The 4th of July is a great time to celebrate America's independence with friends and family. Like any other holiday when drinking is prevalent, Florida police officers are on higher alert for drunk drivers than usual.
In 2019, approximately 322 DUI arrests were made across Clay County alone. It's unclear how many of those arrests were made on major holidays.
ValuePenguin has ranked the 4th of July the most dangerous holiday when it comes to drunk driving, with an average of 42.4 traffic fatalities per day. While police often do a great job keeping drunk drivers off the road and saving lives, some officers make judgment errors or even become overzealous.
The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit in Florida is 0.08 percent. Even if you only have a couple of drinks and drive within the legal BAC threshold, you can still be arrested and charged with a DUI. The DUI defense attorneys at Aguilar & Sieron, P.A. have seen it many times and have helped clients successfully fight the charges.
What to do at a sobriety checkpoint
Florida is one of many states that allows sobriety checkpoints. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, Florida law enforcement officers conduct between 15-20 sobriety checkpoints each month. If you plan on driving after your 4th of July celebration, you may encounter a checkpoint.
When approaching a sobriety checkpoint, it's important to remain calm and pull over when an officer asks you to. An officer will then ask to see your driver's license and vehicle registration. You are required to produce these and identify yourself.
If an officer asks how much you have had to drink, where you are coming from, or where you are going, you are not required to provide an answer. You can politely tell the officer that you wish to remain silent.
If an officer suspects that you are under the influence of alcohol, you may be asked to perform field sobriety exercises. These exercises may require you to do the following:
- Walk heel-to-toe in a straight line, then turn and repeat.
- Stand on one foot with your other foot six inches off the ground until you are told to place your foot down.
- Perform a horizontal gaze in which you follow a small object from side to side.
Police use field sobriety exercises to identify physical signs of alcohol impairment. These exercises don't always prove that someone was driving drunk. They can be difficult to perform for most people, especially for those with physical or cognitive impairments.
Things can get more complicated if an officer administers a roadside breath test and your results yield a BAC reading of 0.08 percent or higher. Fortunately, roadside breath tests aren't foolproof, as we previously discussed. In fact, many DUI cases have been thrown out due to faulty breath tests.
Our lawyers can fight your DUI charge
Your 4th of July celebration doesn't have to result in a DUI charge. That's why it's critical that you consult with an experienced Clay County DUI defense attorney if you are arrested. As former prosecutors, the attorneys at Aguilar & Sieron, P.A. know how the system works and how to help you fight your DUI charge. To find out what we can do for you, contact us online today.