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DUI Top 10 Tips

Posted October 11, 2010Information

One of the most common questions that people ask when they first learn that I’m an attorney usually concern what to do in the event they are suspected of driving under the influence.  While I do not condone driving while intoxicated, the fact is, Floridians do have legal rights that allow them to drink responsibly and thereafter drive their vehicle.  With this in mind, I’m providing my own Top Ten List of tips that most drivers do not know:

1)      Half of sober people, those with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08 or lower, that undergo roadside field sobriety evaluations are alleged to have failed them due to the subjective nature of these assessments.

2)      Drinking and driving is legal when done in a responsible manner, however, as I mentioned above, driving with a BAC of 0.08 or higher is a crime.

3)      Drivers do not have to answer any questions or make any statements to law enforcement, as is their right under Florida and U.S. Constitutions.  Motorists should be polite and cooperative with law enforcement officers; however, they should not force you to provide information against your will.

4)      Similarly, Florida law does not require drivers to submit to any verbal or non-verbal field sobriety exercises. 

5)      Refusing chemical testing or breathalyzers may result in an automatic suspension of a Florida Driver’s License.

6)      In Seminole County, DUI stops are usually recorded during both the roadside stop and when/if the driver is transferred to jail. 

7)      Even if you think you can talk the law enforcement officer into letting “you off the hook,” you probably cannot.  This is a good time to mention again that this list is not meant to assist people in evading punishment for committing a crime; however, dispelling these common misconceptions can assist Floridians in making responsible choices. 

8)      The inability to provide a breathalyzer sample, or the inability “to blow”, is considered the same as refusing to blow.  Acting as though you are not able, even if you are genuinely not able, will not “get you off the hook”. 

9)      My office provides Driver’s Rights Cards, which both discuss your legal rights in this situation in greater depth while also providing a tool to utilize if you ever find yourself under suspicion of driving while intoxicated.  Look for me at Alive after Five or around town, and I’ll give you one and handful for your friends!  These Driver’s Rights Cards are extremely useful in these types of situations. 

10)  The most common misconception:  each legal situation is the same and can be handled in the same manner.  Conferring with an attorney regarding your situation can give you clarity on your options and shine light on your legal situation.  It is your best option if you are arrested for DUI, BUI, or any other criminal charge involving the operation of a vehicle.  However, no two legal situations are alike, and an attorney can analyze yours and advise you on how to proceed. 

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