The two Miami sisters were seen by a sheriff’s deputy driving a Volkswagon on a highway late at night. The Deputy noticed some possible clues that the owner was “Driving Under the influence“. Signs such as sudden braking, swerving and unexplained speeding/slowing down made the sheriff suspicious.
After the Deputy turned on his lights and siren, the Volkswagon made a sudden stop in traffic. It was then that he noticed the passenger and driver switch seats.
After another Deputy arrived for back up, both girls, 18-year-old Steffany and 24-year-old Vanessa performed “field sobriety exercises”. Per the Sheriff’s report, both defendants performed poorly and they both smelled of alcohol and looked visibly impaired.
Both sisters were charged because both girls were behind the wheel of the car, in actual physical control, with keys in the ignition at some point. At the time of this writing, the sister’s Florida DUI defense lawyer was unavailable for comment.
As had been mentioned previously, the most misunderstood facet of DUI defense may be APC or “actual physical control”. The definition of APC is as follows (taken directly from an old Florida DUI jury sheet.
“Actual physical control of a vehicle means the defendant must be physically in or on the vehicle and have the capability to operate the vehicle, regardless of whether [he] [she] is actually operating the vehicle at the time”.
The problem with that definition is that how do you determine if you have the capability to operate a vehicle? Have keys in your pocket while you sleep in the driver seat? Most people would think that you would not be able to operate the vehicle because (1) you are sleeping and (2) the keys are not in the ignition. Most people would be wrong! People have been convicted of DUI from that exact scenario.
What about this fact pattern? A man, previously convicted of DUI on multiple occasions being found in his car, keys in the ignition and his breathalyzer in his car telling the police this man was too intoxicated to drive? In that case the breathalyzer (which was court ordered due to his prior convictions), kept his car from turning on because of his impaired state. By law, this was no longer a working vehicle. This man, who had every intent to drive, had his case dismissed because his drinking made his car inoperable!
These are just a few of the countless scenarios Pinellas DUI lawyers are faced with on a daily basis. Driving under the influence is often considered among the most complicated misdemeanor crimes as one can see by these fact scenarios.
With the upcoming holiday fast approaching, please be careful on the road this week. Both DUI checkpoints and police patrols are stepped up on July 4th weekend. Be safe, be smart and don’t be a statistic!
Have you or a loved one been arrested for a DUI? Then call the St. Petersburg DUI defense firm of Blake & Dorsten, P.A. today! These former prosecutors are experienced trial attorneys who have handled 1000s of DUIs to a sucessful conclusion.
The law offices of Blake & Dorsten, P.A. handles all personal injury and criminal cases throughout the Gulf coast of Florida inclusing Pinellas, Pasco, Hillsborough, Manatee, Citrus and Polk counties.
To talk directly with your Pinellas criminal defense lawyer, click on the contact button or call them at (727)286-6141. Blake & Dorsten, P.A…when your case matters!