DUI and Drugs


Law enforcement officers have a number of standard tests for impairment, done at the time a driver is stopped, known as “field sobriety tests.” These tests include walking a straight line by placing one foot directly in front of the other, holding one’s arms straight out at the sides and touching the nose with closed eyes, counting backwards, and reciting the alphabet. Other evidence of impairment may include a law enforcement officer’s observation of the defendant’s driving, which probably was the reason the driver was stopped in the first place. Conduct such as driving too fast or too slowly, weaving across lanes, and going through stop signs or stoplights may be considered evidence of a driver’s impairment. Drivers often will tell an officer who stops them that they have been drinking, how much they’ve had to drink, and when they had it. Such statements may also be evidence of impairment.

Drunk Driving Penalties

In the last twenty years, the penalties for drunk driving have become far more severe than they were in the past. First-time offenders face potential jail time and fines, although often the penalty for a first-time offense will be something less than jail time in exchange for a guilty plea. Repeat offenders are usually treated more harshly, with substantial fines and mandatory jail sentences that may not be suspended or waived by the court. State administrative regulations often call for suspension or revocation of a defendant’s driver’s license in addition to any criminal penalty. Defendants have sometimes tried to make the argument that this administrative suspension is double jeopardy prohibited by the U.S. Constitution, but these arguments have never succeeded. A Palm Beach drug trafficking attorney understands how to handle these types of cases.

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