Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Divorced Divorce Attorney

Blog 3: Fa Law Law Law Law 

Santa comes in 40 days!  I know.  I even got a little sick when I typed that.  Every year, the holiday decorations seem to come out earlier and earlier.  If you are divorced or in the middle of dissolution proceedings, then you really need to plan ahead.  The courts are already filled with litigants who can’t figure out holiday timesharing issues.  If you are just figuring out that you can’t agree now, your attorney is likely telling you that you have missed the proverbial boat.  Holiday timesharing motions really need to be filed by September in order for them to be heard before the actual holiday season occurs.  The best thing to do is just figure it out yourselves.

When it’s the first year splitting holidays with kids, parents run into some snags, especially if there isn’t a court order addressing holiday timesharing.  It is best for everyone when the parents figure out that they are the grownups. If someone has to take one for the team, then it should be a grownup, not the kids.  Many of us have fond memories of big family holidays.  I know I’ll never forget running around in my grandparents’ house with all of my cousins.  I couldn’t wait to get to Grandma’s to show off my new dress or play with my new toy all day and eat cookies.  We would stay at Grandma and Grandpa’s until it got dark and then we’d pile into our car and make the drive home and eat leftovers for dinner that night and for days after.  Good times.  My parents were married though.  I didn’t have to leave my cousins to go to a different holiday dinner.  I came and left with the same two parents to every holiday every year.  So how do I make it fun for my son to have happy holidays with both myself and my ex-husband?  This is our first year, so I’ll have to report after January 1st to let you know how we all made it through, but I can share our plan.

A typical holiday timesharing schedule has the parents splitting the holidays.  For example, if you have your kids on Thanksgiving weekend, then you don’t also get them for Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning.  That’s not fair.  Your kids have a right to spend holidays with both parents.  The Fourth Judicial Circuit Guidelines (for the Jacksonville, Florida area) provide that, if you get your kids on Thanksgiving, then you get the kids for the second part of Winter Break, starting on Christmas Day in the afternoon.  If parents can’t agree on something better, then the Fourth Judicial Guidelines are pretty fair except for the fact that in any given year Winter Break can be severely lopsided.  This year, for example, the parent who gets the children for the beginning part of Winter Break will have four overnights during the break and the parent who has the latter part of the break will have 8 overnights if the kids get out of school on December 21st and return on January 2nd.  Christmas falls on a different day of the week every year and depending on where it falls and what the school districts decide, either parent might get less time with the kids.

Someone has to kick off the discussion regarding how the holidays are going to happen.  In my situation, I was the one to start that conversation with my ex-husband.  I knew that whatever happened, there would still be turkey and dressing on Thanksgiving. On Christmas Eve, there would be pickled herring and eggnog after singing carols and presents on Christmas Day.  These are traditions that I have decided that I would carry on from my family.  I realize these were the traditions that I made sure happened during my marriage. Now, I recognize that my ex-husband may take or leave these traditions to begin new ones of his own with our son.  That’s fair enough.  I also recognize that due to the distance between our family, in Florida, and my ex-husband’s family in Wisconsin and Michigan, our son has never had Thanksgiving or Christmas with my in-laws.  Are they still my in-laws?  Are they now my out-laws?  I’ll have a law clerk get right on researching that one, but I digress.  My judgment doesn’t have a strict his and hers split for the holidays.  Since we settled our case out of court we had the freedom to fashion a very Utopian and feel good holiday section of our parenting plan that will do absolutely no good to the court or to either of us if the schnitzel hits the fan.  Our agreement refers to the “spirit of the agreement” and “sharing” and the idea that we work together so that our son gets the benefit of both of our families during the holidays.  My ex initially thought he would be going to the Midwest for Thanksgiving.  I offered to pay for a portion of our son’s ticket so that they could go.  Plans changed so we flexed.  My ex is going to be in town and plans to attend a Thanksgiving dinner with friends of his.  Instead of taking our son for Thanksgiving, he acknowledged that holidays are about family and since my parents and I would be spending the day together, that I could have our son for the day.  Instead of opportunistically cutting my baby daddy out of the holiday, I asked him if he wanted any of the long weekend and he is happy to take it.  The key here is flex.  None of it has happened yet so we’ll have to wait to see if the plan falls apart, but I suspect that we will continue to flex.

