If you are stopped by the police for driving under the influence…
Driving under the influence (“DUI”) is by far the most common offense that stretches across all members of society. Simply put, anyone can get a DUI. If you go out and drink then drive, there is a chance you will be pulled over. If that happens and the cops suspect you of being under the influence, there is an above average chance you will go to jail. If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, here are a few tips that you should know:
- Shut up. I don’t mean to be rude, but seriously. Anything you say will be written down by the cops and potentially used against you later in court. Ever heard of the “right to remain silent?” You do not have to tell the cops anything. The cops may try to chat you up by acting like they are your friend, but beware! In actuality they are trained to do this, to get as much information out of you as possible. You have to provide your name, driver’s license, and proof of insurance, but that’s it.
- Be polite. You won’t improve your position by being rude or mean to the cops. You can politely decline to answer their questions and ask to speak to an attorney.
- Know your rights. You do not have to complete the field sobriety exercises. If you choose to perform them, you should know the cop will be writing down everything you do incorrectly. Additionally, these exercises are not simple. Think about it. When is the last time you practiced standing on one foot with the other leg six inches off the ground while counting out loud for thirty seconds? Or when did you last practice walking in a straight line, one foot directly in front of the other for exactly nine steps down and then do a special turn and walk the same way back? Also, keep in mind while performing these exercises, that if you mess up, you go to jail. No pressure at all, right? These exercises are highly subjective and even a sober person can end up “failing” in the eyes of the cop. If you think you will incriminate yourself by performing the exercises, then politely decline to complete them.
- You do not have to complete the breath test. If you are unsure that you will blow over a .08%, then you should consider refusing the breath test. Alcohol affects each person differently and everyone should be aware of their tolerance level. You may not feel drunk but may still blow over a .08%. Even if you blow under a .08%, the officer most likely is not going to set you free anyway. While it is true when you are issued a Florida Driver’s License, it is deemed that you consent to a breath test, but you do have the option to refuse the test. Should you refuse, your license will be suspended for one year, but you could save yourself from an ugly DUI conviction in the long run. Moreover, you most likely will be able to obtain a hardship permit to keep you driving to work.
- If you are going to drink. Don’t drive. You knew that was coming, didn’t you? If you do not want to risk a DUI charge, just don’t drink and drive. Period.
If you ever find yourself in the unfortunate situation of facing a DUI charge, you will need an experienced Tampa DUI attorney on your side to make sure your rights are preserved. Contact the attorneys at Roman & Roman, P.A., to ensure you have been treated fairly and to make sure you obtain the best result possible.