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Tampa Criminal Defense
Tampa's Aggressive Criminal Defense Firm

Tampa DUI Defense Lawyers

Driving Pattern – The 1st Element of a DUI arrest

In most circumstances, the first element of a DUI arrest involves some visual observation by a police officer of a person’s driving pattern. Driving patterns that typically allow an officer to infer impairment include speeding, driving too slow, weaving, or running a red light. Other indicators include following another car too closely, hitting a curb or falling asleep at a traffic signal.

No matter the reason the officer uses to stop a person who he or she believes to be impaired, the officer’s suspicions must meet legal standards. Courts routinely hear motions, referred to as Motions to Suppress, argued by attorneys in an effort to invalidate the reason for the stop. After the arguments are heard, the Court will provide a written opinion deciding whether the stop in a particular case was a legally sufficient one. The success of a motion to suppress largely depends on the factual circumstances of each case.

In other scenarios, the 1st element of a DUI charge may stem from an accident. Accidents can be difficult cases for the state attorney’s office to prove DUI primarily because the officer did not witness whow was driving the car at the time of the accident. Without any visual observation of a driving pattern, the state attorney may find it difficult to prove that the defendant was in ‘actual physical control of the vehicle.’ Accident cases can either involve multiple cars or a single car. In a multiple car accident, the responding officer will typically arrive on the scene and begin an accident investigation. The officer will question the drivers of all cars involved to determine who was at fault. If the officer believes that any of the drivers involved in the accident are impaired, the officer must end his or her accident investigation and begin a DUI investigation.

In a single vehicle accident, the officer will usually respond to a scene where a car has hit a telephone pole or perhaps driven into a ditch. In these cases, there is no other driver involved in the accident which requires the officer to determine the cause of the accident. Upon contact with the driver, the officer must conclude the accident investigation and begin a DUI investigation if he or she notices signs of impairment.

We encourage you to contact the office immediately to discuss the reason for the stop of your vehicle. No matter the reason for the stop, your rights must be protected and we must make sure the state attorney can prove the DUI case against you.

Proceed to the 2nd Element of a DUI arrest

Arrested for a Tampa, Florida DUI? Contact our law offices immediately.


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