What To Know If You’ve Been Arrested On A Marijuana DUI in Florida

What To Know If You’ve Been Arrested On A Marijuana DUI in Florida

Though the use of medical marijuana has been legal in the state of Florida since 2017, and voters approved an amendment to the state constitution allowing lawmakers to make recreational use of marijuana legal, that law has not yet been passed. Law enforcement officers have begun to receive training in detecting driver impairment from the use of marijuana. But a relatively small percentage of officers on the street have qualified as Drug Recognition Experts (DRE), and even those officers who are DREs are making arrests based on subjective evaluations of a driver’s impairment.

Since people’s bodies react to, and process, THC in different ways, and because there is no reliable technology to measure THC in a person’s body in a field situation like a roadside evaluation. Plus, no objective legal limit has yet been set for detectable THC, and most marijuana-related DUI arrests are based on the opinion of the arresting officer.

What Does This Mean For You?

If you’re stopped by law enforcement and suspected of DUI, you should be respectful and provide identification and insurance information as requested. The officers may attempt to field sobriety exercises, many of which were developed to detect alcohol impairment. Cooperation with these exercises poses little risk to your future defense, if needed, and may earn you some goodwill with the officers requesting them.

If you are arrested, you can help yourself by knowing your rights, and law enforcement’s limits: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2016 that LEOs can compel suspected DUI drivers to submit to breath tests without first obtaining a warrant, but they must have a warrant before collecting blood samples without consent. If they cannot show you a warrant, politely decline requests for your blood until you’ve spoken with an experienced DUI attorney.

Orlando DUI Attorneys Help You Protect Your Rights

If you’re facing the consequences of a DUI arrest related to marijuana, alcohol, or medication, the experienced Orlando DUI attorneys at the traffic law firm of Skubiak & Rivas, P.A. can help. Your defense begins the moment you’re arrested, and getting a lawyer involved from the beginning gives you the best chance of preserving your rights and mounting an effective defense. Contact us immediately for a confidential consultation.

What To Expect With A First-Time DUI In Florida

What To Expect With A First-Time DUI In Florida

If you’ve been arrested on a first-time DUI offense, you’re facing a frightening time with a lot at stake. Taking the right steps from the moment you’re arrested can help you protect your rights and build toward an effective defense against the charges you’re facing. Be polite to any law enforcement officers you have to deal with, and cooperate with basic requests like your identification and insurance information. While they are allowed to conduct field sobriety exercises and breathalyzer testing without a warrant, they are not allowed to collect blood samples without your permission unless they have a warrant. Courteously refuse to give permission if you’re asked for a blood sample, and ask to speak to an experienced DUI defense attorney. Say as little as possible until you’ve consulted an attorney.

Potential Consequences Of A First-Time DUI Conviction

 The maximum penalties for a first-time DUI conviction in Florida are steep. They include fines of up to $2,000, if there was a minor in the vehicle or your blood alcohol content exceeded 0.15; up to 50 hours of community service or additional fines of $10 per hour, in lieu of community service; up to a year of probation; vehicle impound of ten days, at your expense; and loss of your driver’s license for up to a year. If the DUI incidents involved an accident with serious injuries or death, even a first-time offense can become a felony charge.

The Right Attorney Can Help Keep A DUI Arrest from Becoming A DUI Conviction

By working with an experienced DUI defense attorney beginning as soon as possible, you have the best chance of protecting your rights, having your charges dismissed or reduced, and successfully pleading for minimized sentencing, in case you are convicted. The attorneys at the Orlando traffic law firm of Skubiak & Rivas, P.A. are well-versed in the rights protections DUI defendants have under Florida law, and will work to prevent your DUI arrest from becoming a DUI conviction. Contact us immediately for a confidential consultation, and we’ll let you know what we can do to provide you an effective defense.

3 Things You Should Do After A Florida License Suspension

A driver’s license suspension can occur for numerous reasons, including a DUI conviction, accruing too many points on your record, or even failing to pay child support.

Fortunately, you have options.

