What Are My Rights if I Am Pulled Over for a DUI?
Being pulled over and arrested for a DUI is an unpleasant and distressing experience. While no one plans for it to happen, good people make mistakes. It’s important you know your rights in the event that you are pulled over under suspicion of DUI.
What is a DUI?
In Florida, you are driving under the influence (DUI) if you have either a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .08 or higher or if your normal faculties are impaired and you are in actual physical control of a vehicle. You can also be charged with a DUI even if your BAC is below the legal limit provided that the police make observations about your appearance or behavior; detect the odor of alcohol or marijuana; or find an open container in your vehicle. Further, you can be charged with DUI if you are driving while impaired by prescription drugs or over-the-counter medication.
What is Florida’s Implied Consent Law?
Under Florida’s implied consent law, if you are lawfully arrested by an officer who has probable cause to believe that you have been driving under the influence, you consent to take a chemical test of your blood, breath or urine to determine your BAC or the presence of drugs in your system. You may be asked to take more than one test. If the officer first chooses a breath test, they can make you take an additional test, which you cannot refuse without penalty.
What Do I Do if I’m Pulled Over on Suspicion of DUI?
First, have your driver’s license, registration, and insurance ready to provide to the officer, and make sure your hands remain on the upper part of the steering wheel. The officer will be watching your every move and paying careful attention to every word you say, so speak and act cautiously and deliberately. Be polite, and do not discuss any alcoholic beverages you may have consumed prior to driving.
If the officer asks you to get out of your car, remember that this is a request and not a command. Consequently, you are able to reply to this request by saying something like, “Officer, I am concerned that it is not safe for me to exit my car to get out onto the roadway, so I would prefer to remain inside my car.” If the officer says they need you to perform sobriety field exercises, you can tell the officer you are not familiar with that exercise and would prefer not to attempt them without an attorney present.
Finally, remember that a breathalyzer test is not required by law until after you are arrested. You will be not be asked or required to take a breathalyzer test while still in your car or on the roadway. However, you should know that your license can be suspended for 6 months if you refuse to take a breathalyzer test when lawfully requested.
What Do I Do if I Am Charged With a DUI?
Just because you have been charged with a DUI does not mean you are guilty of DUI, nor does it mean you are a bad person who should suffer the consequences of the DUI for the rest of your life. The attorneys at Valiente, Carollo and McElligott PLLC are ready to offer you compassionate, expert legal services and to defend you to the fullest extent. Contact Valiente, Carollo and McElligott PLLC today to discuss your options.
Posted in: DUI