Stopped for Suspicion of DUI after Holiday Cheer?
What to do and NOT to do
Article by Attorney Clementine Conde
The holidays are a wonderful time to attend Charity events, office parties and get-togethers with friends. Alcohol is flowing and everyone is full of merriment. However, it can be quite sobering when after driving home, you come face to face with a Police Officer. As a criminal defense attorney for over 25 years, I have defended thousands of DUI cases and the following tips can help you if you wind up being pulled over by the police.
- Only answer the questions as asked by the Police Officer. DO NOT volunteer information or think you can “talk your way out of it”. The more you speak, the more evidence the Officer may have to indicate that your speech was slurred. Also, you can refuse to answer questions if asked as to where you were coming from or even if you were drinking.
- If you feel impaired then you probably will not do well on the field sobriety exercises if asked to perform. This evidence will certainly be used against you and will likely hurt your case. Tell the Officer that you will not perform said exercises. You do not need to give an explanation.
- If you’ve had even 2 drinks, you should also refuse the breath test. Although admissible in court in many jurisdictions in Florida, the breath test is not accurate and there are many factors that affect its validity. In addition, it is much more difficult to win your case or even ask for a reduction in charge if your breath test registers over the legal limit of .08.
- If you refuse the breath test, there is a 1-year license revocation per the implied consent statute in Florida. However, you can challenge said suspension in a formal review hearing or you can get an immediate hardship license if it is your first DUI. In the later scenario, you would have to waive your right to a formal review hearing.
In closing, a conviction for a DUI can impact your license for 5 plus years due to the insurance implications. The situation is even more damaging if you are involved in an accident or your breath test registers over a .15. In the former, you will not only have to pay the fines, but you will be ordered to pay restitution to the other party involved in the accident. This can be very costly depending on how much your insurance covers. If your breath test registers .15 or higher, you will be required to pay for an ignition interlock in your car before you can get a hardship license.
This could certainly ruin anyone’s holiday cheer! Be safe and enjoy your Holidays responsibly.