DUI: Frequently Asked Questions
Beckham Solis, Attorneys at Law practices
driving under the influence (DUI) defense only exclusively in the Miami-Dade County. Our partners have nearly
50 years of combined experience and are recognized for their knowledge
and experience in DUI defense. Our firm is more than capable of answering
any questions that you may have about our experience, your case, or the
DUI process. Read through the questions we have provided below before
speaking directly with a Miami DUI lawyer from our firm through a
free case evaluation.
Questions About Our Firm & DUI Defense
Do you speak Spanish?
Yes, we are fluent in both written and spoken Spanish.
The police just arrested my friend for DUI. How do I get him / her out of jail?
Call an attorney or a bondsman. The amount of the bond will depend on
the severity of the alleged crime. For lesser crimes or for individuals
with no prior record, the court may not require a bond and may release
the individual on pre-trial services. Otherwise, you will need someone
to post 10% of the total bondable amount set by the court. For a standard
DUI, the bond amount is $1500.
I've just gotten out of jail for DUI. What do I do next?
Once you are out of jail, you will have two separate "cases"
to deal with:
- The suspension of your license by the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
- Your criminal case, handled by the Dade County State Attorney's Office
In order to fight your license suspension, you must file for a formal administrative
review with the DMV within 10 days of your arrest. A lawyer can help you
with this paperwork and can later represent you in front of the DMV during
the formal review. This is separate from the DUI criminal case with the
State Attorney's Office, but oftentimes it is a more important step
toward getting your license back or obtaining a hardship license.
What penalties am I facing regarding my driver's license?
What penalties am I facing in the criminal court?
In criminal court, you will be facing up to one year in jail for a DUI
conviction. You could be facing more time depending on the charges and
the nature of the facts in your case.
Depending on the case and whether or not you submitted to the breathalyzer,
you will be facing at least a 90-day license suspension. There are several
potential punishments for each individual case. For example, if you refuse
the breathalyzer for a second time, your license could be suspended for
18 months without the possibility of a hardship license.
Does it matter if I hire a lawyer?
YES. A lawyer can begin to work on your defense immediately and can let
the state attorney and DMV know that you are serious about defending your
case. Memories fade over time, and critical witnesses can be lost, which
is why it is important to have an attorney helping you from the beginning.
Every person who is arrested has the choice to represent themselves without
a lawyer; however, we have seen countless situations where, by merely
hiring an attorney, things change for the better. Considering the various
implications regarding your license and possible suspensions, it is crucial
to hire a lawyer sooner rather than later.
How much will this cost?
Every case is different. Just like everything in life, "you get what
you pay for." You will choose your attorney based on what is most
important to you and according to your financial situation. We will always
make our most competitive offer to earn your business based on the case
and your possible defenses.
How many DUI cases have you handled?
We have defended more than a thousand DUI charges. As former public defenders,
we handled large caseloads for years at a time in multiple Dade County
courtrooms. Together, we have appeared before every Dade County DUI judge
on the bench. Please see our
previous cases for a small sampling of the cases we have handled.
How many trials have you handled?
Our combined experience includes more than 100 trials. With our clients'
approval, we push EVERY case to trial. Trial is the best part of our job.
How long will it take until my case is resolved?
It is our goal to resolve your case as soon as possible; however, a case
will usually take at least a few months to be properly resolved depending
on the complexity of the issues and the amount of work to be done.
Will I have to go to court?
We will do everything we can to keep you out of the courtroom as much
as possible. For most DUI cases, we can appear in court for you and even
resolve your case without your presence.
Will you be available to me?
Yes. You will find it is very unique that we give all our clients our
personal cell phone numbers for 24 / 7 access. We are selective in who
we choose to defend and we provide a high level of service and accessibility
to our clients.
How will you try to win my case?
There are several ways to obtain a dismissal in a DUI case. The most important
thing you can do is to hire a firm that is familiar with the various issues,
cases, and legal precedents that will help your case. During our first
meeting with you, we will provide an in-depth questionnaire for you to
fill out in order to preserve some issues you might forget later.
