Florida Court Discusses Certiorari Relief in Criminal Cases

DUI crimes carry significant penalties compared to other violations of traffic laws, and a DUI conviction can irreparably harm a person’s driving privileges and career prospects. Some people accused of DUI offenses are eligible to enter into pretrial intervention programs, which essentially divert their cases away from the criminal justice system, allowing them to avoid convictions. If a DUI defendant’s request to enter into a pretrial intervention program is unjustly denied, they may be able to seek certiorari relief. Recently, a Florida court discussed when certiorari relief is available in a case in which it ultimately granted the defendant’s petition for such relief. If you are accused of committing a DUI offense, it is prudent to contact a knowledgeable Clearwater DUI defense lawyer to evaluate your possible defenses.

The Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the defendants were four veterans who were charged with DUI offenses. They moved to be accepted into a pretrial veteran’s treatment intervention court program (PVTIP), but their entry was denied. They sought certiorari review, and the court granted their petition and determined they were entitled to a determination by the trial court as to whether they should be admitted into the program. The trial court ultimately ruled that it did not have the authority to compel the state to spend funds to supervise the defendants in the PVTIP program but offered them admittance into the post adjudicatory program. The defendants rejected the offer and sought a writ of certiorari to quash the order denying them entry into PVTIP.

Certiorari Relief in Florida Criminal Cases

In order to obtain certiorari relief in a Florida criminal case, the party seeking such relief must show that the order deviates from the key requirements of the law, that it causes material harm, and that the party lacks a sufficient remedy on appeal. The final two elements are jurisdictional and must be evaluated before the court can consider the first element.

In the subject case, the court found that the defendants met the jurisdictional prongs in that if they were precluded from receiving the benefits of PVTIP, it would cause irreversible harm. The court explained that, contrary to the trial court’s assertions, the law determining eligibility for PVTIP did not create an exception for people charged with DUI crimes. Further, it did not permit the state to determine whether to approve or disapprove of the admission of any veteran that was eligible into the PVTIP. Based on the foregoing, the court granted the defendant’s petition.

Speak to a Trusted Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorney

A conviction for a DUI offense can result in significant penalties and permanent harm to a person’s reputation. If you are accused of a DUI crime, it is in your best interest to speak to an attorney regarding your rights. The trusted Clearwater criminal defense attorneys of Hanlon Law can advise the circumstances surrounding your arrest and help you to seek the best outcome possible under the facts of your case. You can reach Hanlon Law via the online form or by calling 727-897-5413 to set up a conference.

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