Driving under the influence (DUI) in Florida is a serious offense, vigorously prosecuted in a court of law. If you find you have had a few too many, the smart move is to avoid driving. In the event that you choose to get behind the wheel and do get pulled over, you will need an experienced attorney to help you avoid the most serious of consequences.
Possible Legal Penalties
If the prosecution asserts that you were driving with a blood alcohol level (BAC) over the legal limit of 0.08, you could face consequences including fines, community service, court ordered treatment, and incarceration. However, the accuracy of BAC measures is currently under a cloud of doubt.
Are BAC Measurements Accurate?
The Florida Supreme Court has been asked to determine whether or not current BAC tests truly produce trustworthy results. The case involves John Goodman, who was convicted in the traffic death of a Florida man in 2010. Arguments challenge screening methods and procedures designed to prevent clotting in drawn blood, alleging artificially high levels of alcohol may appear as a result of improper techniques.
Your Rights When Pulled Over
While it is true that police officers have a certain amount of authority, you, too have rights when you are pulled over:
You have the right to remain silent: Yes, you must provide your name and show an officer your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance. But if asked whether or not you have been drinking, you are fully within your rights to choose not to answer.
You may refuse permission to search your vehicle: Unless the officer has probable cause to do a search, your permission or a warrant is required.
You have the right to an attorney if arrested: If you are stopped with no arrest, thank your lucky stars. The minute the cuffs come out, it would behoove you to request an attorney.
Play it Smart
Getting arrested can be stressful. Do not make matters worse for yourself by being belligerent or confrontational. If you believe law enforcement officers are violating your rights, you will undoubtedly fare much better if you leave the arguing to your lawyer. Keep in mind that the officers are working with limited knowledge of you and your circumstances. Stay safe by cooperating and remembering some key tips:
Keep your hands in plain view. Don not reach for your cell phone, do not jam your hands into your pockets, and do not dig around in your glove box. By all means, avoid sudden movements that could be misinterpreted by the police.
Do not make false statements or interfere with what officers are trying to do in any way.
Pay attention to everything that is happening. Make mental notes of any issues that trouble you so your attorney can address them later.
Aiken, O’Halloran & Foley
Hiring the right attorney when your life and livelihood are in jeopardy is the smartest thing you can do. At Aiken, O’Halloran and Foley, our legal team understands the laws associated with DUI cases. Contact us in Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Punta Gorda or Sarasota for a confidential, no-cost consultation about the specifics of your case for experienced, aggressive representation.