I have to admit that our Christmas situation has given me a little heartburn.  I have to also admit that my gracious offering of Thanksgiving was really made easy because my ex had plans to be out of the country for Christmas. I knew that I was super lucky to be getting Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in the very first year of our holiday timesharing.  I love Christmas and for me that was HUGE!  I had a mini-stroke when my ex told me that his plans changed and that he would be in the country for Christmas. I recovered quickly when he said that he would still be out of town.  Last night, I was delivered a bit of a blow when he told me that he isn’t going out of town until the day after Christmas, so he wanted to know what we could work out.  Throat closing, cannot breathe, seeing stars . . . SEEING RED!  I did not, however, overreact.  I was cooler than the other side of the pillow.  I really do want my son to see his daddy on Christmas.  He is going to want to show off what he got from Santa and I’ll bet Santa is going to stop at Daddy’s too . . . blah, blah, flex . . .  I asked what he had in mind.  He said he’d like Christmas Eve and Christmas Day but not all of it.  Okay.  So I thought about what was important to me.  I really want to go to church for the Christmas Eve service and have pickled herring and eggnog when we get back to the house.  Kids hate pickled herring but my kid LOVES eggnog.  So I knew he would enjoy that part and he would like the singing part of church (he’s only 3 - don’t be judgy about the religious stuff).  I asked if my ex would like Christmas Eve until 6:30 or so.  He seemed fine with that and said that he will have friends staying with him so he couldn’t really do the overnight anyway.  After I heard that, everything seemed to fall into place.  My ex isn’t an early riser so I knew I was home free at that point.  I asked him if he wanted me to change my Christmas Dinner to a Christmas Brunch so that he could get our son by noon on Christmas and he said that would probably work.  Again, all of this hasn’t happened yet so I’m sure I’ll stress out plenty until everything falls in line like it always does.

The bottom line is that parents shouldn’t be greedy.  I fully expect that next year I may get neither Thanksgiving nor Christmas, but this year I got the whole enchilada by being more generous to my ex than I needed to be and he has certainly responded in kind by being more than generous to me.  I hope it will make for a happy holiday season for all three of us.

I know this is a very long blog.  I suppose I am making up for missing last week, but I’m going to close with some do’s and don’ts for the holiday season:
  • Do make the best of your time with your child.  Just because you might not have the exact date or hour that you wanted, doesn’t make your time with your child any less special.  Your child won’t remember that you exchanged gifts two days before Christmas, he will remember the look on your face when you opened the multi-colored candy dish that he made you in art class.
  • Do encourage you child to enjoy the time he spends with your spouse or former spouse.  Your child will likely be upset that she isn’t spending time with both you and your spouse during the holidays.  Make separate holidays easier by letting your child know that it’s okay with you that she has a good time with her mom.
  • Don’t disparage your spouse or your spouse’s family in front of your child.  Slamming your ex-mother-in-law’s bad cooking or inability to give good gifts is bad for your child, who has to go over to Grandma’s house and eat turkey with lumpy gravy and look excited when he opens a pack of tube socks.  You shouldn’t make that harder.
  • Don’t make last minute requests to change plans unless it can’t be avoided.  I’m a huge fan of being flexible and cooperative, but please be respectful of the fact that your spouse or former spouse has made the same efforts you have to carefully plan for the holidays.  Changing the day you want to go visit your Grandma with the children to the day that your husband already made plans to bake cookies with the kids interferes with your spouse’s plans and with your children’s plans.  Both of you had months to plan.

Be kind to each other and let your kids enjoy the holidays without feeling like Thanksgiving is Daddy’s and Christmas is Mommy’s.  Let them know that both you and your spouse know that all the holidays are for the enjoyment of the children.  Let them know by making the holidays about them and not you.

Happy Holidays,

Corrine Bylund, Esquire
Zisser, Brown, Nowlis, & Cabrey P.A.
One Independent Drive #3306
Jacksonville, FL 32202

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Divorced Divorce Attorney

Blog 2: When Is It Over?

Making the decision to end a marriage is difficult.  When has it been enough?  When is it over?  This is a personal decision.  Some people have more patience than others.  Sometimes there are legal reasons to stay married, even if the love is gone.  Every situation is different.  A family law lawyer’s job isn’t to decide when a marriage is over, her job is to help the client to the resolution of the divorce proceedings whether through settlement or trial.  Going through my own divorce hasn’t changed my position on that.  However, I am now, more than ever, a proponent of marriage counseling.

Many people don’t know that the divorce statute starts with a section that actually states that the purpose of the statute is to preserve the family.  Sometimes families can be preserved by staying married.  Sometimes the only way to preserve a family is to dissolve the marriage.

