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MOTION TO SEVER OFFENSES


FLORIDA CRIMINAL CASE FILINGS | HUSSEIN & WEBBER, PL


The following is a sample Motion to Sever Defendants, as filed in a Florida criminal case where the State’s Information joined charges of DUI and Refusal to Give Breath, Urine, or Blood Test. These materials are provided for general reference only, and are not intended as a substitute for legal advice or for legal representation.


MOTION TO SEVER OFFENSES


Defendant, IMA CUSED, by and through undersigned counsel and pursuant to Rule 3.152, Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure, requests this Court to sever charges of offenses joined in the same Information in the above-styled case.  As grounds for this Motion, Defendant states as follows:

1. Defendant is charged by single Information with one count of Driving Under the Influence (Count I) and one count Refusal to Give Breath, Urine, or Blood Test (Count II).

2. Under Rule 3.150(a), Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure (2011), two or more offenses may be charged in the same indictment or information when the offenses are based on the same acts or transactions or on two or more connected acts or transactions.  

3. Although granting or denying a requested severance is within the trial court’s sound discretion, a severance should be granted liberally when prejudice is likely to flow from refusing the severance.  State v. Vazquez, 419 So.2d 1088, 1090 (Fla. 1982).

4. The Florida Supreme Court has stated that, where a count requires proof of a prior conviction, it is better practice to sever the count so as not to deprive a defendant of the presumption of innocence.  Id.  

5. In the instant case, proof of the current Refusal charge would require the State to present evidence of a prior DUI.  

6. Defendant’s prior DUI has no relevance to the current DUI charge, and would unduly prejudice Defendant by depriving Defendant of the presumption of innocence.  

7. Practicality and efficiency cannot outweigh the defendant's right to a fair trial. State v. Vazquez, 419 So. 2d 1088 (Fla. 1982). Furthermore, doubt as to the propriety of severance should be resolved in favor of Defendant, since separate trials could be held without harm to the interests of justice and, in turn, increase the likelihood of a fair and error-free-trial.

WHEREFORE, Defendant respectfully requests that this Honorable Court enter an Order severing Counts I and II from each other and try each charge at separate trial.