DUI Mistakes Worse Than Driving To The Liquor Store On A Lawnmower
At the height of his career, country star George Jones was known as much for his substance abuse issues as his chart-topping hits. His wildly entertaining autobiography, I Lived to Tell It All, covers both topics in depth. In it, he tells the story of the time he was so drunk he drove his lawnmower to the liquor store.
Once, when I had been drunk for several days, Shirley [Corley, his wife] decided she would make it physically impossible for me to buy liquor. I lived about eight miles from Beaumont and the nearest liquor store. She knew I wouldn’t walk that far to get booze, so she hid the keys to every car we owned and left.
But she forgot about the lawn mower. I can vaguely remember my anger at not being able to find keys to anything that moved and looking longingly out a window at a light that shone over our property. There, gleaming in the glow, was that ten-horsepower rotary engine under a seat; a key glistening in the ignition.
I imagine the top speed for that old mower was five miles per hour. It might have taken an hour and a half or more for me to get to the liquor store, but get there I did.
However, if you do take a page out of the Possum’s book and get behind the wheel after having a few, you should not hesitate to fight a DUI charge. At Valiente, Carollo and McElligott PLLC, we defend many Miami area clients who have been charged with a DUI.
To make your case easier to defend, there are certain things you should not do after getting pulled over.
Don’t Crack Jokes About George Jones
If you have been pulled over, don’t try to crack a joke about it or make small talk with the officer. Be polite. Hand over your license and registration if the officer asks you to do so. Then keep your mouth shut.
When an officer pulls you over, everything you do, from your eye movements and mannerisms to where you say you are headed, is being evaluated by the officer to determine whether there is a reasonable suspicion to expand this traffic stop into something more. Don’t give the officer any more material to work with.
Leave As Soon As Possible
When the officer returns your license and registration forms, you should ask if you are free to go. If the answer is yes, leave. If the officer says no, tell him or her that you are choosing to remain silent and you want a lawyer — then don’t say anything else without your lawyer present. If the officer doesn’t really answer your question and instead tries to get you to talk to them a bit more, don’t take the bait. They are fishing for evidence. Ask them again if you can leave.
If you are intoxicated, and the officer lets you leave, pull into a store or restaurant as soon as possible and call someone to come pick you up. You should not be on the roads for safety reasons, but it is also a bad idea to risk getting pulled over twice in one day.
Don’t Hesitate To Contact A Lawyer
A lot of clients tell us they didn’t call a lawyer right away because they didn’t want to seem guilty, or they were worried it would be expensive.
First, the police think everyone is guilty. Even if you have never broken a traffic law in your entire life the police are going to treat you like you are hauling drugs in a stolen vehicle. Saying you won’t speak to police without a lawyer present isn’t going to make things worse.
Second, fighting a DUI charge or another criminal charge is going to be much more expensive than hiring legal help that may keep you from being charged with anything at all. This is one of those situations where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Don’t Assume You Are Guilty
Even if you know you are guilty, and you feel bad about it, you should never take a DUI charge without at least consulting with an attorney first. You can take responsibility for your actions and make amends without paying a huge fine, getting points on your license, and adding to your criminal record.
Florida DUI laws are strict, but they are also complex. Even if you were driving above the legal limit, police misconduct and other mistakes may allow you to avoid conviction. The police shouldn’t get a pass for violating your Constitutional rights just because you feel bad about what you did.
Don’t Get Behind The Wheel Unless You Are Sober As Sunday Morning
This should go without saying, but if you have recently been ticketed for drunk driving, don’t do it again. Getting another ticket while your case is pending is going to make it a lot harder to defend against either charge.
Contact Valiente, Carollo and McElligott PLLC Today
Posted in: DUI