Marital counseling must work for some people.  I don’t know any, but I’m sure they are out there.  As a divorce attorney, I don’t really get to see the success stories of marital counseling.  By the time people come to see me, it is normally over.

The court can order two parties to attend counseling.  I have seen a judge do it.  From a practical standpoint, however, the court cannot force both parties to participate meaningfully. 

I opted to try counseling before I filed for divorce.  I hoped for some kind of miracle.  I hoped that the therapist would say something profound; something that would enlighten my husband and I.  There had to be something simple that we were missing.  We are two educated individuals who both love our son.  We have mostly the same values, blah,  blah, blah. . .  Fix us! 

When my realization that it was really over came, in an individual therapy session, it wasn’t what I wanted.  There was no magic pill or touchy feely exercise that would fix my marriage.  Fixing a marriage takes two people who want to fix the marriage.  I found out that I was the one who didn’t want to fix the marriage anymore.  I was over it.  I was nearly through the grieving process already.  My unhappiness in the relationship had gone on for too long and I couldn’t come back from it or, according to my therapist, I didn’t want to come back from it. 

If you are reading this blog because you are unhappy but you have not passed the proverbial point of no return, do not stop, do not pass go, go straight to therapy!  Do everything you can to save your marriage because divorce is really no fun at all.

Florida is a no fault state.  Neither party needs a reason to get a divorce other than that they feel the marriage is irretrievably broken.  Even in uncontested matters, the court will ask for testimony regarding this.  The question will be asked, “Is there any amount of counseling that the court could order, that you feel could save your marriage?”  How could one really know the answer unless they have tried.  I personally feel that the difficult decision to end a marriage should be made by an individual after she has a grip on whether the marriage can be saved and after all attempts to save the marriage, including counseling, have been exhausted.  I love helping people and I am happy to have been chosen by many people to be the attorney who helps them through a divorce but I am even happier for the folks that I never get to see because they were able to fix it. 

Until next time,

Corrine Bylund, Esquire
Zisser, Brown, Nowlis, & Cabrey P.A.
One Independent Drive #3306
Jacksonville, FL 32202

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Divorced Divorce Attorney

Blog 1: The Divorced Divorce Attorney

I have been in the divorce business for a little over fourteen years.  I started as a paralegal at a small firm in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and handled divorce files for four years there.  When I was in my second year of law school, I started as a law clerk doing research and writing for Barry Zisser, Elliot Zisser, Don Brown, Nancy Nowlis and Brian Cabrey.  I was lucky enough for them to keep me after I graduated and I have now been practicing as an attorney for a little over seven years.  Over the past fourteen years, I have worked with hundreds of clients and felt that I had a firm grip on the issues that people encounter in divorces.  I thought I had learned to strike a pretty good balance in being compassionate while still managing clients and their expectations.  It wasn’t until I became a mother myself that I became a little more sensitive to children’s issues. Then, it wasn’t until I went through my own divorce that I realized things I thought were minor were really kind of major when viewing them through the eyes of someone going through a divorce.

Today, I was having a discussion with a judge and an opposing attorney.  We were talking about communication and how important it is that two parents get past their hang ups about the divorce and put the children first.  I shared that I felt I was lucky.  My ex-husband and I aren’t buddies.  I would say that we don’t even get along that well.  However, he knows that if he needs to talk about our son or if he needs help with our son, he can call me and I won’t backhand him with some motion about how incompetent he is the following week.  I know that if I need him to pick up our son from school on two Thursdays in a row, that are supposed to be my Thursdays, he isn’t going to tell me it is my problem and he isn’t going to sling it in my face that I am some kind of absentee mother that puts my career before our son.  Everyday issues that we, two people who couldn’t save our marriage and two people that don’t even like each other sometimes, work out without issue are turned into motions and brought into the courts for judges to decide.  The judges who manage several hundred files at one time and who might rule on issues involving egregious child abuse in the same day that someone wants them to decide whether it is appropriate for a 7 year old to have a cellular phone.

The judge I was speaking to and my opposing counsel both agreed that I was not typical.  Opposing counsel suggested, as we were walking out of the courthouse together, that I should start a blog to share my experience and maybe help others through the difficulties of divorce.

