How to Handle a DUI Traffic Stop in Florida
If you were pulled over for a DUI stop in Florida, it is important to know your rights and options. If you handle a DUI stop well, you can avoid a conviction or seek reduced penalties. A DUI lawyer can help you build a defense if you get charged with a DUI offense.
DUI traffic stops involve many standard procedures on the part of law enforcement. You must know how to undergo these procedures without compromising yourself. Here is a look at important tips you can use when handling a DUI stop.
Invoke Your Fifth Amendment Right
When an officer stops your vehicle, you are legally required to provide your basic details, proof of insurance, license, and registration. If the officer asks you whether you consumed alcohol or drugs, you have the right to remain silent under the Fifth Amendment.
You must be polite in your interactions but firm in asserting this right. You can best protect your rights by remaining silent and refusing to answer any questions that may incriminate you.
Don’t Always Participate in Field Sobriety Tests
Field sobriety tests are elaborate tests used to assess your sobriety on the spot. However, there is no guarantee that you will pass a sobriety test even when you are 100% sober. It is best to refuse to undergo these tests. You can legally refuse participation in these tests without any legal repercussions.
Don’t Allow a Vehicle Search
If you have a visible open can of beer or other incriminating evidence in plain sight, an officer is permitted to conduct a vehicle search. In most cases, the officer needs the warrant to search the vehicle unless you grant permission. And that is a mistake many people make at DUI traffic stops.
If there are no visible incriminating circumstances, you can refuse a vehicular search, and the officer must accept your refusal.
Know the Pros and Cons of a Breath Test
If an officer suspects that you are driving under the influence, you will be asked to undergo a breath test. This involves blowing into a portable breathalyzer machine.
Florida Statutes 316.1932 says that you automatically consent to a breath or blood test when you get a driver’s license in Florida. If you refuse the breath test, you violate this implied consent. The police officers can’t force you to take the test but you will face penalties for the breach of implied consent.
These penalties include a license suspension of one year for the first refusal and a 1.5-year license suspension for the second refusal. The refusal can also be used by the prosecutor as an admission of your guilt if you are later charged with a DUI offense.
Contact a DUI Lawyer
If you are charged with a DUI offense in Tampa, Florida, you should seek legal aid as soon as possible. It is best to have a lawyer by your side during police questioning. Here at Hersem Law, we handle DUI cases regularly. Our lawyers work with you to robustly defend against the charges and seek a reduction or elimination of the charges.
Call us now at 813-251-7291 to discuss your DUI case with our lawyers. You can also fill out the contact form below to set up a free strategy session with one of our attorneys.