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Antonio G. Jimenez
753 followers -
Divorce and Family Attorney in Miami, Florida
Divorce and Family Attorney in Miami, Florida

753 followers
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A quick guide to the Fifth Amendment. Main Point: Shut Up (at least when being questioned by the police)
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My new blog post covers the requirements for ignition interlock devices in Florida. Interlock devices are mandatory in Florida for all DUI convictions except a first time conviction with a BAC under .15 and no minors in the vehicle. 

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Ignition Interlock Devices in Florida are mandatory in almost all DUI convictions with the only exception is for a first time conviction where there are no minors in the car and the BAC is under .15. My new blog post examines the requirements, the costs and the practicalities of the ignition interlock device for Florida DUI convictions.
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Most of the time, vehicle stops by the police are perfectly legal and based on probable cause. However, sometimes the police do not follow proper procedure and pull someone over illegally and in violation of their rights. 
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Straightforward advice
Know your rights when pulled over for suspicion of DUI. Protect yourself http://goo.gl/REh4k3 #DUI  
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The key to defending a DUI case is to attack all three phases of the investigation and any chemical tests done such as the breath test. By studying the same training manuals that law enforcement is trained on we can learn a great deal about what defenses to use by simply pointing out the flaws in the investigation.

For example, phase 1 is in the vehicle in motion phase. According to the training manual there are 24 clues to observe that could imply a driver is impaired. Yet what if the traffic stop was only for running a red light or speeding or a broken tail light? In our defense we point out and highlight every single clue that the driver performed correctly. The point is that we are creating doubt about the impairment by highlighting all the clues that were done right since the training manual says a person who is impaired will have difficulty performing the majority of the 24 clues laid out.

There are additional clues for phase 2 and 3 and again the same tactic is used to drive home the point that a driver is not impaired and at worst only committed a traffic infraction. In addition for helping our defense in a jury trial these clues or lack of clues are excellent arguments for a Motion to Suppress. There is plenty of case law in Florida that states that minimal driving pattern coupled with odor of alcohol is not sufficient to initiate a DUI investigation. 

Finally, in a DUI defense we attack the field sobriety exercises and w drive home, through the officer's cross examination, that the exercises are just that, exercises and not tests. They are not backed up by rigorous scientific studies and are not accurate indicators of impairment. The chemical tests have additional specific defenses that I will discuss in a separate post. 
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I am proud to announce that I have obtained Forensic Sobriety Assessment (FSA) certification. I am the first attorney in Florida to obtain this credential and it continues my pursuit of excellence in DUI defense. 

According to its website, "FSA Certification demonstrates commitment to the highest standards of professional competence. It is open to attorneys, police officers and trainers, and forensic consultants. Applicants must pass written examinations in each of eight content areas. FSA training covers emphasizes the scientific concepts and findings pertaining to judgments of sobriety and intoxication based on observations and sobriety tests."
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Probable cause for a DUI arrest must be based upon more than a belief that a driver has consumed alcohol; it must arise from facts and circumstances that show a probability that a driver is impaired by alcohol or has an unlawful amount of alcohol in his system.State v. Kliphouse, 771 So. 2d 16 (Fla. 4th DCA 2000)

So many arrests for DUI are based on nothing more than a driver having the smell of alcohol on his breath and blood shot eyes. But there are dozens of cases in Florida where courts have said this is not enough and there has to be more evidence of impairment besides the smell of alcohol on your breath and red eyes. Driving pattern, speech, difficulty answering questions, stumbling out of the car, losing balance as you walk would all be signs of impairment. But more and more arrests for DUI are based on nothing more than the smell of alcohol. This is wrong. 
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The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test is the only "scientific" test used in field sobriety testing. Yet it undisputed that HGN can be caused by numerous medical and mental health conditions and other factors. One common cause of HGN that I see as a DUI attorney is police having the driver either face the street with oncoming traffic or face the police car with the lights on. HGN can be caused by fast moving objects such as the lights of incoming vehicles and police lights. One last flaw of this test: very difficult for officers to administer it properly. Shortcuts are taken or the test done too fast (it should take exactly 82 seconds done properly). I don't trust the HGN when I see a client has "failed" it.

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Probable cause for a DUI arrest must be based upon more than a belief that a driver has consumed alcohol; it must arise from facts and circumstances that show a probability that a driver is impaired by alcohol or has an unlawful amount of alcohol in his system. State v. Kliphouse, 771 So. 2d 16 (Fla. 4th DCA 2000)
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