Driving Under the Influence

by Thomas Shawn Lupella on May. 04, 2015

Criminal DUI-DWI 

Summary: Attorney Shawn Lupella is an aggressive DUI Defense Attorney and serves the communities of Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Sandestin, Santa Rosa Beach, Navarre, Niceville, Mary Esther, Crestview, and throughout Okaloosa County, Walton County, and Santa Rosa County.


As you may already be aware, you have TWO major areas of concern when dealing with a misdemeanor or felony DUI arrest: your charges in the County Court system and the status of your Driver’s License with the Florida DHSMV.  The first, and most important, is the DUI charge in the court system. The result here will determine whether or not you are convicted for DUI or if your charges will be reduced or dismissed because of a mistake the police made or some other defense strategy. The court result will have a direct impact on your criminal record. That is why my primary focus is on the court related litigation of your case, because the end result is the most important.

The second area of concern is your ability to drive and keep your Driver’s License. Here in Florida, just like almost any other state, we need to be able to drive in order to work, go to school, and simply live. Because a DUI arrest or breath test refusal can subject your to a Driver’s License suspension, it is important that you know what options are available so that we can maximize your ability to drive.


Sometimes after a failed field sobriety test or BAC test, the police officers tell you about the 10 day rule, sometimes you have to find out for yourself, but either way, the clock is ticking on your driver’s license privileges! What this means is that you only have 10 calendar days from your arrest date to request one of two options:

  1. Formal Review Hearing in the Okaloosa County Court for arrests in Fort Walton Beach, Destin or elsewhere in Okaloosa County. Legally challenge the validity of the Driver’s License Suspension in an administrative review hearing.
  2. If you have no prior DUI arrests, you may apply for the “Waiver Review” process which waives your formal claim to challenge the DUI suspension, but gives you the incentive of being able immediately reinstate your ability to drive for business or hardship purposes with no “hard no driving” or “hard suspension” period.

During your free initial consultation, we can discuss these two administrative review options and I can advise you, based on your individual needs and circumstances, to make an informed decision that will best suit your individual situation.


I will personally handle your case at every critical stage, from start to finish. My representation includes:

  1. Defending your Driver’s License at the formal review hearing with the Florida DHSMV (Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles) or facilitating in the waiver review process if you elect for an extended hardship permit.
  2. Filing the necessary court documents to satisfy your initial court date (plea day or arraignment) to negate the necessity of your appearance. (This is imperative if you are from out of town or were visiting on vacation.)
  3. Demanding all evidence, including arrest reports and radio logs, breath testing machine inspection reports, witness statements, and videos.
  4. Filing all pre-trial motions and setting hearings for any legal or factual issue that could potentially lead to a reduction in charges or a dismissal.
  5. Engaging in meaningful negotiations with the State prosecutor to get the best plea offer possible for the client’s consideration; or proceeding to a jury trial to fight for a NOT GUILTY verdict.

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