You’ve been arrested for DUI and things don’t seem like they can get any worse. You’re thinking about your family, your job, a criminal record, and numerous other consequences. This is not the time for self-recrimination. It’s essential that you act to begin the DUI defense process as soon as you’re arrested. While this is not legal advice, this text offers valuable information that could make a difference in your criminal defense. For legal advice, visit thefloridatriallawyer.com.
You’ve been stopped drunk driving. What now?
While it’s never optimal to be stopped by the police while DUI in the state of Florida, there are things you can do to weaken the case against you. Here are some tips that may be invaluable on a traffic stop:
- Don’t engage the officer in unnecessary conversation. You may sound drunker than you are.
- Don’t offer information about where you’ve been or whether or not you’ve been drinking. Avoid talking about how much you’ve been drinking.
- Roadside exercises are voluntary. Politely decline participation.
- If you are offered a breath test, it will come after you’ve been arrested. Consider declining the BAC test. Your license will be suspended for a year for a first refusal. They will not, however, have your BAC record, which can be used against you in court and will probably lead to a suspension anyway.
You Will Be Issued a DUI Summons
Whether you are booked into jail or released from the police station, they will issue you a DUI summons. This acts as a temporary driver’s license for ten days after the arrest. You have until that time to apply for a hardship license so that you can go to work or school.
Contact an Attorney
Chances are that you will not need an attorney to be released from county jail. In most cases, the judge or magistrate will allow you to bond out or release you on your own recognizance. If there are extenuating circumstances, you may need an attorney before you can be released. If you don’t have the number of a lawyer memorized, call a family member and have them make the arrangements.
Your attorney should be able to schedule your driver’s license hearing. This is an important step because if you miss the deadline, your license can be suspended without a hardship license, making it difficult to function.
Dissembling the Prosecutorial Case
Once you’ve retained a qualified criminal defense lawyer, they can begin examining the case against you. For the state to present a viable DUI case, the prosecution must prove all of the following:
- The police had a valid reason to conduct a traffic stop. These include a traffic offense; involvement in a traffic accident; probable cause that you were operating a vehicle while intoxicated; or your being stopped in a DUI checkpoint.
- You appeared to be intoxicated based upon physical indicators, such as bloodshot eyes or odor of an alcoholic beverage, and behavioral cues, such as slurred speech or staggering.
- The police conducted their DUI investigation in the prescribed pattern.
- If you agreed to roadside exercises, the police demonstrated the state’s sanctioned DUI road sobriety exercises and you were allowed to attempt them in a dry, flat, and well-lit area.
- The police observed you for 20 minutes prior to administering a BAC test and read you the implied consent warning.
Any deviation from these practices or an inability on the part of the prosecution to prove these elements could lead to a reduction in charges or a dismissal.