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  • Writer's pictureAttorney Joseph Soler

I was charged with DUI but I was not drinking or taking drugs, can I be convicted of DUI?

The state must be able prove that you were under the influence of alcohol and/or, a harmful chemical substance set forth by Florida law, and/or a controlled substance in order to successfully convict you for driving under the influence. If the state has no evidence that you were under the influence of alcohol, a harmful chemical substance, or a controlled substance than they likely do not have a case.

There are many possible explanations for why a person may appear to be intoxicated. For instance, sleep deprivation, fatigue, depression, sickness, or other natural conditions may render a person lethargic and prevent them from doing well on DUI field sobriety exercises.

Consider the case of State v. Annis where the officer charged the defendant with DUI after finding him "slumped over the steering wheel, passed out, with the car running in an intersection." The defendant had allegedly "seemed lethargic, had urinated on himself, and had slober running from his mouth."

The trial court granted a judgment of acquittal (ruled that the evidence was not sufficient to sustain a conviction for DUI) because the state failed to present sufficient evidence that the defendant was under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances--many other factors, such as disease or mental illness, could have accounted for the defendant's behavior. State v. Annis, 8 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 421 (Fla. 13th Cir. Ct. April 19, 2001).

In Sarasota County we sometimes see arrests for DUI where the police officer does not have sufficient evidence of intoxication by alcohol or controlled substances yet arrest anyway. Call (941) 444-5128 to sit down with an attorney for a free consultation. We will review your case and determine your best course of action.

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