Tampa, FL – DUI Defense Attorney Robert Whittel of Whittel & Melton has tried over 140 jury trials and can speak with incredible context about the mistakes DUI lawyers make in defense of DUI charges. Although it’s true that Florida DUI Manslaughter and Florida DUI Serious Bodily Injury charges bring greater penalties, no matter the type of DUI case, no matter if filed in Tampa, Gainesville, Ocala, Clearwater or beyond, the elements of DUI in Florida are consistent.
To that end, DUI Attorney Robert Whittel gives us 3 mistakes that he has seen over the years in the defense of DUI charges in Florida.
(1) Visit the scene of the DUI Arrest. It seems obvious to someone in school or reading about DUI Defense strategy, but it is very common that attorneys hired, and certainly public defenders, never visit the scene of the arrest. Because a DUI arrest will often involve an accident, allegedly poor driving, a road side physical test and observation and also may involve very dark surroundings (if at night); visiting the scene will undoubtedly help the DUI Attorney with cross examination, but will also spark ideas regarding a defense strategy.
(2) Get the DUI Tow Slip. Very commonly a DUI arrest will include a towing of the client’s vehicle. When a vehicle is towed, law enforcement should be taking an inventory of the vehicle. This inventory could include not only the contents of the vehicle, but also the physical condition of the vehicle. In some cases the allegations of the DUI officers are inconsistent with the DUI Tow Slip.
(3) Did the officer have Probable Cause for the Arrest? On its face this seems like an obvious item, how could it be a mistake. Too often, DUI Defense Lawyers mistake the entire Arrest Form and all that it includes for what was actually the basis of the DUI Arrest. Put another way, think about what constitutes an actual arrest in Florida, when in the timeline did that occur and what information was the DUI arresting officer in possession of when that critical decision was made. It is very often the case that a DUI case is substantially based on information collected after the arrest, not before.
Florida DUI Attorney Robert Whittel and Whittel & Melton are ready to consult on DUI cases in Tampa, Clearwater, Gainesville, Ocala and surrounding jurisdictions. Please contact us today 866-608-5529 or email us info@theFLlawfirm.com today.
Below is a cases prosecuted by Attorney Robert Whittel when he was a Florida Assistant State Attorney.
A man with a history of resisting being handcuffed apparently tried again late Tuesday after he was found guilty of attempted murder.
Alachua County bailiffs said that minutes after the man was told he had been found guilty and was ordered to be held in jail, the man fell out of his chair and onto the courtroom floor. The man had to be shocked with a Taser before he could be handcuffed, sheriff’s officials said.
On Tuesday evening, a jury found Asis A. McGuire, 27, of 423 Squire Drive in Gainesville, guilty of multiple charges, including attempted second-degree murder and aggravated battery.
The charges were filed in September 2009 by Gainesville Police Officer Christopher King, and the case was prosecuted by Assistant State Attorney Robert Whittel, who determined McGuire intentionally pulled the steering wheel of a vehicle he was riding in. By jerking the steering wheel, King said McGuire intentionally used the vehicle he was in to cause great harm to those in the same car with him as well as to those in the car that was hit.
Immediately after Judge Buck Curtain announced that McGuire would be held in the Alachua County jail until sentencing, bailiffs said the 5 feet 9 inch, 270-pound man fell to the floor and rolled onto his stomach. Sheriff’s spokesman Art Forgeysaid McGuire refused repeated commands to put his hands behind his back, instead struggling with bailiffs.
Once bailiffs had a handcuff on McGuire’s right wrist, they said he hid his left hand beneath him on the floor. Forgey said the bailiffs issued three warnings, then stunned McGuire with a Taser to get him to comply.
“He also claimed he was having a heart attack, so he was taken to Shands (at the University of Florida) for observation,” Forgeysaid. McGuire was booked into the Alachua County jail within three hours of being taken out of the courtroom.
Adapted from: The Gainesville Sun, June 24, 2010 (by Karen Voyles)
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