Every year, tens of thousands of people are arrested for DUI in Florida. Yet – as any DUI defense lawyer can tell you – there are many myths and misconceptions associated with DUIs. That is because not many people actually know what their rights are and what they can and cannot do when they are pulled over for suspected drunk driving. In this post, we have debunked three of the most common myths associated with DUI arrests in Florida.
Myth: Refusing to Answer the Officer’s Questions Can Make You Look Guilty
Fact: Your right to remain silent while getting arrested for DUI – or any other charge for that matter – is enshrined in the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution. The arresting officer cannot force you to talk or answer their questions.
Moreover, it does not matter if you ‘look guilty’ to the officer. Only the court can decide whether or not you are guilty. Based on this, apart from telling your name and address to the officer, there is absolutely no need for you to answer any questions. You can tell them politely but firmly that you will only talk in the presence of a Florida DUI defense lawyer.
Myth: Field Sobriety Tests Are Mandatory
Fact: Under Florida law, people suspected of drunk driving are not required to take standardized field sobriety tests. The police officer who pulls you over cannot threaten you or force you into taking the tests.
More importantly, field sobriety test results are not an accurate measure of your sobriety. In fact, even if you fail your field sobriety tests, a skilled DUI defense lawyer might still be able to get your charges dismissed. That’s, of course, assuming the prosecution does not have any other evidence, since these results are not reliable at all.
Myth: The Police Cannot Arrest You If Your BAC Is Lower Than 0.08
Fact: The police can arrest you if they believe that your faculties are impaired as a result of drinking. They can do that regardless of what your BAC is.
Section 316.193 of the Florida Statute states that a person is considered to be under the influence of alcohol if:
a) they have a BAC of 0.08 or higher or
b) if their normal faculties are impaired
What it means is that even if your BAC is 0.08 or lower, the officer can still arrest you. Especially, if you exhibit what they believe to be signs of intoxication, which might include:
- Swerving while driving
- Hitting objects on the road
- Hitting other vehicles
Apart from this, the officer might also observe your physical appearance, speech pattern, and your ability to balance yourself to determine whether you are drunk. Based on what they observe, they might decide to arrest you. Again, they can do that even if your BAC is lower than the legally permissible limit.
Looking for an Experienced Florida DUI Defense Lawyer to Represent You?
If you have been charged with DUI in Florida, reliable and proven criminal defense lawyer Chad Piotrowski can help you. As a former prosecutor, Chad knows how the state criminal justice system works and what kind of strategies the prosecution might use to get a conviction. He can fight doggedly to get your DUI charges dropped or dismissed or fight it out in court to achieve the best possible outcome.
To discuss your DUI case with seasoned Florida DUI defense lawyer Chad Piotrowski, call us today at 305-204-5000 or contact us online and schedule a free consultation.