Law enforcement officers are well-trained on how to spot suspected drunk drivers. They tend to look for mechanical clues, such as minor traffic infractions, speeding, or failing to stay within the lines in the road.
While these indicators don't necessarily mean that someone is driving drunk, they are enough to prompt police to conduct a traffic stop.
If you're not sure what you should do during a traffic stop, you could find yourself facing a DUI charge. That's why it's important to know what to do to prevent your situation from getting worse.
Why it's important to remain silent
You can hire an attorney to represent you in court, but the actions you take when being stopped by police can give your attorneys the tools needed to fight your charges.
First and foremost, it's critical that you remain silent. An officer will ask to see your license and vehicle registration. You are required to provide this. When an officer asks where you've been, where you are going, or if you have been drinking, you are not required to answer.
By answering these questions, you may encourage the officer to probe you for DUI evidence. Anything you say can later be used in court to convict you. Furthermore, an officer may capture your statements through a video or audio recording.
If you are placed under arrest or asked to step out of your car, it's best to continue to remain silent. Arguing with an officer or attempting to get out of an arrest can only make matters worse and lead to further charges.
Make sure you know your rights if you are asked to take a roadside test
There are generally two roadside tests police will perform if they suspect that you have been driving drunk. These include:
- Field sobriety tests: walking heel-to-toe, standing on one leg, and/or following a pen with your eyes.
- Breath tests: blowing into a Breathalyzer that reads your blood alcohol concentration level.
While a field sobriety test doesn't necessarily give police enough hard evidence to charge you with DUI, your results can hurt your case. Luckily, there is no provision under Florida's implied consent law that says that you must take a field sobriety test. That means that you can refuse a field sobriety test without the legal consequences of having your license suspended.
Breath tests are different. You can turn down a breath test. That will likely get you arrested and you could face license suspension of up to a year. Luckily, if you choose to take a breath test, the results can be disputed since Breathalyzers aren't always accurate.
If you were arrested and charged with DUI, taking these steps can have a major impact on your case. An experienced Florida DUI defense lawyer at Aguilar & Sieron, P.A. can devise a legal strategy to help you fight the charges in court.
To learn more, contact our Clay County law office online or by calling (904) 264-6000.