I recently got a DUI and can not afford a attorney with what I make. I received a summons for a sounding. What is that.

Asked about 1 year ago - Miami, FL

I'm not sure what the law dictates when your pulled over with a flat and while waiting for help fall asleep, but since i was asleep behind the wheel and the truck was running I was charged. Is there anything i can do. This is the first time i have received a DUI . My court date is set for June 26, 2013

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Michael Adam Haber

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . In Miami-Dade County, a "Sounding" is a hearing that occurs 10 days before a trial date. The purpose of the hearing is three-fold: 1) For the State to announce its plea offer, 2) If the offer is rejected then to determine whether both sides are ready for trial in 10 days and 3) If either or both is / are not ready for trial then whether an extension of time (a "continuance") should be granted.

    If you are asleep, in the driver seat of a vehicle that is idling, and you either have a BAC of .08 or are legally impaired, then you can be charged with DUI (you do not need to be conscious to be DUI and your car does not even have to be running); but the State is still obligated to prove-up its case beyond and to the exclusion of reasonable doubt.

    You may or may not have realistic defense(s) to the charge, but in order to determine that you and I would first need to have a face-to-face consultation. Before I offer advise on a case I need to understand, as best I can, the largest possible picture. The only way to start to do this is to sit down and directly discuss the facts and circumstances surrounding your case, with me having the benefit of having also reviewing the (sworn) Arrest Affidavit and Citation(s).

    That said, you should note that, if this is your first DUI and there are no aggravating factors precluding your admission, then the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office has diversionary program (known as "Back on Track" or "BOT") that they will most likely offer to you at Sounding. If you are eligible, and especially if you cannot afford to hire a private lawyer, then you should pay careful attention to the details of the program because if you successfully complete the conditions then the DUI will be dismissed.

    While I routinely represent and assist folks to enroll in an successfully complete BOT, I'm usually also hired more contemporaneous to the arrest and therefore I earn a good portion of my fee in regard to services rendered in connection with the DMV component of DUI cases. In your case, if you are already at Sounding then your DMV issues should essentially be done. Either way, the DMV component of the case requires actual legal work (its 100% lawyer) whereas the BOT component is more secretarial in nature (its 95% client), so the odds are good that you can handle enrollment and completion of BOT all on your own.

    If you are not eligible for BOT (and unless the State certifies that it will not seek jail time for you in the event of a guilty verdict) then you will either be appointed a PD or can hire a private lawyer (or elect to proceed sans-lawyer).

    If you decide to seek private counsel feel free to make an appointment in my office. I've been practicing criminal defense litigation primarily in Miami-Dade County for 21+ years.

    Either way best of luck.

  2. Matthew Phillip Konecky

    Contributor Level 15

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Sounding is when you announce whether are ready for trial. If you cannot afford an attorney, you might be able to get the assistance of the public defender. I would suggest calling area attorney as most will work on a payment plan. Review my website to see if it answers any questions you may have.

  3. Brett Jacob Szematowicz

    Contributor Level 11

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Since the other two attorneys before me answered the question about "sounding," I will address the second part of your question. Even though you were asleep behind the wheel, and the vehicle was not in motion, you can still be charged with a DUI.

    The police and State Attorney's Office will contend that you were in "actual physical control" of your truck. Despite being asleep, you had the ready ability to put the truck in motion at any time (i.e. if you woke up, the truck was already running, you could easily put the truck into Drive). As a point of comparison, if you had put the keys in your trunk, or tossed them in the woods, you would have a much better argument that you were not in "actual physical control" of the truck.

    Should you meet the other requirements of the DUI (that you had a breath alcohol limit of .08 or higher, or you were under the influence of alcohol/drugs to the extent that your normal faculties were impaired), you can definitely be found guilty under the circumstances you described.

    While I understand that you cannot afford an attorney, you should seek the services of the public defender to help you with your case. Good luck to you.

    Any answer given is for general reference and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

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