DUI Defense for the Tampa Bay Area
Clearwater Criminal Law attorney Garry Potts provides complete DUI defense in the Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg area working to help you reach the best outcome for all aspects of your case. Clearwater attorney Garry L. Potts is a former prosecutor with over twenty – three years of experience in DUI / DWI and criminal law. In Pinellas County, including Clearwater, Largo, St. Petersburg or in Hillsborough (Tampa), Pasco or Manatee / Sarasota Counties, he will work with you from the initial free consultation to get you through the drivers license administrative process in order to preserve your license or obtain a temporary hardship license. We are ready and experienced to help you either fight or get beyond your criminal or traffic charges, including driving under the influence, unlawful blood-alcohol, impaired driving, driving-under-the-influence of prescription drugs, breath or blood test refusals and boating-under-the-influence arrests. And if you are facing sentencing on a DUI, Garry Potts will work to help you minimize the time, money and inconvenience that results from today’s harsh DUI sentencing laws. You will have an experience criminal lawyer who will aggressively seek to provide a strong and reliable defense based on over twenty-three years of proven experience.
Working Toward the Right Solution for You
As soon as you see lights in your rearview mirror, you need to understand that the police officer and the prosecution is doing to do everything in their power to gather evidence against you in order to make an arrest and get a conviction. No matter if it is your first-time offense or your fourth felony DUI arrest, attorney Garry Potts will put his experience as a former prosecutor and criminal criminal defense experience to work for you to achieve the best outcome for your DUI in the Tampa Bay area in cases of:
- whether the evidence of intoxication and impairment are strong or weak you need an experienced attorney to guide you through the system, conduct discovery to obtain full police reports, videos, Intoxilyzer reports and records in order to evaluate your case for possible legal motions and to obtain the lowest sentence so that you may get on with your life.
- the administrative suspension is separate from your criminal DUI case. It is enforced by the Division of Driver’s Licenses of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and is instituted by the arresting police officer who confiscates your driver’s license. DMV administrative suspensions last for periods of from six to eighteen months, depending upon your past DUI history. As of July 1, 2013, changes in the law regarding DMV administrative suspensions for DUI’s require you to act quickly in order to preserve your right to drive. Within ten days from your arrest for DUI you must decide whether you wish to contest the administrative in a hearing or, for first-time DUI’s, accept the administrative suspension and apply for a hardship license. If you do not take action during the ten day period from the date of your DUI arrest, you will automatically begin the suspension, with a thirty day “hard” (no driving permitted for any reason) suspension for being in excess of the legal blood alcohol limit, or ninety day “hard” suspension for refusal to submit to a lawful breath, urine or blood test. I will help you evaluate the circumstances of your DUI and advise you on the best actions for you to take.
- a refusal to submit to a breath, urine or blood test in certain circumstances results in longer periods of administrative suspension and for the second or more refusal is a separate criminal charge. Before a refusal can legally count against you the police officers must have followed the legal guidelines in offering you the test and must have had probable cause to believe that you were operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the extent of impairment.
Erroneous breath test results
- the Intoxilyzor breath testing machines require regular maintenance and testing. Records of each use of the machines as well as of any maintenance and testing must be kept and are required before any breath test results are admissible in court. I will access and review those records from the police agency and from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in order to ensure that all legal guidelines were followed in your case and to discover indications of malfunction of the machine.
- operating a vehicle while under the influence and impaired by drugs is also a legal grounds for a DUI arrest. Even legal prescribed drugs may be grounds for a DUI arrest and conviction if they impair the normal faculties of the driver. Some prescription drugs, such as alprazolam (xanax) do not necessarily cause impairment if they have been taken regularly according to the doctor’s prescription, although often police and prosecutors will be unaware of this. Expert toxicologists can be used by me to educate the prosecution and the jury about the effects of particular drugs as they relate to the ability to drive. Drug DUI cases are most often based upon the driver’s statements to police admitting taking the medication and by the results of urine or blood sample tests. Urine samples are required to be given during a lawful DUI investigation if requested by police who have probable cause to believe a driver is impaired from drugs. Blood samples can only be requested where the driver is in a medical facility and cannot give a breath test, or where there has been a death or serious injury related to the DUI. In certain cases I can have your blood or urine samples can be sent out to a private lab for independent retesting. Each blood or urine test result must meet certain legal criteria before they can be admissible in court.
Boating BUI / BWI
- Boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol is treated similarly under the law as a regular DUI. Although your driver’s license cannot be suspended for a BUI, there are additional fines for refusing to submit to breath, blood or urine tests when the police have probable cause to ask for them. As with DUI DMV hearings, you may contest the refusal administrative penalty at a hearing. In BUI cases you must petition for a hearing within thirty days of the arrest. The hearing will be heard in front of a county court judge and will determine whether law enforcement had probable cause to ask for the breath, urine or blood sample. BUI cases can be defended based upon many of the same grounds as a DUI, particularly regarding indications of impairment following a day on the water in the sun.
Juvenile alcohol offenses
- persons under 18 years of age are prosecuted for DUI as adults. There are special laws and penalties for minors under 21 years of age regarding DUI’s however. Any minor, below the age of 21, who drives and is found to have a blood alcohol level of .02% or more (the DUI “legal limit” is .08%) will be subjected to an administrative suspension of their license as well as other fines and penalties.
- DUI’s which involve accidents can result in multiple criminal charges for the same series of events. In addition to a regular DUI charge the police may also charge separate counts of DUI Property Damage / Injury for each vehicle that was struck or person who was injured. In addition, a DUI case which involved an accident may lead to civil damage claims and lawsuits apart from any criminal case. It is important to realize that any statements made in court, including traffic court for a related traffic infraction, can be used later in a civil lawsuit against you. Restitution for property damage and medical treatment of the injured will be demanded by the prosecution in an accident DUI case. I will work with you in cases of accident – related DUI to ensure that your rights are not forget in the rush to punish. In addition to evaluating the probable cause and evidence of a DUI, I can evaluate the restitution claims for reasonableness and guide you through the process to prevent undue prejudice of any civil lawsuits that may follow.
Clearwater DUI attorney Garry Potts will not only work to give you a strong defense, but to also expedite the process. Not every person charged with a DUI or other crime in the Tampa / St. Petersburg / Clearwater area needs to fight; your best strategy can sometimes be to find the legal options that allow you to keep a temporary or hardship license. He may also be able to seek reduced charges presenting your side directly to the prosecutor and guide you through the best way to keep any probation and fines minimal. The Law Office of Garry L. Potts is agile, knowledgeable and able to adapt to your unique needs. We work closely with clients to find the right solutions for you.
Put a Proven Lawyer Behind Your Case
As a former prosecutor now recognized by peers and former clients for providing quality defense, Garry Potts brings two decades of effective client service to work for people accused of DUI in Clearwater, St. Petersburg and the rest of the Tampa Bay area. Whether fighting the results of a breath test or aggressively negotiating for reduced charges, we work to put all options on the table.
Call Attorney Garry Potts at 727-538-4166 today or click here to schedule a free consultation.