You have a broken taillight, you were driving too closely to the person in front of you, or you failed to use your turn signal — chances are, you were not pulled over for a suspected DUI, you were pulled over for some minor traffic violation and now the officer thinks you might have been drinking.
Before you find yourself in this situation, you should make sure you have a game plan in place in the event you stopped on your way home from work and had a cold one — or two. Driving after drinking is never a good idea but being prepared in the event of a stop is important. Here’s what you should know:
- Do not make sudden moves — once you have pulled your car over to the side of the road, keep your hands on the steering wheel and do not make any sudden moves. Leave your seatbelt on. Do not get out of the vehicle until you have been instructed to by law enforcement officers.
- Do not be combative — if a law enforcement officer asks you to get out of your car, do so. Whatever they command you to do, including showing your license, registration, and insurance papers, you should do with as little fuss as possible. Be respectful!
- Do not give too much information — you do not have to answer questions beyond your name, date of birth and address. If you are asked about where you have been, if you have had anything to drink, or where you are going, you do not need to answer these questions. Simply refuse — politely — but refuse. Remember, you have a Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, use it.
- Do not submit to a field sobriety test — these tests are not mandatory and there is often no good which can come from undergoing such a test. These are the tests in which an officer will ask you to walk in a straight line, touch your finger to the tip of your nose, or stand on one leg. Just refuse these tests. Remember, no arguments, just let the officer know you will not undergo this test.
From here, things will get tricky. Chances are the officer at the scene may ask you to submit to a breathalyzer test. Unless you are under arrest, you do not have to submit to these tests, despite Florida being an implied consent state per Florida Statutes 316.1932(2)(c). Chances are, this may result in your being arrested.
Immediately Following an Arrest
Once arrested, ask to contact an attorney. Do not submit to any breath or chemical tests and do not answer any questions. At this point, you may be asked to submit once again to a breathalyzer test and/or a chemical test. Generally, it is a good idea to refuse these tests, but you must be aware of the consequences of doing so. What this means is if you refuse a breathalyzer test, you will lose your license for a period of not less than 12 months, assuming this is your first refusal.
Advise the arresting officer you wish to speak with a criminal defense attorney at Hardball Law and call us immediately at 941-807-7555. Remember, you are going to need an attorney for not only the DUI charge and may need an Administrative Hearing at the Florida DMV. You only have 10 days from your arrest to request such a hearing to request a hardship license, or a work permit license. Do not wait, contact us immediately.