The DUI Setup
When people think of the "Tampa DUI Setup" most remember how three Tampa attorneys set up their opposing counsel for a DUI arrest during a jury trial in 2013. In order to set up the DUI arrest, they phoned a close family friend, Sergeant Raymond "Ray" Fernandez, who was a Tampa police DUI sergeant. Justices with the Florida Supreme Court called it "among the most shocking, unethical and unprofessional" conduct they had ever witnessed by lawyers.
Other than Sgt. Ray Fernandez eventually being fired and dozens of cases being dropped, the Tampa Police Department largely avoided any consequences. A few of their policies were changed and the DUI enforcement unit was recognized, but many of the problems that permitted the DUI setup to occur remained unchanged.
DUI enforcement officers wait outside bars and nightclubs where they look for drivers who have been drinking. In fact, the Tampa Police Department (TPD) previously published a list of the top ten locations where DUI drivers are stopped in Tampa, FL.
This article explains why other procedures used by the DUI enforcement officer feel like a complete setup. The officers never explain why performing the field sobriety exercises are completely voluntary. Although you are entitled to an independent blood test after taking the breath or urine test, the officer probably never told you that option. You might be surprised to learn that the Intoxilyzer 8000 that you blew into is more than ten (10) years old.
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Attorneys for a DUI Setup in Tampa, FL
After a DUI arrest, find an experienced criminal defense attorney in Tampa, FL, to help you fight the DUI charges. We fight cases involving a breath, blood or urine test, or the refusal to submit to one of these chemical tests.
Whether this is your first arrest or a second offense, we can help. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss the facts of your cases, the typical penalties imposed, and ways to fight for an outright dismissal or reduction in the charges.
The Field Sobriety Tests are Supposed to be Voluntary
If the officer asked you to take the field sobriety exercises, the officer will NOT tell you that the exercises are completely voluntary. Once you understand the field sobriety exercises, you will see that these exercises are a setup for failure.
While the officer will claim that the exercises were used to determine "impairment of your normal faculties," the exercises required you to do completely abnormal things like stand on one foot or put your finger on your nose.
If you refuse the "voluntary" field sobriety exercises, that decision can sometimes be used against you at trial. In some cases, the prosecutor will argue that your refusal to participate in the "voluntary" exercises show your "consciousness of guilt."
Officers often ask questions in a way that makes even a completely innocent person sound guilty. If you were asked to take a breath test, the officer might have told you that you had no right to talk to an attorney first.
The Breath Test on the Mysterious Intoxilyzer 8000 Machine
The breath test can also feel like a setup since your breath disappears out the other end of the tube. In a DUI breath test case, you have no opportunity to have the breath sample retested. The breath test affidavit is used to determine your fate.
Without the proper representation, you have no way of knowing if the test was performed properly or if the reading is accurate and reliable.
Requesting the Independent Blood Test
Although you have the right to request an independent blood test after taking the breath test, the officer probably never told you about this option. Even if you knew to ask, the officer might have refused to accommodate that request.
Even worse, if you refused to submit to a breath, blood or urine test, then the prosecutor will argue that the refusal means you were "conscience" of your guilt. In some cases, a person has a perfectly good reason for refusing to submit to the test that has nothing with "consciousness of guilt."
Finding a DUI Defense Lawyer in Hillsborough County, FL
While a DUI might sound like a complete setup, your criminal defense attorney can help you level the playing field. Your attorney can expose the tactics used by the arresting officer and the accuracy of the breath test reading. If you refused to submit to testing, your attorney can show all of the reasons why an innocent person might refuse the test.
Call us to find out more about important defenses that can be used in your case. Call 813-250-0500.
This article was last updated on Tuesday, July 31, 2018.