What to Do If You’re Pulled Over for DUI

A DUI stop alone, whether you were impaired or not, can have several serious consequences. Some of these include being charged with a DUI charge, the loss of your driver’s license if you refused to participate in a chemical test, and even possible additional charges based on your actions during and after the stop. The best way to minimize the damage if you are stopped for DUI is to understand your rights and obligations and handle the stop appropriately. Then, you’ll want to contact an experienced Florida DUI attorney right away.

Jacksonville DUI lawyer Matthew Lufrano has extensive experience fighting for Florida criminal defendants, including those charged with driving under the influence and related crimes. To learn more about how we can help you after a DUI arrest, call 904-513-3905 right now, or fill out our contact form.

What to Do During a DUI Stop

When a police officer signals for you to pull over, whether for drunk driving or any other reason, you’ll want to be polite when you encounter members of law enforcement. Now it is normal to feel some trepidation when encountering a member of law enforcement, especially if you have been drinking. But don’t try to run and don’t do anything stupid. Failing to stop ro trying to evade police can make your situation infinitely worse.

Stop Your Car and Wait for the Officer

Pull your car over into a safe area such as the shoulder of the road and remain in your vehicle. Remember that getting out of your car can be perceived as a threat, and could escalate the situation. Instead, stay in the vehicle with your hands on the steering wheel so they are visible to the officer. Wait until you are asked for your license, registration, and proof of insurance. It’s a good idea to keep your registration in an easily accessible place in the vehicle so you won’t have to search for it. If you’re stopped at night in an unlighted area, consider turning on your interior light so the officer can see what’s happening in the vehicle.

Be Polite and Cooperative

Provide your license, insurance, and registration when asked. Do not argue with the officer or offer explanations. If the officer instructs you to get out of the vehicle, do so, and make sure that you don’t make abrupt or unexpected movements.

Exercise Your Rights

While you want to be polite and cooperative with the officer, that doesn’t mean that you should waive your rights. When you answer law enforcement questions in any context, there’s a possibility that your words will be taken out of context and used against you. That’s especially true if you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs and may not be thinking clearly.

You can avoid volunteering information and even decline to answer questions without being combative or violating the law.

You are Not Required to Take Field Sobriety Tests

Whether or not to participate in Field Sobriety Exercises is a complex and nuanced decision. There are pros and cons to both completing these exercises and refusing to do so depending on a variety of factors including but not limited to: whether you have been drinking, if you have how much you’ve had to drink, whether you have issues with balance, and many more. Said simply there is no way generic rule of whether or not someone should participate in Field Sobriety Exercises. But perhaps what is more important is to understand that a person can refuse to participate. That said, it is also critical to understand that if you refuse to participate in such exercises that decision can be held against you during a subsequent trial. It should also be mentioned that FSE or field sobriety exercises are not pass/fail tests. Instead they simply provide officers with indicators that an individual may be impaired. But regardless of whether or not you participate it is also worth knowing whether or not an arrest will be made is ultimately determined by an officer’s subjective judgment.

What to Do If You are Arrested for DUI

Make a Reasoned Decision about the Breathalyzer or Blood Alcohol Test

In Florida, drivers are deemed to have consented to chemical testing for blood alcohol content if they have been lawfully arrested in connection with operating under the influence. Refusal results in a mandatory one-year driver’s license suspension if it’s your first refusal, and the suspension is longer for subsequent refusals. Additionally, in Florida, if a person has previously had their driver’s license suspended for refusing to provide a breath or blood sample, a subsequent refusal is a separate crime. Suffice it to say deciding whether or not to provide a sample is complicated and can have significant impacts on a defendant. Making the decision trickier is the fact that a person can be convicted of DUI if the prosecution can show they were driving and had a blood or breath alcohol level above 0.08. As you might imagine if a defendant refuses to give a blood or breath sample then the prosecution won’t have specific chemical evidence to use against them. However, the prosecution can still use the choice to refuse against a defendant in trial as well as other evidence such as the officer’s observations of your behavior, the odor of alcohol, bloodshot eyes, and other indicators.

Continue to Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent

If police attempt to question you, you have the right to politely advise them that you do not want to answer any questions without talking to a DUI attorney. You should also remember that anything you say can be used against you, whether it occurs in the context of questioning or not. Don’t talk about your drinking or your arrest to other inmates, and don’t behave in a way that could be used to support the claim that you were intoxicated.

Finding the Best DUI Lawyer for You

You’ll want to talk to an experienced Jacksonville DUI attorney as soon as possible after your arrest. You should avoid answering questions, talking to anyone about your case, and making any decisions about how to proceed with your case until you speak to a DUI lawyer. Your defense attorney may be able to file motions to suppress evidence against you if the officer pulled you over without probable cause or if there is reason to believe the testing may not have been conducted properly.

Look for an attorney who is experienced with your local criminal court system, has extensive experience with DUI cases, and is experienced and comfortable trying a criminal case before a Florida jury.

Lufrano Legal Can Help You Fight DUI Charges

Defense attorney Matthew Lufrano has dedicated his career to fighting for people who have been charged with crimes in Florida. He has tried dozens of cases before Florida juries and is certified by the Florida Bar as an Expert in Criminal Trial Law. Some of the most important work in defense against criminal charges happens well before the trial date, so it’s important that you speak with a DUI attorney as soon as possible after your arrest. To schedule your free consultation, call 904-513-3905 right now, or fill out the contact form on this site.