How Can I Avoid a DUI Conviction?

Driving under the influence, DUI, is a serious charge and one that comes with harsh penalties upon conviction. It’s important to note that you aren’t guilty unless you’re convicted, so it’s worthwhile to fight the charges. You’ll be much more likely to be successful in fighting DUI charges with the help of an experienced DUI lawyer. The attorney knows the latest laws and knows how to best resolve your case. There are some things you can do to help ensure the best possible outcome.

Initial Traffic Stop

A DUI charge typically starts with a simple traffic stop. Of course, the officer may already suspect DUI when you’re pulled over. The officer will initially speak to you to get your driver’s license, registration, and insurance. At this point, he may ask if you’ve been drinking. It’s typically best to answer questions truthfully and cooperate as much as possible with police. There is no need to be specific about the number of drinks you have had – most people answer that they have had “a couple” and that answer should suffice. If you’ve had anything at all to drink, the officer will ask you to perform some field sobriety tests.

Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety tests are simple tests that are performed at the side of the road at the time of your traffic stop. These tests may include walking a straight line, standing on one leg, and touching your finger to your nose, to name just a few. The officer will likely ask you to perform one or two tests before making a determination as to how to proceed. If the officer feels the need, he will then ask you to take a breathalyzer test. This is a test that measures your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) through your breath. While not as accurate as a blood or urine test, it is typically a first step in a DUI arrest. The legal limit in Florida is 0.08% BAC. If you test at or above this level you’ll be arrested.

Implied Consent

In Florida, drivers automatically consent to DUI testing when they receive their driver’s license. If a member of law enforcement asks you to take a DUI test you must do so. Failure to submit to the test will result in separate charges, with a potential suspension of your driver’s license for a year. Refusal to take the test won’t gain you anything in court, either. The fact that you refused to submit will be used against you in your DUI case. It’s almost always best to submit to the test. Only in some cases of repeat DUI is it better to refuse the test. If possible, consult with your attorney before submitting to the test. You can also ask to have an independent test completed. This can be a big help in your defense.

Defending DUI Charges

It is certainly possible to successfully defend DUI charges. When you’re stopped for DUI be mindful of what you say. Do not admit to anything and don’t apologize. While you do need to be cooperative, you should be careful not to make any incriminating statements as these will most likely be used later. Speak to an attorney as soon as possible after your arrest. Your lawyer will review the events with you and review the report to determine if any mistakes were made during the traffic stop and arrest. Your lawyer will evaluate the DUI tests to learn if there were issues with the way the test was given or with the results. Your attorney will develop your defense and work to get the charges and penalties reduced.