Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Lawyer
Foreword From John M. Castellano:
I defend the criminally accused in not only South Florida, but also in State and Federal courts across the country ie, often in other States outside of Florida upon permission of local judges.
Few experiences in life are more rewarding than those occasions when we, as criminal defense lawyers, are successful in helping our clients receive second chances. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that you’ve been used instrumentally in the process of reuniting families and assisting them as we secure the right treatment, rehabilitation and help they desperately need.
Thank you profusely, for sending any of your frightened or hurting family members and friends my way. It is an absolute honor to help these families. From my heart to yours, I am,
Grateful for this privileged opportunity,
– John Castellano
Visit our Criminal Defense Blog for the latest Fort Lauderdale legal news and updates from Attorney John M. Castellano.
John Castellano, a highly experienced, veteran criminal defense attorney, has successfully represented thousands of criminal defendants in Florida and throughout the United States over the past 15 years. His practice expanded in the last several years to include the areas of personal injury and wrongful death, but Castellano is best known for his success in the area of criminal defense, including murder, drug cases, juvenile cases, white collar crimes, sex crimes, and federal criminal defense.
If you have been accused of a crime, call 954-766-8810 today to speak with a highly effective Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney.
John Castellano is also a successful Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Lawyer who won numerous cases for his clients. He believes that success of any personal injury case depends on the case having three legs to stand on – the liability, the injury, and the monetary leg to obtain compensation. You can find out more on his personal injury page.
DUI Attorney John M Castellano on Drunk Driving in Florida
I have a heart for people who suffer the embarrassment and shame of being arrested for Driving under the Influence … and we all know, the suffering goes well beyond embarrassment and shame — it includes the loss of your income and possibly even your job, along with the loss of your driving privileges (for a time)and certainly the loss of your freedom or liberty for some time too, as you suffer tremendous financial hardship from the consequential, unexpected expenses as well.
What can be done? Many things can be done, and these things SHOULD be done, and they should be done sooner rather than later. There are very narrow and exact, finite time periods involved, and you need to know of these time constraints, in order to preserve your rights and driving privileges. We at the Law Offices of John M. Castellano will help you and your family immediately.
Our Fort Lauderdale DUI defense attorneys will file what is called a “Petition for a Formal Review Hearing” [and this must be done within the first ten (10) days following your arrest!] in order to immediately restore your driving privileges.
Simultaneously, our Fort Lauderdale DUI lawyers will seek and secure copies of any and all police reports, “alcohol influence reports,” accident reports (if any) and any and all supplemental police reports filed by the involved law enforcement officers.
If you’re alleged to have ‘refused’ a breath test, or if you’ve taken the ‘breath test’ — in either case, we will secure copies of any and all documentation which exists on this issue too, as we also secure a defense copy of your ‘DVD’ or ‘video.’ Your DVD or videotaped image is typically taken as footage from the police cruiser “dashboard” or “car cam,” but just as often, this will include the footage of your performance of the “roadside sobriety tests” or “exercises” on the side of the road. We will obtain a copy of this footage right away.
The State prosecutors (those within the State Attorney’s Office in any one of the 67 Florida counties) must officially “file” your DUI charge/arrest, within twenty one (21) days of your arrest; and this affords your defense lawyer another significant window period of time within which to significantly help you. If we are your lawyers, we will visit the prosecutors to provide them with any and all mitigation material (i.e., “humanizing” material and information about you and your unique life and family) along with any and all possible “exculpatory” (exonerating) information that may persuade the prosecutors NOT to file this DUI charge against you.
When you’re arrested in Florida or Massachusetts — or almost anywhere else in the nation for that matter, on the charge of “Driving Under (‘DUI’) the Influence” of alcohol, the prosecution must prove ‘beyond every reasonable doubt’ that you were ‘under the influence’ of ALCOHOL and not prescription drugs or any other drug. This is just one (1) of the most immediate and critically important issues in your case.
The State (called the “prosecution”) must prove “beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt,” that you were “under the influence of a controlled substance,” *if they choose to allege that you were under the influence of drugs as opposed to alcohol; so again, it is critically important to first know and establish WHICH ‘necessary elements” the State and Prosecutors MUST prove.
How a Fort Lauderdale DUI Defense Attorney Can Help
Your DUI lawyers always have the readily available defense that you may not have been under the influence of anything other than “sleep deprivation,” since the reality of sleep deprivation is a hugely pervasive problem in America today, and more and more people are becoming increasingly aware of this national issue:
Our South Florida DUI Attorneys cross examine the arresting police officer in such as way as to significantly increase the likelihood of winning your case in trial, or before trial, prevailing upon the prosecution to reduce the charge to a lesser offense, dropping the DUI charge. The following is just a brief example of how we do this:
The police officer cannot possibly know your normal speech pattern or whether you speak with a slight lipse or an accent — especially in this multi cultural society in urban cities today; and this is just one area in which we quite easily impeach the officer’s testimony on cross examination, as you’ll see:
“It’s fair to say, isn’t it officer Dokes, that you’ve never spoken with Mr. Jones (“my client”) before?
