Drunk Driving (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 for Drunk Driving
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 used for drunk driving arrests 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. Fully within your rights, you are able to choose not to answer if police ask whether you’re drinking or not.
You may refuse permission to search your vehicle. A search requires permission or a warrant unless the officer has probable cause.
You have the right to an attorney if arrested. Thank your lucky stars if there is no arrest when an officer stops you. The minute the cuffs come out, it would behoove you to request an attorney.
Play it Smart
An arrest can be extremely 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. Do not reach for your cell phone, jam your hands into your pockets or 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.
Foley & Wilson Law Firm
Hiring the right attorney when your life and livelihood are in jeopardy is the smartest thing you can do. At Foley & Wilson Law Firm, our legal team understands the laws associated with DUI and drunk driving cases. Contact Foley & Wilson Law Firm in Fort Myers or Punta Gorda for a confidential, no-cost consultation about the specifics for an experienced, aggressive representation.