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DUI » Traffic Stop » Stopped for DUI: What Now?

Stopped for DUI: What Now?

One of the trickiest areas associated with DUI is what to do if pulled over for suspected drunk driving. What should you say? What shouldn't you say? Do you have to agree to field sobriety testing? What happens if you refuse a roadside breath test? Thomas & Paulk can address these and any other questions you have based upon a complete knowledge of drunk driving arrests, laws and procedures in Florida. We welcome you to call our firm to receive more information, and we have included some helpful tips regarding DUI traffic stops.

Helpful Tips Regarding DUI Traffic Stops

First and foremost, it is important to mention that it is not illegal to drink and drive. It is illegal to drive a motor vehicle while one's abilities are impaired or while one has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or greater. Depending on your individual tolerance for alcohol, you may even be able to have multiple drinks and then get behind the wheel of a car without it being against the law, as long as your blood alcohol level does not exceed the legal limit and your ability to safely drive is unaffected.

Just as with any criminal case, you have legal rights if you are pulled over by a law enforcement officer who believes you are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Exercising your rights to the fullest extent is one of the most important things you can do to limit the amount of evidence the officer is able to gather against you. The following are some helpful tips regarding your rights in the event of a traffic stop for DUI:

  • You have the right to remain silent. You are not obligated to answer any questions about where you were going, how much you have had to drink, etc. You must provide your driver's license and registration when asked, but you do not have to answer questions about where you were going or what you were drinking. At this point, the officer is simply trying to ascertain whether you are intoxicated. Any statements you make may be used against you in court. It is best to politely refuse questions of this nature.
  • You are not required to take field sobriety tests. Field sobriety tests, such as the walk-and-turn or one-leg stand, are not mandatory in the event of a DUI traffic stop. These tests are used by the arresting officer to establish probable cause that you are "under the influence" so he or she can arrest you for DUI. Politely refusing these tests does not guarantee that you will not be arrested anyway, but it will limit the amount of evidence that the prosecution will have against you in the event that you are charged.
  • You may refuse a portable / roadside breath test. A portable or roadside breath test is similarly used to establish probable cause for an officer to make a DUI arrest. If you are over the age of 21, you are not required to submit to this particular breath test. (Refusing a formal breath or blood test after a DUI arrest, however, may come with certain penalties, including driver's license suspension.)
  • Remain calm and be polite when dealing with the officer. Being rude or disrespectful to a law enforcement officer is never a good idea. The worst thing you can do is attempt to evade a police officer when you see sirens behind you. Pull over to the side of the road, remain calm and be polite in all of your communication with the officer. If you are arrested, do not resist. Verbal or physical resistance can actually result in additional criminal charges for resisting arrest.

Every case is different, and the particular situation you may face if pulled over for drunk driving will vary. The above tips are meant to help you make informed choices if you are pulled over, but they do not substitute for the counsel of a skilled attorney. To learn more about your rights and options, contact the professionals at Thomas & Paulk. We have considerable experience and are ready to see how we can assist you

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