Ken Eulo, Esq. and Darryl R. Smith, Esq. are attorneys at Smith & Eulo, a law firm based in Orlando that handles cases in central Florida.
They practise criminal defence, civil litigation, personal injury, DUI and traffic law, with a focus on DUI. The pair are both experienced criminal lawyers, and between them have worked on nearly every kind of case there is.
Ken, how did you each get started in criminal law?
Darryl and I started in the law back 7 years ago when we started working at the Public Defender’s Office. I had always wanted to do criminal law since I was 19 years old, after I experienced the unfairness of the criminal justice system first hand. I knew I had always wanted to do something inside the law.
My original aspirations were FBI agent, or something involving Federal police work. However, after my experience at 19 years old I shifted my focus to defending people who were unfairly accused of criminal acts.
What made you decide to start your own law firm?
Darryl’s office was directly next to mine at the juvenile Public Defender’s office when we both started our legal careers. We would spend countless hours hanging out, discussing the law. We went to trial in several cases together. We appreciated each other’s legal knowledge and approach to the law.
After many years of practicing law at the public defender’s office, we felt we were ready to start our own firm. Many of our clients were so happy with the results that they had begged us to start our own firm, and even followed us from the Public Defender’s Office to private practice.
How often would you say you handle a DUI case?
Quite often, all of the attorneys at the law firm have extensive DUI experience. Working at the Public Defender’s Office every law works their way through the system. The lowest court is County traffic court, where each of us spent over a year of our legal experience. A large portion of those cases involved DUI and driving related offenses.
Since starting our criminal defense law firm, a good number of our cases remain DUI. It’s important to stay active practicing criminal DUI cases, as there are many nuances to the law, and the law is constantly changing.
If someone is charged with DUI what should they do (apart from calling your firm)?
Make sure they understand the time limits associated with administrative hearings and basic administrative rights. For example, within 10 days of a DUI, an administrative DL suspension can take effect without the proper steps being taken.
It’s always advisable to get a lawyer involved immediately so that basic administrative rights can be protected, such as keeping a driver’s license.
If someone in Florida is asked to take a breath test, what are their rights?
Specifically, the first refusal of a breath test in Florida is NOT a crime. If a person refuses for a second time in Florida it does become a crime. At the breath test, the Police Officer will advise you that you will lose your license if you refuse to take the test.
While this is partially true, understand that a DUI lawyer is able to challenge the DL suspension at an administrative hearing, even if you refuse to take the breath test.
Are there different penalties for different kinds of DUI offences?
Yes, there are many different penalties for different kinds of DUI offenses. For example, is it your first DUI? Or your second within a 5 year period? Some DUIs require mandatory jail time if it’s within a certain period of time from the last DUI.
There are simply too many different penalties to go through, but know that the consequences an range from merely doing probation to doing significant jail time. Make sure to discuss the penalties for your DUI with your DUI lawyer.
What is the biggest mistake people make when they are charged with DUI?
Not hiring a DUI lawyer. Most people think that they can get through the process by not spending any money on a lawyer. In many cases, the cost a DUI lawyer is significantly less than the real-world damages of having a DUI show up on your permanent record and even the costs associated with DUI school and DUI fines associated with entering a plea to a DUI. In most cases people don’t realize this, but a plea to a DUI means that they receive a mandatory adjudication of guilt.
That means that the DUI will be a permanent mark on their record, which can never be expunged or sealed. In many instances where a person has no criminal record, there are other options available than entering plea to a first-time DUI. The cost of a DUI lawyer now will often save you a lot of money down the road.
Apart from DUI what are some common types of case that your firm handles?
Our firm handles all criminal cases, from state court to federal court. We handle theft cases, robbery cases, battery cases, murder cases, sexually-related cases, and much more.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us!
You can follow up with Ken Eulo, Esq. and Darryl R. Smith, Esq. at www.smithandeulo.com