Your DUI lawyer will work with you determine if a plea is fair and the best possible outcome in your case or not.

If you accept a plea, you plead guilty in exchange for a pre-determined sentence. If you do not accept a plea, or a prosecutor refuses to negotiate one, then your case will go to trial.

The Sarasota DUI Court

Sarasota is one of only a few counties in Florida that have a specific DUI court.

Not all DUI charges go to through this court program. This court process is meant for individuals who are dependent on drugs and/or alcohol, are currently charged with a DUI, and have one or more previous arrests for drug- or alcohol-related offenses.

This court system adds in various steps that are intended to give you the help you need and reduce your risk of reoffending. You may have to go through mandatory counseling, drug and alcohol testing, community supervision, and case management.

If you are accepted into the Sarasota DUI Court, you plead guilty to your pending DUI charge. Then, you are placed on supervised probation for at least one year. You may be under supervised probation for longer, though. During all of that time, you must comply with the court’s mandatory requirements. If you violate any term of the program, you may be convicted and sentenced to jail.

Overall, the Sarasota DUI Court has four phases. Phase I includes orientation. You will submit to mandatory jail time and clinical assessments. You will begin counseling and treatment. Within a month or two, you will typically move on to Phase II during which you continue to follow the mandatory requirements and focus on your recovery. You must enroll in DUI School and a Victim Impact Panel.

After meeting a number of requirements, including being sober for at least 30 days, you can move on to Phase III. You will continue to go through treatment and maintain school, work, or vocational training. You will also have to continue completing your community service hours.

After a few months, and after being sober for at least 90 days, you may move onto Phase IV. During this time, you continue with your treatment and counseling, continue with your case management and probation check ins, complete your community service, and work on your schooling or employment. You will also develop a relapse prevention plan before you can graduate from the program.

Penalties for a DUI

The penalties you face for drunk or drugged driving depends on whether you have one or more subsequent DUI convictions, when previous DUIs occurred, and whether your BAL was above .15 percent, which is considered excessive.

First DUI Impaired or BAL Over .08 Percent

  • Up to six months in jail
  • Up to one year of probation
  • Fines reaching $1,000
  • 50 hours of community service (or additional fines)
  • 10-day vehicle impoundment
  • Up to a one-year driver’s license suspension
  • DUI School

First DUI BAL Over .15 Percent

  • Up to nine months in jail
  • Fines reaching $2,000
  • Up to one year of probation
  • 50 hours community service (or additional fines)
  • 10-day vehicle impoundment
  • A one-year driver’s license suspension
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle
  • DUI School

Second DUI in Less than Five Years, Impaired or BAL Over .08 Percent

  • Mandatory 10-day incarceration
  • 48 hours of consecutive confinement
  • Up to nine months in jail
  • Up to one-year probation
  • Fines reaching $2,000
  • Up to 30 days vehicle impoundment
  • Up to one-year driver’s license suspension
  • Installation of ignition interlock device for one year
  • DUI School

Second DUI in Less than Five Years, BAL Over .15 Percent

  • Mandatory 10-day incarceration
  • 48 hours of consecutive confinement
  • Up to one year in jail
  • A fine between $2,000 and $4,000
  • Up to 30 days vehicle Impoundment
  • Up to one-year driver’s license suspension
  • Installation of ignition interlock device for two years
  • DUI School

Third DUI Within 10 Years, Impaired or BAL Over .08 Percent

  • 30 days are mandatory
  • Up to five years in prison
  • Fines reaching $5,000
  • 90-day vehicle impoundment
  • 10-year license suspension
  • A two-year installation of an ignition interlock device
  • DUI School

Third DUI More than 10 Years Later

  • Up to one year in jail
  • Up to one year or probation
  • A fine of up to $5,000
  • One-year driver’s license suspension
  • 10-day vehicle impoundment
  • Two years of an ignition interlock device
  • DUI School

Underage DUI

  • Six months in jail
  • Up to one year of probation
  • Fines reaching $1,000
  • 50 hours of community service (or additional fines)
  • Vehicle impoundment
  • One-year driver’s license suspension
  • DUI school

When Is a DUI a Felony in Sarasota?

Prosecutors can charge you with a third-degree felony for a DUI-related offense under if you have two DUI convictions, with one occurring in the past 10 years; you have three or more prior DUI convictions; or you caused serious bodily injury while driving under the influence.