I’m certainly not perfect and I’m sure that some people will disagree with how I choose to handle my life but here I am, starting a blog and hoping that something that I post will be helpful to someone.  Love, Cori

Corrine Bylund, Esquire
Zisser, Brown, Nowlis, & Cabrey P.A.
One Independent Drive #3306
Jacksonville, FL 32202

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Attorney Elliot Zisser Named the Best Lawyers’ 2013 Jacksonville Family Law "Lawyer of The Year"

JACKSONVILLE, FL, September 25, 2012 – Zisser, Robison, Brown, Nowlis, Maciejewski &Cabrey P.A. is proud to announce that their managing partner, Attorney Elliot Zisser, is named the Best Lawyers' 2013 Jacksonville Family Law, "Lawyer of the Year." Only a single lawyer in each practice area in each community is being honored as the “Lawyer of the Year". In addition, Attorney Zisser was selected by his peers to be included in The Best Lawyers in America, 19th Edition for his work in the practice area of Family Law. 

“It was a complete surprise to be selected for this honor. There are many fine family lawyers in Jacksonville and in this firm. Being selected with input from my peers into the process is very gratifying and humbling,” said Attorney Elliot Zisser. Mr. Zisser’s listing in the 2013 edition marks 25 years of this exclusive selection by his peers as one of the best in his specialty.

Partner and brother, Attorney Barry Zisser said, “I am so proud of my brother and I know our parents would be just as proud!” Barry and Elliot Zisser have worked together at Zisser, Robison, Brown, Nowlis, Maciejewski & Cabrey P.A. for the past 41 years. 

About Attorney Elliot Zisser
Attorney Elliot Zisser is Florida Bar Board Certified in Marital and Family Law. Mr. Zisser has practiced family law for over forty years in Jacksonville, Florida for the law firm of Zisser, Robison, Brown, Nowlis, Maciejewski & Cabrey. He has many honors including being named to Thomson Reuters Super Lawyers Magazine, Florida Trend Magazine’s Legal Elite, and Jacksonville Magazine’s Best Lawyers List. Additionally Elliot Zisser holds Martindale-Hubble’s highest preeminent AV rating and a 10 out of 10 Superb AVVO rating. 

If you would like additional information, please call Caroline Geoghegan at (904) 353-3222 or e-mail at

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

“Safety Tips: How to Keep You and Your Family Safe this Summer”

With the summer months approaching, people become more active and families embark on vacations.  Whether you go out of town for vacation, or stay at home, the following tips will help keep you safe and healthy, and will allow you to enjoy the summer without experiencing a serious incident:

1.     When traveling, do not let children go off alone. This is particularly important when stopping at gas stations, quick stops, rest areas, or for food. Have an adult or an older child accompany younger children to restrooms, and make sure that children know not to engage in conversation with strangers.

2.      Be careful in shopping center parking lots while getting gas for you car.  An emerging crime here in Jacksonville, and in the Florida area, is purse snatching and identity theft. Do not leave your purse exposed on the car seat, and make sure to lock your car when pumping gas. If you are leaving a shopping center mall after daylight hours, have a security officer or guard accompany you to your car.  When leaving the mall during daylight hours, be aware of your surroundings. If at any time you feel that you are being followed or approached, take steps to alert others such as screaming, yelling, or pushing the panic button on your key to your automobile. If you are in your car, and are approached by a stranger, sound the horn and pull away if possible. This is a perfect example of how an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

3.      Prevent sunburn and treat insect bites promptly. Many families head outdoors and go camping or hiking during the summer. The sun causes damage to people of all skin tones, and therefore everyone should take precaution and wear sun screen of SPF 15 or higher.  Insect bites (i.e mosquitoes, chiggers, gnats, etc.) can cause local skin discomfort and sometimes generalized sickness. Treat bites appropriately and apply alcohol to the affected area. If swelling or other localized pain and discomfort intensifies go to the emergency room or see a doctor immediately.  Some insect and other bites can cause serious allergic reactions in some people.

4.      Plan for emergencies or delays when traveling.  When traveling by car, make sure that you take water and snacks with you in the event that you break down and have an extended wait for help to arrive.  Also, take a fully charged cell phone with you on your trip along with your phone charger, and make sure that someone at home knows where you will be, how long you will be away, and your expected date of return. Check your spare tire and fluid levels before departing on your trip. When children are traveling without their parents for an extended period, make sure they call home daily to check in. When traveling by air, make sure that you stay aware of your surroundings, and advise airline personnel of any suspicious activity.