A seasoned Orlando traffic defense lawyer can help you to get your license reinstated so you can again enjoy your driving privilege. Following are the three actions you should take in the event your driver’s license is suspended.

#1 – Appeal The Suspension

If the suspension stemmed from your refusal to submit to field sobriety tests under suspicion of DWI, you have the right to challenge it.

When such circumstances lead to a license suspension, you’re issued a 10-day permit. This permit allows you to retain your driving privilege for a short period. Once this period expires, the suspension goes into effect.

You have 10 days to challenge the suspension and request an appeal.

#2 – Start The License Reinstatement Process

If you failed to submit an appeal before your permit expired or your appeal is unsuccessful, you will lose your driving privilege. At that point, your focus should be on getting your driver’s license reinstated.

In most cases, the suspension period must pass before reinstatement becomes possible. That said, an experienced attorney may be able to get your license reinstated earlier. Much depends on the circumstances.

Reinstatement usually involves paying all associated fines and attending all associated court dates. It may also include going to traffic school, attending an alcohol treatment program (if you were convicted of a DUI), or serving time in jail following conviction for a serious crime.

#3 – Apply For A Hardship Driver’s License

If you rely on your driving privilege for important tasks, you may be eligible for a hardship driver’s license. Plan to apply for one.

Eligibility depends largely on the reason your license was suspended. If the suspension stemmed from accruing too many points on your record, you may be eligible. If it stemmed from a DWI conviction, you won’t be eligible.

The Florida traffic ticket attorneys at Skubiak & Rivas can help you get your driver’s license reinstated. We’ve successfully defended our clients’ rights in all types of traffic-related cases since 1993. If your license was recently suspended, call us at 407-894-4449 or complete this form to schedule a free, no-risk consultation with one of our seasoned lawyers.

Florida DWI: What Happens If You Refuse A Breathalyzer Test?

Florida DWI: What Happens If You Refuse A Breathalyzer Test?

A breath test is one of the most common ways that police officers determine your blood alcohol content (BAC). An officer who suspects you of intoxication might ask you to breathe into a breathalyzer, an instrument that measures BAC via the presence of ethanol in your breath. If the device measures your BAC above 0.08, you’ll likely be arrested on suspicion of DWI in Florida.

You can refuse to take this test. In fact, refusal may be your best option depending on the circumstances. Just be aware that refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test carries consequences.

Implied Consent

When you apply for a driver’s license in Florida, you implicitly grant consent to field sobriety tests. If a police officer suspects that you’re driving while intoxicated, he or she can ask you to submit to such tests.

You cannot be forced to take a breathalyzer test (unless the police officer has a warrant). In fact, if you’re reasonably certain that your BAC is above 0.08, refusing to submit to a breath test may be a good idea.

Consequences For Refusing To Comply

If you refuse to take a breath test, the police officer can confiscate your driver’s license. Moreover, your license may be suspended for up to 12 months if this is your first time refusing to submit to sobriety testing.

If you refused to submit to a breath test in the past, your license can be suspended for up to 18 months. Additionally, you can be charged with a crime for the refusal.

It’s also worth noting that you can be taken into custody, and prosecutors may use your refusal to argue knowledge of guilt.

How To Fight DWI Charges In Florida

Suppose you refused to submit to a breathalyzer test and were subsequently charged with a DWI. Should you fight the charges?

Always.

An experienced Florida DUI lawyer can design creative defenses aimed at getting the charges dismissed. These defenses may include questioning whether the officer followed proper procedure and whether he or she had probable cause to suspect you were driving while intoxicated in the first place.

Skubiak & Rivas’s Florida traffic ticket attorneys have more than 60 years of combined experience successfully defending clients. Let us help you to avoid a DWI conviction, keep your record clean, and retain your driving privilege. If you were recently charged with a DWI, call 407-894-4449 or fill out this short form for a free, private consultation.

What Are The Consequences Of A Florida Speeding Ticket?

It’s estimated that more than 100,000 speeding tickets are given each day. They’re so common that people have grown accustomed to paying them rather than fighting them.

