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Sammis Law Firm

DUI in Lakeland, FL

The Lakeland Police Department devotes considerable resources to its DUI enforcement unit including a vehicle equipped with a mobile breathalyzer unit and other evidence collection tools. Using the vehicle saves the police about 45 minutes per DUI stop.

According to the Lakeland Police Department, recent statistics show that the City of Lakeland was ranked the second most dangerous city in Florida for DUIs with 6.50 DUI deaths per 100,000 residents. The City of Lakeland also claimed to have the highest percentage increase in DUI deaths in the entire state with 19 DUI fatalities from 2015 to 2017. The death rate increased 171% between the three-year period ending in 2017 when compared with the previous three-year period.

Serious problems exist with the alcohol testing program managed by the Lakeland Police Department. If you took a breath test, hire an experienced attorney that can look into those problems.

Attorney for DUI in Lakeland, FL

If you have been arrested for DUI by a DUI enforcement officer with the Lakeland Police Department, then contact an experienced attorney at Sammis Law Firm.

We focus on fighting DUI cases in Polk County and the surrounding areas in the greater Tampa Bay area. Whether you took the breath, blood, or urine test, or refused to submit testing, we can help.

Contact us to discuss the following types of DUI cases:

  • the first arrest for DUI with no prior convictions;
  • the refusal to submit to a breathalyzer to determine the alcohol content of your breath;
  • a blow of over 0.08 or a high blow of 0.15 or more on Florida’s breathalyzer called the Intoxilyzer 8000;
  • the DUI case with property damage or a personal injury after a traffic crash; and
  • the DUI case involving a roadblock or sobriety checkpoint.

After a DUI arrest, you need an attorney who can help you make important decisions about how to fight the accusation. We can explain the importance of demanding a formal review hearing within ten (10) days of the arrest to protect your driver’s license, whether you should enroll in DUI school, and how to fight the charges in court.

Call (813) 250-0500 today.

Lakeland Police Department’s DUI Enforcement Unit

When DUI enforcement officers don’t have adequate training or don’t follow that training properly, they might arrest innocent people. The most obvious way to tell that innocent people are being arrested is by looking at the number of cases in Lakeland, FL, that involve a BAC level below the legal limit of .08, when there is no credible evidence of impairment from any controlled substance.

The Lakeland Police Department has Drug Recognition Evaluators (DREs) that should be called out to investigate suspected cases of driving under the influence of a controlled substance. In many of these cases, however, no DRE is involved in the investigation and the suspect is never asked to undergo a drug recognition evaluation.

Each month, many of these arrests are initiated by DUI Enforcement Officers with the Lakeland County Sheriff’s Office. At least one of these officers has a mobile Intoxilyzer 8000 in the back of the officer’s patrol vehicle.

Problems with Breath Testing in Lakeland, FL

If you allegedly blew over the legal limit of .08 after a DUI arrest by an officer with the Lakeland Police Department, then contact an attorney at Sammis Law Firm to find out why problems with the alcohol testing program might help you avoid a DUI conviction.

The Lakeland Police Department currently maintains at least four (4) breath test machines including Serial Number: 80-001057, Serial Number: 80-001865, Serial Number: 80-003945, and Serial Number: 80-005810.

In every DUI breath test case, we conduct an audit on the Intoxilyzer 8000 machine used in your case. If we find problems, your attorney can file a motion to suppress or exclude the breath test results pursuant to the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure 3.190(h) showing that the breath test results obtained in your case involve a breath test machine that was not in compliance, substantial or otherwise, with the procedures set out in Chapter 11D-8, FAC, Form 39, which are specifically incorporated by reference into the administrative rules, and statutes concerning Florida’s alcohol testing program and implied consent including F.S.S. Section 316.1934(5).

For example, we recently discovered problems with Lakeland Police Department’s breath test machine, an Intoxilyzer 8000 with serial number 80-005810. Problems with the last agency inspection on 01/25/2022 showed that the agency inspector did not comply with the administrative rules because the machine registered the following error/exception messages: “A F / M A: RFI Detect. 05: Interferent Detect” without the reasons for retesting being entered electronically when prompted and properly recorded in the remarks section of FDLE/ATP Form 40. Instead of following the rule on Form 39, the Agency Inspector failed to enter a reason when prompted because he did not know the reason that the machine failed the tests (although he later came up with an inadequate excuse that is inconsistent with the other serious problems that ultimately required FDLE to pull the machine from service and require it to be sent out for repairs). Having such serious errors during a monthly inspection conducted under ideal conditions by a trained agency inspector show this machine has serious problems with RFI and Interferent affecting the results.

Other problems with this machine showed that in 2021, it was sent to FDLE for a department inspection on 06/29/2021. After being returned to the agency, it has to pass a monthly inspection before being returned to service.