“That’s true,” the officer will respond.
“So you have no way of knowing what his normal speech sounds like, whether he articulates every syllable or speaks with a slight drawl or a lipse or an accent, right?”
“Well, that’s correct.”
There goes the effect of the officer’s earlier testimony (on direct examination by the prosecutor) when the officer testified that you “had slurred speech.”
Then, as to the separate, damning testimony from the police officer, as to your “red” or “bloodshot eyes,” this testimony we also impeach on “cross,” as you’ll see:
“You’ve never seen my client’s eyes before that night, isn’t that right officer Dokes?”
“So you have no way of knowing, officer Dokes, whether Mr. Jones had been swimming earlier in the day, or whether he had been working two jobs all day and was otherwise extremely tired and sleep deprived — and our eyes get reddened under these circumstances too, isn’t that right?”
“Yeah, that’s right, but –“
And of course, we won’t allow the officer to camp out on the stand and attempt to rehabilitate himself and add salt to his earlier testimony, quickly moving on to another quick question:
“And studies have shown that most people are driving around later at night quite sleep deprived, and more accidents occur when people fall asleep at the wheel UNRELATED to any alcohol or drugs — just from being very tired and sleep deprived, isn’t that true officer?”
“I wouldn’t know about that.”
“You asked him to perform certain roadside sobriety tests that night, officer, didn’t you?”
“Yes, I did.”
“And you had him do these tests on the side of the road, true?”
And yet it was dark outside, and the roadside was not paved, but instead was uneven with gravel, and cars were speeding by, their headlights flashing, as he was trying to do your tests?”
“Well, no, it was dark, but we were far enough away from cars and the road was flat.”
“Your report noted that he failed the ‘heel to toe’ walking test, inasmuch as he missed touching the ‘heel’ of his one foot, with the ‘toe’ of his other foot … but isn’t it true that your own police cruiser’s overhead lights were activated and strobing in a circular fashion all about you two — just as the highlights from oncoming vehicles were flashing into his eyes, and it was under these challenging. circumstances, that he was asked to perform these tests?”
Many times, we will ask the Judge to instruct the police officer to come down off the witness stand, to demonstrate for the jury how it is that he can perform these tests himself — and invariably, the police officer will miss the mark on one of these same sobriety tests, prompting this sort of questioning:
“Isn’t it true, officer Dokes, that you just failed to stay on one leg and keep your balance in this same balancing test you gave to my client, Mr. Jones?”
Before he even answers, or regardless of the embarrassment or the answer, the question is followed up this way:
“This isn’t something you’re used to, in fairness to you, officer, standing here a bit nervous in this courtroom asked to perform in front of this jury which is not your own environment — just like it’s not what Mr. Jones was used to, nervous late at night in the dark on the side of the road with cars speeding by, also a bit nervous like you in an environment not his own, right?
Impeachment of Police Officer’s Credibility in Court
We continue to impeach the officer’s credibility on the witness stand, by these and many other questions designed to illustrate the unfairness of these roadside sobriety ‘tests’ or ‘exercises’ as they’re calling them now (ie., the prosecutors are now calling them ‘exercises’ since the Supreme Court has declared roadside ‘tests’ to be unconstitutional) and we then attack the admissibility and credibility of the breath test as well:
[FYI: The machines are either the infamous ‘breathalyzer’ or ‘intoxilyzer’ that tests for the ‘blood alcohol (‘B.A.L.’) level in an individual’s blood.]
These are only a few sample questions that illustrate how we might cross examine and impeach the police officer, to undermine the credibility of the alleged breath test result:
“Many other people blew into the machine that night, isn’t that true?”
“You’re not the officer who is responsible for properly maintaining this machine, ensuring that it is often inspected in a timely fashion as it must be, and that the machine is properly calibrated at the periodic times as required, and that it is stored in a safe place, and not bouncing around in some police van, isn’t that true officer Dokes?”
“Your own police cruiser — like our computers and appliances and all other machines in our life, they don’t always work right, and sometimes they break down and need to be repaired and adjusted to work right, isn’t that true officer Dokes?”
Our cross examination of the police officer as to the breath test ‘result,’ and as to his testimony concerning your performance in the roadside sobriety ‘tests’ or ‘exercises,’ will expose and highlight the ‘reasonable doubt’ that surrounds the issue of whether you were ‘under the influence’ of alcohol.
Our criminal defense attorneys in For Lauderdale enjoy helping you and your family or friends. Please feel free to send me an email or call me right away, if your family (or anyone you care about) suffers from the ordeal or a DUI arrest and prosecution. If you would like my immediate help, remember, time is critical in these situations. Contact us at 954-766-8810 for a FREE consultation with an experienced Fort Lauderdale DUI lawyer.
Looking forward to helping you and your family, I am,
Grateful for the privileged opportunity,
John M. Castellano, P.A.