Stay Calm. Your Interaction with the Police Officer Matters.
Consider this: You had too many martinis at your favorite bar and were stopped by the police. What next? Do you have to take a breathalyzer? If the officer thinks you’ve had too much to drink, he can ask you to take one to determine your blood alcohol content. Sure, you can refuse, but if you do, it’s like resisting arrest, which only makes matters worse for you. Why? Under Florida’s implied consent law, you’ll be subject to a one-year mandatory license suspension if you refuse to take a blood, urine or breath test.
You also don’t have to agree to take field sobriety tests that may include standardized physical and/or cognitive tests. Just know that if you refuse, you will likely be asked to take a DUI breath test.
We’re Sarasota DUI attorneys who are here to help you understand your rights. If the police have stopped you under suspicion of DUI, don’t make things worse. Read on to learn how to help yourself in this situation.
Avoid Making Matters Worse: Here’s How to Help Yourself
Things can get hot quickly if you find yourself in a DUI-related situation. To help yourself, keep calm and follow these steps:
Don’t Argue if Police Want to Search Your Vehicle
In Florida, police typically need either probable cause or a warrant to search your car during a DUI stop. But it’s a different story if drugs, drug paraphernalia, or weapons are in plain sight. That’s enough for them to start a car search. If none of those items are in plain view, and you don’t want the police to search your car, say so firmly but politely.
Let Police Know if You Have a Concealed Weapon in Your Vehicle
There is no law in Florida requiring you to inform police officers that you have a firearm in your vehicle unless they specifically ask. In most cases, however, they will ask, and even if they don’t, it may be wise to inform them voluntarily. Doing so will likely help you if you’re charged with a DUI.
Ask for an Independent Blood Test
Blood alcohol content tests are not always accurate. That said, you can help yourself by asking for an independent blood test. Florida allows this, although a police officer is not required to tell you this. The burden is on you to arrange and pay for the independent test. Still, the police officer must take reasonable steps to help you secure the test, such as providing you with telephone access or transporting you to a blood testing facility upon request.
Things can escalate quickly in DUI-related situations. Remember that law enforcement officers have a great deal of discretion. To keep tensions from rising too high if you’ve been stopped for a DUI, it’s important to:
- Whether you’re scared, angry or both, keep your emotions in check.
- Do not argue with the officer.
- Use a peaceful tone when speaking to law enforcement.
Discuss Your Case With Experienced Sarasota DUI Attorneys
If you’re facing a DUI charge, we encourage you to contact us promptly for more information. We can help! To discuss your case with experienced Sarasota DUI attorneys in confidence, call 941-404-8909, or request a free consultation online. We have offices in Bradenton and Sarasota.