During the 07/09/2021 Agency Inspection, the following error/exception messages were generated by the machine: “05: Ambient Fail, Control Outside Tolerance. Non-compliance: .” As a result, the machine was found to be non-compliant with the administrative rules and the agency inspector attempted a second agency inspection later that day that resulted in the following error/exception messages: “05: Control Outside Tolerance, Control Outside Tolerance. Non-compliance: .” As a result, the agency inspector then attempted a third agency inspection before determining that the instrument was in compliance.

From the public records available at the time the motion was filed, it appears the agency inspector for the first two failed inspections on 07/09/2021 failed to remove the instrument from service, notify the Department Inspector, or send the machine off for further inspection at FDLE or repairs at Enforcement Electronics.

On the 09/14/2021 agency inspection, the machine continued to have serious problems because it generated the following error/exception message: “Int Det: Ambient Fail.” Although the agency inspector retested, he failed to comply with the Form
39 rule requirement of entering the reason for retesting when prompted.

For October 10/2021, the first subject test was on 10/02/2021 and references an agency inspection on 09/14/2021 and the last subject test was on 10/31/2021 and
references an agency inspection on 10/27/2021. For breath tests on 80-005810 during 2021, there were no subject tests in November or December and no login for the month of December at all.

Because of serious problems with subject breath tests during that period, this breath test machine was pulled out of rotation during all of November and December and not used again for a subject test until 2/10/22 and only five (5) subject tests were conducted during the entire month of February of 2022.

For the month of 1/2022, there were no subject tests on 80-005810 during the entire month of January, and the agency inspection for that month was conducted on and
the AI that month was on 01/25/2022.

For the month of February of 2022, the first subject test was conducted on 02/10/2022 and the last subject test was conducted on 02/20/2022. No subject tests were conducted in March of 2022 or thereafter.

The agency inspector was unable to get the machine to pass the agency inspection in March despite multiple attempts not properly recorded. As a result, the data from
those failed inspections were not being properly preserved in violation of the administrative rules including the Form 39 rules. Thereafter, out of frustration, the agency inspector finally sent the machine back to FDLE for further inspection.

The serious problems that plagued this breath test machine in 2021 and 2022 finally resulted in FDLE pulling the machine from service after a failed department
inspection on 04/25/2022 that was not properly documented as required by the administrative rules.

During that department inspection, Inspector Taylor D. Gutschow, violated the administrative rules by terminating a department inspection early and then claiming
that compliance was “not determined” with a remark that read: “BYPASSED AI TO OPERATE INSTRUMENT.” Nevertheless, the Instrument Processing Sheet for 04/25/2022 shows that the flow rate was outside of the acceptable range, and the values remained below the acceptable range despite flow calibration attempts and other corrective measures being taken. Because the machine could not pass FDLE’s department inspection, it was removed for service and sent out for repairs.

On 05/16/2022, the agency inspector, Officer Camilo Almedia (date of hire: 10/12/150 authorized the machine to be sent to Enforcement Electronics for an estimate of the price of needed repairs (without authorizing any repairs to actually be conducted) with the reason for return being listed as follows:

“Instrument readings outside the acceptable range despite multiple optical calibrations. Had two “Fault Det Rerun Sol” messages during the 0.040
g/210L portion of the last optical.”

Agency Inspector Officer Camilo Almedia requested an estimate BEFORE any repairs will be authorized or conducted as noted on the Return Material Authorization FDLE/ATP Form 51.

Other machines maintained by the Lakeland Police Department have even more serious problems. For example, FDLE requested corrective action for the machine with serial number 80-003945, because “during the 03/22/2021 monthly inspection, the lot number of the 0.08 g/210 L Test was mistyped. Please see below for the required Cylinder Change Records corrective action.” The same machine failed its monthly inspection on 5/07/2021 and 5/20/2021. Those problems prompted FDLE to again request that Officer Camilo Almedia take corrective action including:

On all of the listed Agency Inspections, the 0.05 and/or 0.08 g/210 L Tests were repeated. The reason for repeating the tests, as well as any corrective action taken prior to repeating them, must be included.

That same machine was unable to pass its annual inspection on 7/1/2022 because the FDLE Department Inspector noted:

Flow values not nominal during Quality Checks, performed Flow Calibration Adjust. Flow values still not nominal after adjustment, performed second adjustment, values remained not nominal. Pressure between barometer and instrument fell outside of 1% between Quality Checks and Department Inspection. Sending instrument to repair.

FDLE requested that the machine be sent out for repairs so Officer Camilo Almedia requested an estimate BEFORE any repairs were authorized.

The Department Inspector Field Notes on FDLE/ATP Form 44 also indicate that FDLE was “[u]nable to audit DGS certificates due to off-site storage. Provided refill of mouth alcohol and acetone per agency’s request.”

TCHS DUI School Program in Lakeland, FL

Pursuant to Administrative Code 15A-10, pursuant to Florida Statutes, the Tri-County Human Services, Inc., (TCHS) DUI School Program is licensed and monitored by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV).