Questions About the DUI Process
What do police officers look for when searching for drunk drivers on the
The following is a list of symptoms (in descending order of probability)
that may indicate that a motorist is driving while intoxicated. The list
is based upon research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety
- Turning with a wide radius
- Straddling center of lane marker
- "Appearing to be drunk"
- Almost striking object or vehicle
- Driving on other than designated highway
- Speed more than 10 mph below limit
- Stopping without cause in traffic lane
- Following too closely
- Tires on center or lane marker
- Braking erratically
- Driving into opposing or crossing traffic
- Signaling inconsistent with driving actions
- Slow response to traffic signals
- Stopping inappropriately (other than in lane)
- Turning abruptly or illegally
- Accelerating or decelerating rapidly
- Headlights off
- Speeding, incidentally, is not a symptom of DUI; because of quicker judgment
and reflexes, it may indicate sobriety
If I'm stopped by a police officer and he asks me if I've been
drinking, what should I say?
You are not required to answer potentially incriminating questions. A
polite, "I would like to speak with an attorney before I answer any
questions," is a good reply. On the other hand, saying that you had
one or two beers is not incriminating; one or two beers are not sufficient
to cause intoxication, and admitting that you had them may explain the
odor of alcohol on your breath.
What is the officer looking for during the initial detention at the scene?
The traditional symptoms of intoxication taught at the police academies are:
- Flushed face
- Red, watery, glassy and / or bloodshot eyes
- Odor of alcohol on breath
- Slurred speech
- Fumbling with wallet trying to get license
- Failure to comprehend the officer's questions
- Staggering when exiting vehicle
- Swaying / instability on feet
- Leaning on car for support
- Combative, argumentative, jovial or other "inappropriate" attitude
- Soiled, rumpled, disorderly clothing
- Stumbling while walking
- Disorientation as to time and place
- Inability to follow directions
What should I do if I am asked to take field sobriety tests?
There are a wide range of field sobriety tests (FSTs), including heel-to-toe,
finger-to-nose, one-leg stand, horizontal gaze nystagmus, alphabet recitation,
modified position of attention (Romberg's Test), fingers-to-thumb,
hand pat, and other tests. Most officers will use a set battery of three
to five such tests.
Unlike the chemical test, where refusal to submit may have serious consequences,
you are not legally required to take any FSTs. The reality is that most
officers have already made up their minds to make an arrest when they
conduct the FSTs; the tests are simply additional evidence which the suspect
inevitably "fails." Thus, in most cases, a polite refusal may
Recently, many states have begun following the federally-approved (National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration) "standardized" field
sobriety tests (SFSTs). These consist of a battery of three tests:
- Heel-to-toe (also referred to as "walk and turn")
- One-leg stand
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus
All other field sobriety tests are disapproved. Also, unlike non-standardized
tests in which the officer subjectively decides whether the suspect passes
or fails, the SFSTs are scored objectively - that is, a numerical score
is assigned according to specific errors or "clues."
What about the breathalyzer? Should I blow into that machine?
When you receive your driver's license, you agree to submit to a breathalyzer
test should an officer believe that you are driving while impaired. Refusing
the breathalyzer will subject you to an automatic suspension of your license
for one year from the date of the refusal. However, within 10 days of
your refusal, you can petition for a review with the DMV so that you can
attempt to invalidate the suspension of your license. Should your attorney
be successful at the review, you will get your license back.
Hire a DUI Attorney in Miami
At Beckham Solis, Attorneys at Law, we are dedicated to the Miami-Dade
community and will go the extra mile to meet your needs and fight your
accolades include an AV Preeminent® Rating with Martindale-Hubbell®, and
both Justin Beckham and Helmuth Solis were selected for inclusion in the
2010 list of
Florida Super Lawyers® Rising Stars℠. Partners with our firm have been selected for inclusion in
® every year since. Your initial consultation with a Miami DUI attorney
from Beckham Solis, Attorneys at Law is free, so you have nothing to lose.
Contact us at your earliest convenience to get comprehensive answers from an experienced lawyer.