Driving under the influence, or DUI, is the most common criminal charge in the Melbourne area. However, the mere fact that the charge is common does not mean it should be shrugged off, by anyone. A DUI charge can cause very severe repercussions, affecting a person’s ability to get to and from work or school and leave a lasting criminal record. If you are visiting the area and are accused, the charges could very likely follow you back home.
We handle a wide variety of DUI cases, including:
Whether you are a longtime Brevard County resident or visitor from out of state or abroad, a drunk driving charge could mean significant trouble for you. At The Law Offices of James B. Coulter, we are dedicated to finding every possible defense and fighting to have DUI charges reduced or dismissed.
A Melbourne DUI lawyer from The Law Offices of James B. Coulter will work to resolve your matter in the quickest and easiest way, and to accomplish the best possible result. We charge a flat fee for many drunk driving charges and can work with you to create a payment plan. Call us today at (321) 586-9944 to schedule a free consultation.
To pull a person over, police must have reasonable suspicion that a crime is taking place. Reasonable suspicion is a set of articulable facts that would lead a reasonable person to believe criminal activity is afoot.
Vague suspicion is not good enough. For instance, driving down Church Street after the bars close is not enough to warrant reasonable suspicions. Things that may trigger reasonable suspicion include:
If police cannot show reasonable suspicion for the stop, the stop and any evidence obtained may be thrown out.
Melbourne police sometimes use DUI checkpoints. If you were arrested as the result of a checkpoint, we will examine every step police used in setting up the checkpoint and everything they did at the checkpoint. If procedure was not followed, the arrest could be thrown out.
Fla. Stat. § 316.193 prohibits driving, meaning being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle, while impaired. This can mean being under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the extent that a person’s normal faculties are impaired.
In most cases, though, DUI arrests are for per se intoxication. Under the law, a person is considered impaired regardless of the condition of his or her normal faculties if he or she has a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher.
In a traffic stop, police will normally determine BAC or impairment through a test. There are a few tests Melbourne police might use:
Any test result can be challenged. If a machine has not been properly cleaned and calibrated, it can show incorrect results. Your attorney can demand police records. If there were any discrepancies or missteps in how the machines were maintained or the results handled, it can cast reasonable doubt on your case.
In a stop, the police officer will ask you to take the test. It is your right to refuse. Unless police are able to obtain a warrant, doing so will deny critical evidence in the case against you. Without test results showing intoxication, the charges may be reduced or dismissed.
However, Florida has “implied consent” laws that will cause your driver’s license to be suspended if your refuse to take a DUI test. If you fail a DUI test, you will also face license suspension. For refusal, your license is suspended for one year for the first refusal and 18 months for your second or subsequent one. If you fail, your license is suspended for six months or one year for any other.
The suspension is effective even if you are not charged.
You are entitled to a hearing to consider the suspension. However, you must request it in writing and must do so within 10 days of receiving notice (being pulled over counts as notice). Your lawyer can represent you at the hearing and argue why you should retain your driving privileges. However, it is important to act quickly.
Melbourne Florida and the Space Coast's beaches are a big draw for people around the world. There’s a lot to see and do, from Disneyworld to Universal Studios to shuttle launches, to a great night scene and the beaches. Unfortunately, many people get pulled over when leaving these attractions and wind up facing drunk driving charges.
Once you are released, it may be tempting to head back to your home and try to forget about it. But even if you never intend to go back to Melbourne or even Florida, the charges will likely follow you home. Florida is a member of the Interstate Driver’s License Compact. They will report to the charges to your home state’s Department of Motor Vehicles or corresponding agency, and your driving privileges will be suspended or revoked at home.
If you are an international visitor, an open warrant could have an effect on any future visa you may seek. You may be denied entry into the United States at a later date when you try to travel for business or any other reason. Likewise, if you are a U.S. citizen, a DUI could keep you from being able to travel abroad.
Do not ignore a DUI charge in Melbourne. Hire a local attorney here to handle it. We will do everything we can do to minimize the amount of travel you will have to do. In some circumstances, you may not have to come back to Melbourne at all.
Brevard County Sheriff's Office — This website contains crime information, tourist tips, and answers to frequently asked questions. There are also links to active warrants, public notices, and online police reports.
700 Park Avenue
Titusville, FL 32780
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Central Florida Office — You can find information about upcoming Victim Impact Panels (VIPs) on this website, and the greater Florida MADD page contains links to victim services, the MADD blog, and underage drinking.
One Purlieu Place, Suite 285
Winter Park, FL 32792
Florida Highway Patrol — Information about traffic safety, vehicle crashes, and ways to pay a traffic ticket can be found on this website. There are also links to press releases, travel tips, and safety education campaigns.
At The Law Offices of James B. Coulter, we represent people arrested throughout the Greater Melbourne area, including Melbourne Beach, Cocoa Beach, Satellite Beach, Indian Harbour Beach, Titusville, Rockledge, Cocoa, Merritt Island, and Cape Canaveral. Our clients range from Brevard County natives to visitors from around the world. We will work for the best possible results, challenging the evidence, the traffic stop or the arrest itself. Call us today at (321) 586-9944 to schedule a free consultation with a Melbourne Florida DUI lawyer.