News & Blog

Appealing DUI Convictions

April 13, 2016 • DUI Defense

If you are accused of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you want to do everything possible to avoid being convicted and facing penalties. A Tallahassee drunk driving lawyer can help you put together a legal defense strategy aimed at trying to avoid conviction or aimed at negotiating a favorable plea agreement so you will face the least penalties possible if you do not wish to fight the charges.

Unfortunately, sometimes defendants are convicted of impaired driving after they are charged. This conviction, however, does not necessarily mean that you must always face the consequences and criminal record associated with being found guilty of drunk driving. It may be possible for you to appeal the conviction and fight the charges that you face.

Appeals are possible only in limited circumstances and a sound legal argument is necessary to explain why there were errors made or legal problems associated with the initial case against you. Having an attorney who is skilled in DUI appeals will be essential if you wish to fight to have a DUI conviction overturned.

The Importance of Knowing and Understanding Your Legal Rights

While appealing a DUI conviction can be challenging, it is definitely an option for defendants who were treated unfairly at any point in their initial involvement with the legal system.

Just recently, Wave 3 News reported on a case in which a state supreme court overturned a DUI conviction. The state in this particular case was Kentucky. The case began when a man was stopped at a road block. He was purportedly stopped because he did not have his seatbelt on as he went through the road block. 

However, the state trooper who pulled the driver over indicated he smelled alcohol on the driver's breath and asked him to undergo a sobriety test. The driver subsequently went on to fail three sobriety tests.  He was convicted of DUI on the basis of the traffic stop.

He appealed his conviction, however, and the court of appeals overturned it because they found the roadblock that had been set up violated both the U.S. Constitution and the state constitution. The Constitution prohibits unlawful search and seizure, and the road block was found to be an unlawful search. In Kentucky, roadblocks are permitted, but only in accordance with specific guidelines In this case, the road block was not readily apparent to the motorist and thus it was not permitted within the bounds of the constitution.

The Kentucky Supreme Court found the conviction should have been overturned, so the case will set precedent statewide. While Kentucky's rules for roadblocks differ from other states like Florida, which is required to publicize DUI checkpoints under rules set forth in State v. Jones, 483 So.2d 433, there are guidelines for the constitutionality of checkpoints in every state where they are permitted. 

Defendants need to know what their rights are when it comes to roadblocks and must also understand all of the other protections they are entitled to within the criminal justice system. If your rights are violated in any way, it may be possible to overturn your DUI conviction. Talk with a drunk driving lawyer in Tallahassee for an evaluation of your case and to determine if you should consider an appeal.