Frequently Asked Questions On DUI Charges In Florida
Should I agree to take the breath test?
While you would be well within your rights to refuse a breath test, doing so could be used against you by the prosecutor in an attempt to show guilt. Additionally, you would be penalized by a one-year suspension of your driver’s license. However, refusing to take the breath test would prevent the prosecutor from having a strong piece of evidence against you. Rather than having a number from a machine to point to as an indicator of guilt—which is a piece of evidence often perceived as irrefutable—the prosecutor would only be able to point to your refusal to consent to the test. This would certainly help your defense attorney build a stronger case on your behalf.
Why should I hire an attorney for my DUI case?
With so much at stake in DUI cases, including your liberty to drive, your criminal record, and your employment opportunities, you can’t afford to not be prepared. The consequences of a DUI conviction could follow you around for life, but having an attorney will better your chances of having your case dismissed, or having your charge reduced to something less serious and associated with fewer penalties.
If I received a DUI while I was in Florida but I don’t live there, will I have to travel to Florida for court?
If you received a DUI while in Florida but do not live in Florida, you may still be required to show up to court in Florida. However, if you were to hire an attorney, then that attorney would likely be able to handle the entire case for you, without requiring your presence in Florida. This would allow you to continue your life as you otherwise would during the pendency of your case.
What would cause a police officer to stop me for DUI in the first place?
Most DUI arrests begin when a police officer stops someone for a traffic infraction, such as speeding, failing to come to a complete stop, or weaving between lanes. In particular, officers are on the lookout for these types of violations late at night near cities that are known to have many clubs and bars, or other establishments where drinking or drug use is common.
If an officer suspects that I am intoxicated, what will they be looking for?
Even if an officer does not initially suspect that you have been drinking or using drugs, they will have been trained to look for certain indicators of intoxication. These include but are not limited to the following:
- Poor coordination, such as while reaching for your driver’s license and registration
- The odor of alcohol emanating from your vehicle or breath
- Any evidence of drug or alcohol use in plain sight in your vehicle
- Slurred speech
- Red or watery eyes
- Poor balance
What field sobriety tests will I have to take?
There are three main field sobriety tests: the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test, Walk and Turn (WAT) test, and One Leg Stand (OLS) test.
Is a DUI in Florida considered a felony or misdemeanor?
If aggravating factors are involved in your DUI, then you could face a felony DUI. Most first and second-time DUIs that are not accompanied by aggravating factors are misdemeanors.
What do I do if an officer is investigating me for DUI?
If you are under investigation for DUI, remember that there is no obligation for you to answer the officer’s questions or consent to an interrogation without first retaining legal counsel. In fact, the Fifth Amendment protects you against self-incrimination. Often, the wisest course of action is to politely say to the officer, “I cannot answer any of your questions without first speaking to my attorney.”