5.     Boating safety. Just as drinking does not mix well with driving, the same is true with drinking and boating. Most boating-related injuries and deaths involve alcohol and/or lack of preparation in the event of an emergency. If you are responsible for operating the boat/vessel do not drink. Make sure those aboard the vessel follow local laws concerning open containers. Also ensure that there are life preservers/floatation devices available for each occupant on board the boat. Obey wake zones and speed limits and do not allow horseplay or recklessness aboard the vessel at any time. If the weather is threatening, do not travel too far from shore, or better yet, make the decision not to go boating that particular day. 

6.      Motorcycles. Sunny days are great for riding motorcycles. Motorcyclists as a group are some of the safest people on the road, its automobile drivers that are most often responsible for causing motorcycle accidents.  Remember that as a motorcyclist you are a smaller target and may be in some other vehicle’s blind spot.  When passing or turning, properly clear yourself and always use turn and arm and hand signals when required. Make sure that you have a fully operational horn on your motorcycle, and don’t forget to wear a helmet and protective clothing.

7.     Barbecue Grills. Summer is a time for having parties, picnics, and barbecues. Before using your grill, do a visual inspection to make sure that the hoses are not worn or frayed, and that your propane tank is not rusted or corroded. Use only propane tanks that have an overfill protection device (OPD). If there is any doubt about the safety of your grill, have someone professionally inspect and repair the grill, or buy a new one.  Many injuries and deaths are caused every year due to exploding propane gas grills.

8.      Drinking and driving simply do not mix. If you are out at a party, a restaurant, or visiting with friends and you intend to consume alcohol, assign a designated driver or make the decision to take a taxi to and from your destination.  When in doubt, always call a cab. A DUI is not only an embarrassment, but it will also cause you to have a record.  It is far less expensive to take a taxi than it is to pay a fine for a DUI. Be smart and think ahead.

Summer is a time for fun, and by following these safety tips you are more likely to avoid accidents, and have a memorable, enjoyable and injury-free summer vacation.

Consumer Justice Attorney
Zisser Robison Brown Nowlis Maciejewski & Cabrey, P.A.
1 Independent Drive, Suite 3306
Jacksonville, FL 32202

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Privacy Please

Privacy, Please

            What you post on Facebook can be used against you in a court of law. Did you really think that Facebook status or Tweet about your soon to be ex-spouse would never be seen again? Think again. In today’s court room, family law attorneys are using social media outlets, e-mails, and texts as evidence, against the opposing party.
            In the past, young people were warned to never write anything in a letter or anyplace else that they would be ashamed to see as a headline in the next day’s newspaper. Obviously, times have changed. Social media is overflowing with news of celebrity activity. Reality shows on television are highly popular. Now many peoples’ greatest desire is to become famous and to have all aspects of their lives as an open book.
            However, as Charlie Sheen, Britney Spears, and some others have found to their sorrow, when they are in court, incidents in their private lives that at one time seemed like an amusing lark look very different when their ability to spend time with or raise their children is at issue.
            Peoples’ personal lives are increasingly being examined in the court room through social media outlets that they have themselves created. Facebook posts are not private. A teacher from Georgia recently lost her job because a school board member somehow saw a post on her Facebook with a picture of her, drink in hand, and a reference to partying.
            E-mail messages, text messages, and Twitter can all be brought into the court under the appropriate circumstances.  One cannot assume that messages in which a spouse vents about their partner’s behavior, exults in a goings-on during a lost weekend, or shares information about a negligent incident with a child, will not be put before a Judge for consideration. Also, if you leave an angry or vulgar message on your spouse’s phone, you could end up in court feeling quite embarrassed as the judge listens to that message. Unpleasant messages that convey a threat can be the basis for entry of domestic violence injunction against you.
            Currently, e-mails, texts, and other forms of technological communication, are part of many peoples’ daily lives. The old adage, “How would you like to read this as a front page headline tomorrow?”, is still applicable. No one anticipates being involved in litigation that includes scrutiny of their private life. However, thinking twice before sharing graphic pictures and you most raw feelings with others can save much grief in the future. 

Friday, December 30, 2011

DUI's Make A New Year Not So Happy

New Year’s Eve is a time to celebrate, make resolutions, and ring in the 2012 year with some adult beverages. DUI’s make a New Year not so happy.  As wonderful as our City is, we suffer from a severe lack of practical public transportation and often times we have to drive long distances between where we live and where we want to go for fun. Police officers know this. We see them hanging out at busy intersections, at the bottom of our most traveled bridges, and in the middle of Jacksonville’s entertainment zones...waiting. You just finished dinner with friends and had a couple cocktails while you waited for your table. You are by yourself and have to drive home. Your last drink was over an hour ago and your home is 30 minutes away. You feel fine so you get in your car and head home. Then something that you did not expect happens, you get pulled over.