Penalties for a third-degree DUI crime include:

  • Fines reaching $5,000
  • Up to five years in prison (with 30 days being mandatory)
  • Six months to two years of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle (at your expense)
  • A license suspension of three years (for bodily injury DUI)
  • A permanent driver’s license revocation (for a fourth conviction)
  • 90-day vehicle impoundment
  • Up to five years of probation
  • DUI school

You can be charged with a second-degree felony if you cause the death of a person or an unborn child. This is also referred to DUI manslaughter. For this offense you face the following:

  • A prison sentence of up to 15 years (four of which are mandatory)
  • $10,000 in fines
  • Permanent driver’s license revocation
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device for up to two years
  • Up to 15 years of probation

You can be charged with a first-degree felony if you leave the scene of an accident. If convicted, you face anywhere up to 30 years in prison.

Depending on your case, your lawyer may be able to fight for alternative DUI sentencing. You can focus on performing community service, adhering to electric monitoring, and alcohol or drug treatment programs instead of jail time.

An Automatic Driver’s License Suspension

After a Sarasota DUI arrest, one of the reasons you need to contact a lawyer right away is to protect your driver’s license as much as possible. Because of the arrest, are looking at losing your license on both the administrative (civil) front and on the criminal front.

Under Florida law, your license can be automatically suspended if you:

  • Test over the legal limit, or
  • Refuse to submit to a chemical test.

This suspension is not related to whether you are convicted of the DUI offense or not. It is distinct from the charges, and it must be fought separately.

If you take a chemical test, such as a breath, blood, or urine test, and your BAL is over the legal limit, then you will lose your license for 6 months. This suspension goes into effect 10 days after your arrest. It is within that 10 days you must request a formal review hearing with the DMV. This is a very short period of time, which is why it is essential to call a Sarasota DUI attorney right away.

If you refused to take a chemical test, you are violating Florida’s implied consent law. You will lose your license for one year. If this is the second time you have refused a chemical test, then your license is suspended for 18 months.

To fight an administrative license suspension, call Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. right away. We will try to save your license. If the civil suspension goes into effect, we can work with you obtain a hardship license as soon as possible.

Collateral Consequences of a DUI Conviction

The effects of a Sarasota DUI conviction can be harsh, particularly when you consider both statutory punishments and collateral consequences. With a permanent conviction on your record and without your driver’s license for a period of time, you can expect to deal with a number of secondary consequences, including:

  • Difficulty continuing your education
  • Loss of, ineligibility for, or difficulty obtaining a professional license
  • Difficulty finding and maintaining a job
  • Higher auto insurance premiums and other insurance issues
  • Immigration issues, such as denial of visa renewal, difficulty obtaining citizenship, or deportation
  • Child custody issues, including reduction in parenting time
  • Difficulty traveling abroad

FR-44 Insurance After a DUI

A serious secondary consequence of a DUI is facing much higher insurance premiums. Your insurance costs can double or triple once you get your driver’s license back.

Under Florida law, you may be required to meet greater financial responsibility after a DUI. This means you have to have additional auto insurance and proof of your coverage, known as Florida Form FR-44. Before 2008, this was known as SR-22. You are required to carry auto insurance with limits of at least $100,000 per person or $300,000 per accident for bodily injuries and $50,000 per accident for property damage.

After a DUI, in order to have your driver’s license reinstated, you must complete your civil and criminal suspension periods. You may have to complete the entire period, or you may be entitled to obtain a hardship license after a period of time. Another requirement to get your license back is to get and obtain insurance and an FR-44 form for three years. You get this form from your auto insurance company, and it proves you have the necessary amount of coverage.

Also, the FR-44 form requires your insurance company to notify the Florida DMV is your policy lapses, is canceled, or is terminated for any reason.

Alternative DUI Sentencing

If you are charged with a DUI, do not freak out and assume you are going to jail. There are many ways to avoid jail time if you are convicted of a misdemeanor DUI offense. Penalties that can be used in place of jail time include:

  • Fines
  • Probation
  • Community Service
  • DUI and Safe Driving Classes
  • License Suspension or Revocation
  • Electronic GPS Monitoring
  • Substance Abuse Treatment

If you are eligible for the Sarasota DUI Court, this is also a program that can minimize the amount of time spent in jail. To learn more about avoiding incarceration for a DUI, call Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. to talk with a Sarasota DUI attorney.

How to Defend Against DUI Charges

If you have been charged with a DUI, do not panic. While this is a serious situation, there are many ways to defend yourself. An experienced and aggressive lawyer will look over every facet of your case to determine the best course of action. Your attorney may focus on having the charges dropped or reduced by the prosecution or dismissed by the judge.

