Being arrested or even pulled over for a DUI can be daunting. If you do not know the law, you may not understand your rights; therefore, you could inadvertently do or say things that make your case more difficult for a defense attorney. These mistakes increase the penalties a person potentially receives for their DUI – and are often avoidable. Whether you are a first-time offender or multiple offender, there are options you have to lessen the penalties you may face for your DUI case. In order to take these steps, you must first understand what mistakes others make and how you can avoid them.
Common Mistakes in DUI Cases
These mistakes start from the moment the police officer pulls you over and continue on until you are officially charged.
- Admitting to Drinking and Driving – Police must have probable cause to pull you over and to order a field sobriety test. However, there are numerous instances where police will pull over a vehicle leaving a bar or other area without probable cause. As a driver, it is important to understand that you do not have to answer the police officer’s questions – especially those pertaining to whether or not you have been drinking. Note that it is not illegal to drink and drive; it is only illegal to drive while legally intoxicated. If the officer inquires about your activities for the night or whether or not you have been drinking, you are not required to admit to anything.
- Accepting the Field Sobriety Test – If an officer suspects that you are drinking and driving, they may request a field sobriety test, which involves testing your balance and coordination. You are not required under the law to take this test. While Florida’s implied consent law requires that you take a chemical test (breathalyzer, urine analysis, etc.) you are not required to consent to a field sobriety test – a test that is misleading and can cause a sober individual to fail.
- Refusing the Chemical Test – Refusing a chemical test in Florida will not help you. Under the implied consent law, if you are arrested for a DUI, you must submit to a chemical test. Refusal to take the test will likely result in an automatic one-year license suspension (18 months if this is your second or third offense). While the officers cannot physically force you to take the test, you will face harsh penalties if you do not, and you may still be charged with a DUI.
- Not Consulting an Attorney – You have the right to an attorney. If you are arrested for a DUI, you do not have to answer the police officers’ questions; instead, you can request an attorney present before any questioning commences. Use this right, for it may not only protect you from DUI charges, but could protect your right to drive a vehicle in the future.
Consult with the Law Offices of Timothy Armstrong, P.A.
If you have been arrested for a DUI, do not commit one of these costly mistakes. Admitting to having drinks gives a police officer probable cause to arrest you and, therefore, force a chemical test. You have rights, and an attorney can help you exercise those rights under the law. Contact us at 904-356-8618 or fill out an online contact form to schedule a no-obligation consultation.