The first step is determining if you should register for the Level I or Level II DUI School Program in Lakeland. Level I is reserved for first-time DUI offenders with no prior arrest requiring a DUI program or no prior DUI program attendance. Level II is reserved for repeat offenders with more than one (1) offense requiring a DUI program or prior DUI program attendance.

Lakeland’s Level I DUI School Program requires:

  • payment of $330.00 which includes a $10.50 service fee and a $7.00 online processing fee;
  • scheduling two (2) days or 12 hours of classroom instruction; and
  • scheduling a one (1) hour substance abuse evaluation.

Lakeland’s Level II DUI School Program requires:

  • payment of $489.50 which includes a $15.00 service fee and a $7.00 online processing fee;
  • scheduling three (3) days or 21 hours of classroom instruction; and
  • scheduling a one (1) hour substance abuse evaluation.

You can register for the Level I or Level II DUI School program online by using a credit card (Visa/MasterCard/Discover). Be sure to print and save your receipt which acts as your proof of registration. The proof that you registered in DUI school will be required if you apply for hardship driving privileges after an administrative suspension at the DHSMV Bureau of Administrative Reviews (BAR).

The BAR might require additional registration information, including proof of the class assignment, for the 10-day Eligibility Review For Restricted DL/Waiver of Administrative Suspension laws.

The failure to complete the DUI program within 90 days of this online payment might result in the forfeiture of all fees paid, violation of probation, and/or license cancellation by DHSMV.

Additional Resources

DUI Enforcement Unit at the Police Department in Lakeland, FL – Visit the website for the City of Lakeland to learn more about the DUI enforcement unit at the Lakeland Police Department. Learn more about an NHTSA BAC study showing that people with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .02 have a higher display of signs of impairment. In 2017, the Records Section of the Lakeland Police Department filed 1,033 adult Notices to Appear, received 2,409 adult arrest affidavits, and delivered 8,981 traffic citations to court. The LPD record section collected $18,869.26 in fees for 2017, scanned 221,565 documents, provided 4,482 reports to customers, and processed 236 DUI reports.DUI Enforcement Officers with the Lakeland Police Department recently scheduled a Safety and Sobriety Saturation Patrol / DUI checkpoint on Friday, August 4, 2017, near Highway 92 (Memorial Blvd.), Florida Avenue, Highway 98 North, and Highway 98 South. Other DUI checkpoints near Lakeland, FL, have been conducted at the 1100 block of North Brunnell Parkway.

DUI School in Lakeland, FL – Visit the website of the Tri-County Human Services to find out how to pre-register for DUI classes and other Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) Programs for driving under the influence in Lakeland, FL. Tri-County has a contract with DHSMV that allows it to manage the Level I and Level II DUI school and classes for people who live or work in Lakeland or the surrounding areas in Polk County. Also find information on Special Supervision Services (SSS) which provides a monitoring program to eligible people with a five, ten, or permanent driver’s license revocation.

Contact Information for DUI School in Lakeland:

Tri-County Human Services
1811 Crystal Lake Drive
Lakeland, FL 33801-5979
Phone: (863)-701-1919

Lakeland Police Department on Twitter – Find out more about the Lakeland Police Department and its 232 sworn officers serving more than 90,000 residents. Learn more about how these officers investigate felony and misdemeanor cases in Polk County.

LPD Sergeant Involved in Dismissed DUI Cases Resigns – An article in THE LEDGER, published on Nov 8, 2013, explains why a longtime Lakeland Police Department Sergeant was accused of failing to complete DUI arrest paperwork and lying under oath to the State Attorney’s Office. The sergeant resigned in 2013 in order to avoid firing. The forced resignation of this DUI enforcement officer in Lakeland, FL, is the latest development in a series of problems with LPD’s DUI enforcement unit. Sgt. Ray Lloyd was also accused of mishandling DUI paperwork because he was accused of altering incomplete DUI reports. Allegedly, he had suspects sign incomplete forms that he filled out later.

MADD in Lakeland and Polk County, FL – The organization that fights for harsher penalties and punishments in DUI cases throughout Florida. MADD has offices throughout the State including an office in Lakeland, FL. Local chapters of MADD often request that judges impose a condition that the person sentenced attend a Victim Impact Panel (VIP) which is organized by the local MADD chapter.

MADD in Lakeland
1421 Commercial Park Drive #1
Lakeland, FL 33801
Phone: 863-668-7422
Fax: 863-668-5282
Email: polk.fl@madd.org

Videos From Lakeland’s DUI Enforcement Unit

Watch a video on YouTube about how the Lakeland Police Department recently won a brand new 2009 Dodge Charger fully equipped for DUI enforcement including a mobile Intoxilyzer 8000 which is the breathalyzer used in Florida.

Video produced by the City of Lakeland Police Department on the dangers of alcohol and drug impaired driving called DUI.

This article was last updated on Friday, September 30, 2022.

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