DUI Attorney for Polk County

Each month, Sheriff Grady Judd announces the number of DUI arrests made by deputies with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.·

In July of 2023, deputies with the PCSO arrested 30 people for Driving Under the Influence (DUI). Eight of these cases involved an arrest for DUI with a crash or property damage. Two of the 30 people arrested were charged with child neglect because a child passenger was in the vehicle. Six of the drivers were female. Several of those arrested had at least one prior DUI conviction.

Those 30 arrests do not include arrests in Polk County made by any of the city police departments or the Florida Highway Patrol.

Although the vast majority of law enforcement agencies in Florida rely heavily on video evidence, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office refuses to use this most basic method of preserving evidence which is using video equipment to record the DUI investigation at the roadside.

Another problem with DUI investigations in Polk County, FL, involves how they maintain their Intoxilyzer 8000 breath test machines.

Before the breath test can be admitted at trial, it must be shown that the administrative rules for the machine’s maintenance and periodic inspections were followed.

The agency inspector and breath test operator must also follow each part of their training when maintaining the breath test machine and administering the test. Any problem might result in the breath test being thrown out of evidence at trial.

Depending on the problems we find during the machine audit, the prosecutor might agree to reduce the case to a less serious offense, such as reckless driving. In some cases, the prosecutor is forced to drop the charges entirely to avoid a hearing on the admissibility of the breath test results or the alleged refusal.

Our DUI defense attorneys for Polk County, FL, can also help you understand the pros and cons of entering D.U.I. Drug Court in Polk County was created for those accused of repeat offenses. Whether this is your first offense or a second or subsequent allegation, we can help.

Attorneys for DUI Cases in Polk County, FL

If you were arrested for Driving under the Influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney for Polk County.

Whether you took the breath test or refused to submit to a breath test, blood test, or urine test, we can help. We are experienced in fighting a first DUI accusation and a second or subsequent offense. We also represent clients charged with a separate offense for a second DUI refusal to submit to the breath, blood, or urine test.

At Sammis Law Firm, P.A., we focus on DUI cases throughout the Tampa Bay area, including Polk County and Hillsborough County, Florida. We are experienced in representing clients in the courthouses in Bartow, Lakeland, and Winter Haven, FL.

Call (813) 250-0500 today to discuss your case.

Bond Conditions for a DUI in Polk County, FL

The standard bond amount for a first DUI in Polk County, FL, is $500. If you are charged with DUI under Florida Statute §316.193, with one or more prior convictions for DUI, you might not be able to bond out of jail immediately.

Instead, you must attend the First Appearance Hearings (FAH), so the court can set the bond amount and impose pre-trial release conditions.

If you are charged with DUI Manslaughter, as defined in §316.193(3)(c)(3)(a) and (b), Florida Statutes, you might be held with no bond, especially if you have a prior arrest for DUI, driving while license suspended, or another type of alcohol-related driving offense in the past.

Ten (10) Days to Demand a Formal Review Hearing

Remember that you only have ten (10) days after your arrest to file a request for a formal review hearing with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

If you fail to do so, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended for six (6) months for a breath test reading over the legal limit of 0.08 or one year for an alleged refusal to submit to chemical testing.

If you fail to do you, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended for six (6) months for a breath test reading over the legal limit of 0.08 or one year for an alleged refusal to submit to chemical testing.

If your driver’s license is administratively suspended in Polk County, Florida, you may be able to apply for a business purpose only or hardship license after serving out a “hard suspension” period during which you can not drive for any reason.

If you took the breath test and blew over the legal limit, a 30-day hard suspension will result. If you refuse to take the breath test, a one-year suspension will result after an administrative suspension. Hiring an attorney early in the process allows you to fight the administrative suspension of your driver’s license.

At the formal review hearing, your attorney can subpoena any law enforcement officers involved in your arrest to provide recorded testimony under oath. That testimony can later be used to prepare motions to dismiss or suppress or exclude evidence during your criminal trial.

This formal review hearing is critical in misdemeanor DUI cases because your DUI attorney does not always have the opportunity to take a deposition of the officers involved in your arrest before a motion hearing or trial.

Checklist of Documents in the DUI Packet in Polk County, FL

For a DUI arrest in Polk County, FL, the packet (PSCO Form 9034A) contains a checklist of the following documents:

  • Suspect’s Driver’s License (Mandatory to seize if in possession and BrAC is .08% or higher);
  • Breath Test Affidavit (FDLE Form 38) (Mandatory even if refusal);
  • Breath Test Operator Analysis Report (Form 706) (Optional);
  • Affidavit of Refusal (HSMV 78054)(Only required for refusal of breath, blood, or urine or if BrAC is .08% or higher);
  • Current Agency Inspection Report for Intoizlyzer (Form 40) (Mandatory); and
  • Notice of CDL Disqualification (HSMV 78005)(Mandatory if the driver holds a Commercial Driver’s License in any state)
  • Notice of .02 Violation D.L. Suspension (Mandatory if the driver is under 21 years old and has a BrAC between .02% and .079%)

After your attorney files a demand for discovery, the State Attorney’s Office for the 10th Judicial Circuit in Polk County, FL, will file a discovery exhibit and demand for reciprocal discovery.

The discovery exhibit will include information in the prosecutor’s file, a witness list, and a list of trial exhibits. The trial exhibits might include the following:


DUI Breath Testing in Polk County, FL

After a DUI test in Polk County, FL, the accused is often brought to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office breath testing facility. In a DUI Breath Test in Polk County, FL, the agency has an inspector called an “agency inspector” responsible for maintaining the machines.

For instance, the Intoxilyzer 8000 machine with serial number 80-001237 has been registered to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office since June 6, 2019. The exact same type of machine with the same hardware and software has been used in Florida since 2006, which is more than 17 years.

