Saturday, May 25, 2024

DUI News Blog

The Latest DUI News and Information From DUI Defense Attorneys Across the Country

Florida switches from Frye to Daubert

Beginning July 1, 2013 Florida law changed.  Florida had been using the Frye standard; however, we have now switched to what is known as the Daubert standard.  The Daubert standard comes from the Supreme Court’s 1993 decision in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

The old standard, Frye, focused on the underlying scientific principles looking to see if they are sufficiently established and have gained general acceptance in their field.  Florida’s new law is found in section 90.702 which was amended to abolish the Frye standard.  Now evaluation of expert testimony is patterned after Daubert and Federal Rule of Evidence 702 adding the federal three prong test for determining whether expert testimony is admissible.

Expert witness testimony will now be admissible if such testimony is (1) based on sufficient facts or data, (2) the product of reliable methods and principles, and (3) the expert witness has applied those principles and methods reliably to the facts in the case.  Of course, the threshold question of whether the evidence will assist the trier of fact in deciding the matter, and whether or not the expert is properly qualified must still be asked.  An expert is properly qualified if they have specialized knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education.

For clients accused of DUI, this has several ramifications.  First, those who are administered the Field Sobriety Test known as the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus have a new tool to challenge the admission of the results.  Second, otherwise admissible breath test results will not be admissible unless the state can show that the data are the product of reliable methods and principles.  In reality, under the new law, prior to the admissibility of their evidence, the state will have to prove that the test is reliable and incorporates valid science.  Both the HGN and the Breath Test are allegedly scientific tests which would require adherence to the new standard.  As of this writing, I am unaware of a local State Attorney’s office attempting to meet the new standard.  However, a properly trained and experienced DUI defense attorney should be able to raise significant challenges to the reliability of either of the two tests.

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David Katz

David Katz

David Katz is one of only 4 Board Certified DUI Defense Experts practicing in the State of Florida. David achieved recognition as a DUI Defense Expert in July of 2012 from the National College for DUI Defense, the only organizations accredited by the American Bar Association to award Board Certification in the area of DUI Defense. A founding partner of Katz & Phillips, P.A., David Katz is a former Assistant State Attorney and DUI / Intoxilyzer Lead Attorney with the Seminole County State Attorney’s Office. David has prosecuted cases in both Orange and Seminole Counties. Chosen by the Florida Prosecuting Attorney’s Association, David taught DUI trial skills to new prosecutors statewide. As the Seminole County Intoxilyzer Lead Attorney he received unique training and experience with the Intoxilyzer 8000, including access to the manufacturer of the device, which he now uses to aid in the defense of DUI cases. David has been the featured speaker at Continuing Legal Education Seminars focused on DUI Defense, lecturing to attorneys practicing DUI defense throughout the country. David is also the author or co-author of nine books on DUI defense including three Inside the Minds series books focusing on DUI cases. As a defense attorney David has focused his practice on DUI defense and has played a key role in the suppression of thousands of breath test results in Central Florida and surrounding areas, acting as the lead attorney in suppression hearings focusing on source code and machine malfunction issues. David is truly focused on his clients needs. He has received the 2012 AVVO Client Choice Award and the 2013 Client Distinction Award from Martindale-Hubbell. Further, David was recently featured in NEWSWEEK Magazines' 2012 Showcase of Leading Criminal Defense Attorneys. The only dedicated DUI defense attorney to be featured this year. PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS: The National College for DUI Defense The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers The Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers The Central Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers The American Bar Association The Florida Bar Association The Orange County Bar Association The Seminole County Bar Association The Lake County Bar Association DUI is not recognized as a specialized area of law in Florida, therefore Mr. Katz is not certified as a Specialist by the Florida Bar.

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