But doing so may be unwise.

Although receiving a speeding ticket in Florida may seem inconsequential in the present, it can carry consequences that plague you for years. It can even put your driving privilege at risk. Following are the reasons to contact an Orlando traffic ticket attorney if you’ve been cited for speeding in Florida.

Points On Your Driving Record

Speeding tickets impose points on your driving record. The number of points you receive depends on the extent to which you exceed the posted speed limit.

In Florida, if you’re caught driving up to 15 miles per hour above the posted limit, you’ll receive three points. If you’re caught driving over 15 mph above the posted limited, you’ll receive four points. If your speeding causes an accident, you’ll receive six points.

Your driving record influences your life in ways you may not realize. It can affect your car insurance rates, employment opportunities, and even your ability to drive. The more points you accumulate, the worse the effects.

Fines

Speeding tickets, like most traffic violations in Florida, are expensive. Following is a breakdown of the fines imposed according to how fast you’re caught driving above the posted limit (figures vary by county):

  • six to nine mph: up to $151
  • 10 to 14 mph: up to $226
  • 15 to 19 mph: up to $276
  • 20 to 29 mph: up to $301
  • 30+ mph: up to $376

Attending traffic school will prevent points from appearing on your record. The problem is, it’s not always an option. Moreover, you may still have to pay the fine for the ticket and pay for the traffic school course itself.

Given the above, what is your best option if you receive a speeding ticket in Florida? Call an experienced traffic ticket defense lawyer. He or she will fight to keep your driving record clean and reduce the penalties.

Skubiak & Rivas have helped thousands of drivers like yourself avoid points and fines related to speeding tickets. Our Florida traffic ticket attorneys have more than 60 years of combined experience defending clients and winning cases. If you recently received a speeding ticket, call 407-894-4449 or fill out this short form to schedule a free consultation.

How To Fight (And Beat!) A Speeding Ticket In Florida

Speeding tickets generate billions of dollars in revenue each year. For that reason alone, police departments and courts hope that drivers will simply pay the tickets rather than contest them.

And to their delight, that’s precisely what most people do.

But you can choose not to play that game. Instead, you can fight your speeding ticket in Florida. With a seasoned Orange County traffic attorney at your side, it’s possible to get your case dismissed, keeping your driving record clean in the process. Here’s how…

Hire A Florida Traffic Ticket Lawyer

This is the most important step. Although you can represent yourself when fighting traffic tickets, doing so puts you at a disadvantage.

An experienced attorney will know how to identify flaws in the police officer’s process – flaws that can result in the judge dismissing the ticket. In the event the officer’s process is perfect, your attorney can negotiate the form and extent of disciplinary action.

Inform The Court

You must enter a “not guilty” plea to contest your speeding ticket. This takes place at the courthouse.

Note that this isn’t the actual trial. It’s just a preliminary hearing. After you plead not guilty, you’ll be given a trial date.

This date may be months in the future. Don’t despair as this can work in your favor. For example, the officer may be less likely to show up in court, prompting the judge to dismiss your case. The long wait may even violate the Speedy Trial Clause, which can lead to the same outcome.

Prepare For Your Trial

Find out how the police officer determined your speed. Did he or she use a radar? Was pacing used? Or did the officer rely on VASCAR? None of these measures are flawless.

Next, inspect the documentation related to your speeding ticket. Review the evidence. Check the date and time noted on the ticket. Look for a citation number. If a radar device was used, look for a notation regarding when the unit was last checked and calibrated. If there’s anything wrong with the documentation, it may provide an opportunity to get your ticket dismissed.

Your attorney will do the heavy lifting. His or her experience in fighting speeding tickets and getting them thrown out or having the penalties reduced will prove invaluable.

The Orlando traffic defense lawyers at Skubiak & Rivas have successfully defended clients in all types of traffic-related cases since 1993. We’re ready to aggressively defend your case, as well. If you recently received a speeding ticket in Florida, don’t pay it without first speaking to one of our attorneys. Call 407-894-4449 today or complete this form to schedule a free consultation.