The certificate of registration was completed by Thomas J. Graham, the FDLE Department Inspector. This breath test machine underwent a department inspection by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Alcohol Testing Program (ATP) on June 6, 2019, when it was shipped for its annual inspection.

During FDLE’s department inspection in 2019, the machine underwent a quality check and registered an R-Value of 116. Temperature checks were also performed, along with a calibration adjustment and post-calibration adjustment stability check that was required because of a problem with the barometric pressure gauge reading.

Child Abuse for Having a Child Passenger While DUI

If a child was in the vehicle, the driver might also be charged with child abuse under Florida Statute Section 827.03(2), especially if a crash occurred or other aggravating factors were present.

An attorney can help convince the prosecutor not to formally file charges for child abuse, a felony, during the first 21 days after the arrest.

Having a child passenger is already a form of aggravated DUI which comes with enhanced penalties, including a higher statutory minimum and a 6-12 month ignition interlock requirement.

Not all DUI cases with a child passenger would constitute child abuse or neglect, and each case must be analyzed case by case.

DUI School in Polk County, Florida

Individuals who are arrested for DUI must often complete a Florida-approved DUI school for one of the following reasons:

  1. the individual has an administrative suspension after a DUI arrest that is not invalidated after a former review hearing; or
  2. the individual is required to complete DUI school as a condition of probation after entering a plea to either DUI or a reduced charge of reckless driving.

In most cases, an attorney will recommend enrolling in DUI school even before the administrative hearing or the criminal portion of the DUI charges are resolved.

Through a contract with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), Tri-County Services is permitted to operate the DUI program in Polk County.

Florida law permits Tri-County services to provide the only DUI program (often called DUI School or DUI Classes) for people living or working in Polk County, Highlands County, or Hardee County, Florida.

After you enroll online, Tri-County Human Services will send you an “Online Enrollment Payment Confirmation.”

This email confirms receipt of your enrollment information and payment for DUI School in Polk County, FL. The email will instruct you to contact their office at 863-701-1919 during regular business hours to complete the registration process using your registration payment number.

The non-refundable program charge for Level I DUI school is $309.50, with a service fee of $10.50. Therefore, the total registration fee is $320.00.

Tri-County Services provides DUI classes at the following locations:

Tri-County Human Services, Inc – DUI School in Winter Haven, FL
37 3rd Street S.W.
Winter Haven, FL 33880
Phone Number: (863) 299-5286
Fax: (863)299-8760
Tri-County Human Services, Inc – DUI School in Highland City, Polk County, FL
5421 U.S. Highway 98, South
Highland City, FL 33846
Phone Number: (863) 701-7373
Fax: (863) 701-0404

Tri-County Human Services, Inc – DUI School in Wauchula, Hardee County, FL

202 S. 9th Avenue
Wauchula, FL 33873
Phone: (863) 773-2226
Fax: (863) 773-2497
Tri-County Human Services, Inc – DUI School in Sebring, Highland County, FL
5606 U.S. Highway 27 North
Sebring, FL 33870

Additional Resources

Florida DUI Punishments – If you have been arrested for a DUI in Bartow, Florida, find out more about the possible penalties and punishments that can follow a DUI conviction under Florida law.

DUI Administrative Hearings – Learn more about protecting your driver’s license administrative suspension that can otherwise occur after your arrest, even if you are not ultimately convicted of DUI.

DUI Refusal Cases – Find out more about DUI arrests after an alleged refusal to submit to a chemical test of your blood, breath, or urine. Special considerations apply to DUI refusal cases in Bartow, Polk County, Florida. Find out more about the “good news” and the “bad news” about an arrest for DUI after an alleged refusal.

Licensed DUI Programs and Schools in Polk County, FL – Visit the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website to find a list of Licensed DUI Programs in Florida, including Polk County. Also, find information on DUI fees as of October 1, 2014 (that changed since 2013), and a menu of Driving and Education Course Schools. The website also provides information regarding payment methods, a link to the DUI program provider’s website, and class schedules for Polk County, Tri-County Human Services, Inc., in Lakeland, FL.

Finding a DUI Lawyer in Bartow, FL

In DUI cases, the officer often testifies about his or her opinion of whether the suspect was intoxicated from alcohol or impaired by any controlled substance. Jurors are often skeptical of the officer’s testimony when no video evidence supports it.

The refusal of the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office to preserve this important evidence demonstrates their fear that the video will prove the mistakes or misconduct of the arresting officers.

The lack of video evidence makes it more likely that innocent people will be convicted and the guilty will go free. When the case does not have video, your attorney must diligently lock the witnesses into their testimony to avoid surprises.

Never attempt to represent yourself in a DUI case. A significant number of these cases are reduced or dismissed.

If you can not afford a private attorney, tell the court you would like an attorney with the public defender’s office appointed to represent you. If you can afford to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney, take advantage of the free consultation offered by attorneys.

Contact Sammis Law Firm today to determine what steps you must take in the ten days after your arrest to preserve all of your options for the best result in your Bartow, Polk County, Florida, driving under the influence or drunk driving (DUI) case.

In many DUI cases where a viable motion can be filed, the best results occur after your attorney has filed a motion to suppress or exclude evidence or potentially a motion to dismiss.

Learn more about potential defenses that may apply to your DUI prosecution by contacting an experienced DUI lawyer who is experienced in fighting cases in Bartow, Polk County, Florida.

We also help individuals who receive notice that the State Attorney’s Office wants to issue a subpoena for their medical records to determine the BAC level before a traffic crash resulting in their hospital visit.

Read more about how we fight DUI refusal cases in Polk County, FL.

Contact us to discuss your case with an experienced attorney today. Call 813-250-0500.

This article was last updated on Wednesday, August 9, 2023.