DUI is a serious crime. While it may only be a misdemeanor in the criminal Statutes, it’s serious because of the impact getting a DUI can have on your life. Imagine how difficult your life would become if you woke up tomorrow knowing you could not drive for at least six months. DUI is one of the only crimes on the books where you can be arrested purely on the police officer’s subjective opinion. This is important because while a police officer may believe you are under the influence, there are many things you can do to eliminate the evidence that you are under the influence. This begins while you’re driving.

While you are driving, eliminate any basis a police officer may have for pulling you over. Use common sense. When you’re driving at night, especially on the weekend, DO NOT SPEED. Use your turn signals when changing lanes. Stop completely at stop signs. Don’t accelerate through yellow lights. Don’t screech your tires. Any of the above will get you pulled over. If a police officer has no basis to pull you over, you can’t be charged with DUI. Before you start driving, know exactly where your license, registration and proof of insurance are. If a police officer sees you fumble for these documents, he will assume they are indicators of impairment.

If you happen to get stopped, especially late at night on a weekend, first remain calm and have your license, registration and proof of insurance ready for the police officer. Don’t give him or her any reason to suspect anything more than a traffic violation. If the officer starts asking you questions, speak slowly and calmly and answer the officer’s questions directly, but don’t admit to drinking alcohol under any circumstances. It is not against the law to drink and drive.

If the officer asks you to step out of the car you must comply. But, if the officer asks you to perform field sobriety exercises, you have no legal obligation to do so. These "exercises" are not exercises at all, but tests. They are tests designed to be failed. No one practices walking nine steps heel to toe in a straight line in two directions. Studies have shown that the majority of people, who attempt the standard field sobriety exercises sober, fail them. If you are not wearing flat soled shoes, have a bad knee, a bad back, are sick, even if you’re just cold, you have a valid reason for refusing the field sobriety exercises. Tell the officer why you don’t feel comfortable performing them. If you’ve had anything to drink, it’s most likely in your best interest not to perform them. If you don’t have a specific reason to refuse them, there’s nothing wrong in saying that you just don’t feel comfortable. If you haven’t had anything to drink, or you are otherwise sober, and you do feel comfortable performing the exercises, only perform the exercises if the officer can videotape you. This is important because regardless of how well you THINK you did, the officer will find things you did wrong. He won’t focus on the eight times you stepped correctly on the line, he’ll focus on the two times you didn’t. Or the fact you stood on one leg for the entire 30 seconds, he’ll focus on your arms going up and down to keep your balance. Once the officer writes a narrative of your performance, you won’t have any proof of how you actually did unless you have a videotape.

If the police officer does find probable cause that you are under the influence of alcohol, you will likely be arrested and taken to the police department. Once you are under arrest, you have the right to remain silent. Do not say anything at this point. Anything you say absolutely will be used against you. If you cry, the officer will interpret this as a sign of impairment. Any time you speak, you give the officer the ability to say that your speech is slurred, which is an indicator of impairment. If you are taken to the police station after being arrested for DUI, you will be given a breath test by blowing into an intoxilyzer; a machine that analyzes your breath to determine how much alcohol you have in your blood. Studies have shown these machines to be inaccurate. Refusal to provide a breath sample will result in your license being suspended for six months. If you don’t give a breath sample, there will be no evidence of your blood alcohol level. Therefore, if you haven’t had anything to drink, it is safe to give a breath sample. If you HAVE had anything to drink, even though you may not feel intoxicated or under the influence, an intoxilyzer that hasn’t been properly calibrated, can give a false reading. In other words, it could produce a reading of .09 when you are really .07. Once that test has been performed, it can’t be undone. However, if the officer had no probable caus e to pull you over in the first place or had no probable cause to arrest you, and you refuse to give a breath sample, you can challenge the automatic six month suspension by requesting a hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 days of being arrested.

Unfortunately, DUIs can happen to anyone. They do not discriminate on the basis of wealth, race, sex, or skin color. Every night of the week people just like you or I could get arrested for DUI who are not guilty of driving while under the influence to the point their normal faculties are impaired. Sometimes it’s about being at the wrong place at the wrong time. If you take all the right precautions and still get arrested, an experienced attorney with significant training and expertise in handling DUI cases can help you. Please stay safe this New Year’s weekend.

DUI Attorney
Zisser Robison Brown Nowlis Maciejewski & Cabrey, P.A.
(904) 353-3222