Your Rights When You’re Pulled Over for a DUI
April 12, 2023
Under Florida law, it is an offense to drive or be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. On reasonable suspicion of impairment or drunk driving, a police officer can ask you to stop or pull over. During the traffic stop, the officer can ask you different questions or request some DUI tests. Unfortunately, many Florida motorists are unfamiliar with their rights when pulled over for a DUI and might end up in the worst possible situation.
At the Law Offices of D. D. Archer, PA, we’re committed to offering skilled representation and reliable advocacy to clients in their drunk driving cases. Our experienced Florida criminal defense attorney can enlighten you about your rights when stopped for a DUI and help build a strong defense strategy to fight your charges. If you’re seeking DUI defense representation, contact our office in Clermont, Florida, today to set up a meeting and discuss your case.
The Right to Not Incriminate Yourself
When stopped by a police officer on suspicion of DUI, you have the right not to incriminate yourself. Following the standard pull-over procedure is imperative. Ensure that you provide the law enforcement officer with the necessary documentation, such as your driver’s license, insurance information, vehicle registration, and other relevant details.
In addition, throughout the stop procedure, you should remain courteous, corporative, and respectful. You may be asked about your whereabouts, where you're coming from, the number of drinks you had, or the person you were with. Generally, you’re not under any obligation to answer any question. Thus, politely decline to answer any question asked by the officer without your lawyer’s consent.
The Right Against Unlawful Search and Seizure
Additionally, when stopped by the police for drunk driving suspicion, you have the right against illegal search and seizure. The police do not have any right to search your vehicle unless they have probable cause to carry out the search and seizure. For example, the law enforcement officer may only search your car if:
You consent to the search.
They perceived liquor in the vehicle.
They suspected movements or criminal activity.
Without probable cause, the police officer may not carry out a lawful search and seizure. Moreover, any evidence obtained through an unlawful search and seizure isn’t admissible in court.
The Right to Refuse to Take Field Sobriety Tests
Following a DUI stop, the officer may request that you take a field sobriety test. Field sobriety tests are three standardized tests:
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test
One-Leg Stand Test.
The tests are often performed to determine whether a driver is impaired or sober.Under Florida law, field sobriety tests (also known as roadside agility tests) are completely voluntary. You do not have to take the field sobriety tests and you will not be penalized for refusing. But if you’re taken in for processing, taking a chemical test at the station is mandatory in Florida.
The Right to Refuse the Preliminary or Portable Breath Test
According to Florida’s implied consent law, a person lawfully arrested for DUI must perform chemical testing. However, a roadside preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) or portable breathalyzer test (PBT) is not covered under the implied consent law. There are no penalties for refusing a roadside preliminary or portable breath test.
Though, do not confuse the roadside PAS or PBT for a breath test done at the police department after a lawful arrest. You are under obligation to perform the breath or blood tests requested at the station. Refusing a chemical test violates Florida’s implied consent law. This may result in a driver’s license suspension and other penalties.
The Right to Contact an Attorney
When arrested for DUI, you have the right to contact a lawyer. Also, remain silent when the police are questioning or interviewing you. Before responding to the police officer's questions, always discuss them with your legal counsel. A practiced Florida DUI/DWI defense lawyer can investigate every last fact of your case, enlighten you about what to say and not say to the police, and outline a solid defense strategy to help fight your impaired driving charges.
Understand & Protect Your Rights
Facing drunk driving allegations in Florida can be a terrifying experience. Also, trying to fight your DUI charges without reliable representation can expose you to the risks of getting convicted. However, understanding your rights when stopped for impaired driving can make your case feel more manageable and protect you from suffering severe consequences.
At the Law Offices of D. D. Archer, PA, we have the diligence and skill to represent individuals who have been wrongfully arrested for DUI.
Contact us at the Law Offices of D. D. Archer, PA, today to schedule a simple case assessment with a highly-skilled DUI/DWI defense lawyer who can help you manage your case and improve your chances of a favorable outcome for your unique situation. We’re proud to serve clients across Clermont, Lake County, Seminole County, Polk County, and Sumter County, Florida.