If the charges move forward, then your lawyer will build you a strong defense, which may include challenging:

  • Whether you were in control of the vehicle
  • The constitutionality of a traffic stop
  • The constitutionally of a search and seizure
  • The accuracy of roadside field sobriety tests
  • The validity of a breath, blood, or urine test
  • The accuracy of a breath, blood, or urine test
  • Insufficient evidence to prove you committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt

If you are an out-of-state driver charged with a DUI, it is essential that you hire a local attorney to handle your case. You cannot ignore the charges. Your own state will enforce Florida’s charges and rights, forcing you to deal with the situation. You or a legal representative must appear in court, possibly on more than one occasion. A local Sarasota DUI lawyer will understand the county court’s rules, have a relationship with the judge, and will fight for you to receive the best possible outcome.

3 Reasons for a DUI Sarasota Lawyer

As a person before the criminal judicial system, there is no law preventing you from mounting your own legal representation. However, this is not the best decision to take when facing a DUI related charge. Here are some good reasons that validate that you should always hire a lawyer:

  1. The legal system is complex – Have you ever been inside a court and notice the language and all the individuals involved? The judicial system is not designed for the average person to understand the ins and out of the courtroom. There are a number of procedures between the time of your arrest to the time of trial and ignorance of those proceedings can significantly affect your DUI case. It is important to have a legally trained professional who has intimate knowledge of the working of the Florida criminal judicial system.

  2. DUI conviction carries varying penalties and consequences – Many times individuals will avoid hiring an attorney because they plan on pleading guilty. However, DUI convictions, even if they result in just a fine will involve a number of other consequences. There are many factors that go into determining the sentence of an individual who pleads guilty and a judge will have available to him or her a number of penalties that can be imposed. Not being totally aware of all that is possible can be to your detriment. Even if you plan on pleading guilty, you should first speak with a lawyer. Additionally, having a DUI attorney during sentencing can be very critical to minimizing your penalties.

  3. In-depth knowledge of the law and defense – The police, prosecutor, and judge are all trained in the law. You are not! When the judge, police, and prosecutor starts talking law and being technical, it is good to know you have someone by your side who understands it all and can speak on your behalf. It is important to have a lawyer who has intimate knowledge of the law and will be able to advise you of the defenses available to you in your DUI matter. The key to beating your DUI charges is to put forward a strong defense.

The main reason for not hiring a lawyer is generally associated with cost. However, your freedom and driving privileges should be priceless. There is a reason why from the point of being arrested you are informed of your rights to have a lawyer; the system is not designed for individuals to represent themselves in criminal matters.

What You Should Consider When Selecting a DUI Lawyer

There is no doubt that there are many attorneys to choose from when selecting a Sarasota DUI lawyer. Nevertheless, hiring a legal professional to handle your DUI case is a very serious one. Here are some factors you should consider in the process:

  • Specific DUI Experience – It goes without saying that if you are facing a criminal charge, you should seek out a criminal defense lawyer. By extension, if you are facing DUI charges, it would be prudent to find a lawyer that has specific experience handling DUI-related matters. It is important to consider a lawyer that has extensive DUI experience.
  • Strong Legal Team – In court, you will have one legal representative. However, there is a support team that comprises of investigators, researchers, and paralegal professionals who are important to the preparation of your DUI case. Accordingly, when considering to hire a DUI lawyer, it is good to look at the human resources available to that attorney.
  • A Strong Courtroom Advocacy – Not all DUI matters will go to trial, but if it does, having a lawyer with strong courtroom advocacy will be a good consideration. Quite naturally, a defendant is interested in a lawyer who can speak well with an elegance that will convince a jury or a judge. While such qualities are good, this along with actual courtroom experience are all part of the strong advocacy skills that you should look for when selecting a DUI lawyer.

The financial cost of hiring a lawyer is always at the forefront of a defendant’s mind. Indeed, you should also consider an attorney that offers affordable rates and options for payment. But in addition to that, the above factors are useful in making the right decision.

A Sarasota DUI Attorney Is Here to Help

Selecting a DUI lawyer to represent you in court can be challenging. It is hard to know where to turn. Consider attorney Erika Valcarcel. She has the specific experience you want in a DUI defense attorney. She has been handling these DUI accident cases for years. She also has taken many of these cases to trial and is prepared to aggressively defend you in court.

Contact Sarasota DUI lawyer Erika Valcarcel with Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. at (941) 363-7900 to schedule a free, initial consultation to discuss your case.