4 Most Common Reasons For A License Suspension In Florida

Florida imposes serious penalties for knowingly driving with a suspended license. The first time you’re convicted of this offense, you could end up spending 60 days in the county jail and paying $500 in fines. If you’re convicted a second time, you could spend a year in jail and pay $1,000 in fines.

Thus far, the offense is considered a misdemeanor. But a third conviction is a felony. It can result in a 5-year prison sentence along with $5,000 in fines.

Following are the top four reasons your driver’s license can be suspended. If you were caught driving with a suspended license , the first thing you should do is contact an experienced Florida traffic ticket attorney.

#1 – Conviction For A Grave Offense

If you’re convicted of another traffic-related offense, you can lose your driving privilege as a result. Such offenses include driving while intoxicated (DWI), vehicular manslaughter, and leaving the scene of a car accident in which you’re involved.

#2 – Driving Without Insurance

Auto insurance coverage is mandatory in Florida. If you’re caught driving without it, or are unable to provide proof of coverage when an officer pulls you over, a judge may suspend your license.

#3 – Too Many Points On Your Driving Record

Points are added to your record each time you’re convicted of a traffic-related infraction. If you receive too many points within a short time frame – e.g. 24 points within 36 months – your driving privilege could be put in jeopardy.

#4 – Status As A Habitual Traffic Offender

If you’re convicted of numerous moving violations over a relatively short period, the state of Florida may consider you to be a habitual traffic offender (HTO). And that can result in a driver’s license suspension.

These aren’t the only reasons your license can be suspended or revoked in Florida. Suspensions can also be ordered by the court for failing to pay child support, failing to pay court fines, and even convictions for petty theft.

The Orlando traffic ticket lawyers at Skubiak & Rivas have successfully defended clients against traffic-related charges for decades. If you’ve been charged with driving with a suspended license, we’re ready to aggressively defend your case. Call us at 407-894-4449 or fill out this form to schedule a no-risk consultation.

Top 4 DWI Defenses In Florida (And Why You Need A Lawyer!)

Florida courts use a heavy hand in their treatment of offenders who drive while intoxicated (DWI). If you’re convicted of a DWI, you might be forced to pay significant fines and spend up to six months in jail.

And that’s for a first-time conviction. The penalties are much harsher for second and third offenses.

For this reason, it’s highly advisable that you talk to a Florida traffic attorney if you’ve been charged with a DWI. Your attorney can create a defense aimed at getting the charge dismissed or reducing the penalties. Following are potential options to that end.

#1 – Challenge The Traffic Stop

The officer who stops you must have a good reason for doing so. If he or she didn’t have such a reason, the stop may have been illegal and can be challenged on those grounds.

#2 – Challenge The Search

Often, an arrest for driving while intoxicated follows the officer’s discovery of an open container or other evidence of alcohol in the vehicle. But such evidence can be thrown out by the court if you show that the officer’s search was conducted without your permission or probable cause.

#3 – Challenge The Breathalyzer Test Results

The use of equipment to gauge drivers’ blood alcohol levels must adhere to rigid standards. The equipment must be properly calibrated; the officer is prohibited from requiring you to “continue blowing” during the test; and the officer is supposed to observe you for 20 minutes prior to conducting the test.

Your attorney may be able to challenge your test results on any of these grounds.

#4 – Challenge The Field Sobriety Tests

A DWI charge may stem from the results of a field sobriety test if the officer believes your performance suggests intoxication. But the results of such tests can be challenged on numerous grounds.

For example, your attorney may be able to show that the arresting officer lacked sufficient knowledge regarding your true coordination and balance. Or perhaps you were suffering from an injury (e.g. ligament tears in the knees) at the time of the test that affected your performance.

You should consult an experienced traffic attorney whenever you’ve been charged with a traffic-related offense. This is doubly important if you’ve been arrested for driving while intoxicated. A DWI conviction can jeopardize your driving privileges, as well as your freedom.

