I am sure everyone wants to get to the actual “what to do if…” so I will cut to the chase and give you the tips first, and then describe a typical scenario. Remember that every case is different, but here are a few helpful tips.
So, What Should You do, if You Get Pulled Over?
- If you can help it, do not drink and drive, this is probably the best advice I can give you. But see an explanation below, of what is actually illegal in the State of Florida.
- As a preemptive strike, it is better to put your registration and insurance in an easily reachable place in your car, so you don’t fumble to find it, and then it is used against you as a sign of impairment (see example below).
- If you are pulled over, be polite to the officer. There is no need to be rude or difficult, this will increase your chances of going to jail or worse yet pick up another charge, such as resisting arrest without violence.
- “What should I say?” On the front end, be cooperative. You can provide your basic information, such as your name and where you live. Stop there.
- Please don’t say “I had two drinks.” I heard this over and over as a prosecutor, works like a charm in a jury trial.
- Remember you don’t have to answer other any questions, so anything beyond your basic information, don’t answer. Common examples are “where are you coming from?” and “how much and what you had to drink?”
- “What about Field Sobriety Tests?” just like with answering questions, you don’t have to take them. There is not law that says, you have to take them.
- “Can I search your car?” your answer should be “No!” without your consent, they need a lawful basis to do it. If you agree, you consent to the search.
- “Should I take the breath test?” I would suggest you don’t take the breath test, unless you have consulted with an experienced attorney. However, please note that if you have refused in the past, the refusal will be considered an additional crime.
- I know you are worried about your license, but if you are seating in jail in front of a breath test machine, your license may be suspended if you refuse, but understand that if you blow above 0.08 it will also be suspended.
- Morning after the arrest, you are in jail, please DO NOT plea at first appearance, make sure you first consult with an experienced attorney before you make a decision that will have a drastic effect on your life. Plea not guilty and get an attorney, you might have defenses to your case.
Here’s an example of what a typical DUI arrest looks like
It is Friday night, about 11pm you are coming back home, and just had well deserved dinner with friends. You knew that you had to drive, so you just had 2 beers with dinner. You are being careful. All of a sudden red and blue lights in your rear view mirror. The all familiar words of “license and registration.” You reach for your wallet, your heart is racing, so you fumble through your wallet and finally find your driver’s license. You than try to find the registration, frantically thinking “where the heck did I put it?” since the last time you needed it, was when you renewed it. Finally…you find everything you were looking for. But the officer unfortunately has already made some assessments. He looks at the documents you handed him, and says “did you have anything to drink tonight?” You heart is still racing, you are thinking “I am not going to lie to a cop,” so you tell him you had 2 beers with d…” He cuts you off, and asks you to step out of the car and perform field sobriety exercises. You are in shock, you get of the car, and lean on your door for support, as your knees shake, you are nervous. Big mistake, the officer makes a note of that too! The saga continues…bottom line you find yourself in jail and the next morning, you are in front of a judge being told you are being charged with Driving Under the Influence. Shock!! What do I do now?
Being charged with a DUI is often very unexpected. For most people, the morning after the arrest is filled with thoughts of disbelief. Instead of dwelling on thoughts of “how could this happen to me,” it is crucial that you wrap your head around the situation and take action right away by contacting a local DUI attorney.
Many people think they know the law and they understand what drunk-driving means. In Florida, it is not illegal to have a drink and drive home. What is illegal is to drive when your breath-alcohol level (or BAC) is higher than .08, on breath test machine, that has been properly calibrated and the test was properly administered; or a blood test or urine test, or if your normal faculties are impaired. People also don’t understand that for drunk driving, it does not have to be alcohol, prescription drugs can also land you in jail. Before you make a decision to plea guilty to a DUI, call to speak with an experienced DUI attorney.