The Orlando traffic lawyers at Skubiak & Rivas have helped thousands of drivers avoid severe penalties related to DWI charges. We’re ready to help you, too. If you were arrested for DWI, call us at 407-894-4449 or complete this form for a private, no-risk consultation.

3 Reasons To Contact A Florida Speeding Ticket Attorney

A speeding ticket can impact you in several ways. You may be forced to pay a hefty fine; the infraction can add points to your driving record; and it can cause your insurance rates to rise. Depending on the number of points you have on your driving record, it can even jeopardize your driving privileges.

That’s why it’s smart to contact a Florida traffic lawyer if you’re cited for speeding. An experienced lawyer can help prevent the above from happening by working diligently to win your case.

Get Your Speeding Ticket Dismissed

An attorney will know his or her way around the laws concerning speeding tickets. He or she will be familiar with technicalities that can prove instrumental in getting your case dismissed. This includes identifying errors made on the ticket and asking the court to dismiss the case if the charging officer fails to appear.

Protect Your Driving Record

The more points on your record, the greater the risk you’ll lose your driving privileges.

In Florida, if you’re caught driving 15 miles per hour over the posted limit, three points may be added to your record. Driving more than 15 MPH over the limit can result in four points being added. If your speeding causes an accident, your record may be burdened with six points.

An experienced Orlando traffic ticket attorney will defend your case, helping to keep your driving record clean and protecting your driver’s license from suspension.

Prevent Your Insurance Rates From Rising

Auto insurers set their rates based on the risk that their customers will cause incidents that cost the insurers money. This risk assessment takes points into account. As a general rule, the more points you have on your driving record, the more you’ll pay for insurance coverage.

By contesting this traffic infraction, your attorney may be able to prevent your insurance rates from rising.

The Florida traffic violation attorneys at Skubiak & Rivas have helped thousands of clients fight all types of traffic-related charges, including speeding tickets. We’re ready to aggressively defend your case in court, as well. Contact us by calling 407-894-4449 or complete this form to schedule a free consultation.

Your 3 Options When You Get A Speeding Ticket In Florida

Speeding tickets are an annoying inconvenience. But they pose more than just a disruption to your day. They carry heavy fines, can add points to your driving record, and can force you to pay more for car insurance.

Worse, if you’re caught doing it often enough, the state of Florida may label you a habitual traffic offender. At that point, your license can be suspended or revoked.

So what should you do if you’re pulled over by a police officer and charged with breaking the posted speed limit? Following are your 3 options.

Option #1: Attend Traffic School

You can elect to attend a certified Basic Driver Improvement (BDI) course. Such courses, along with the schools that offer them, are regulated by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV).

A certified course is four hours in length and imposes a fee. The upside is that no points are added to your driving record stemming from your speeding conviction.

Note that you must complete the course within 60 days of receiving your ticket (select Florida counties allow 90 days). Also note that you can only take advantage of this option once in a 12-month period and five times during your life.

Option #2: Pay The Associated Fine

Most people choose this option. It’s simple and allows them to get on with their lives without further inconvenience.

But there are downsides. First, fines for speeding are steep in Florida. You may end up paying nearly $400 depending on how fast you were caught driving.

A second downside is that points will be added to your driving record. These can stick around for years. The more you accumulate, the greater their impact; they can cause your insurance rates to surge upward and even imperil your driving privileges.

Option #3: Fight The Ticket

Fighting a speeding ticket may seem daunting. But it doesn’t have to be. The most important thing you can do is hire an experienced Florida traffic ticket lawyer to defend your case.

A seasoned attorney may be able to reduce the charges, lessen the number of points added to your record, or get your case dismissed. The result is a cleaner driving record. And that yields benefits that pay dividends year after year.

Skubiak & Rivas have more than 60 years of combined experience in defending clients against all types of traffic violation charges, including speeding tickets. If you were cited for speeding, contact our Florida traffic ticket attorneys today. Call 407-894-4449 or complete this short form for a free, private consultation.