What Happens on a DUI Stop?

Driving under the influence or DUI is one of the most common reasons for arrest in Florida and across the country. DUI is a serious charge and one that you must vigorously defend. The consequences for a DUI conviction are severe and may include suspension of your driver’s license, fines, and even a jail sentence. DUI laws and penalties have become much stricter in the last decade, making it a difficult situation to overcome. Most DUI charges begin with a routine traffic stop. Sometimes law enforcement may pull you over for a minor traffic infraction and then determine that you may be DUI. You may be facing several violations as well as a DUI charge. DUI charges are considered criminal in nature rather than traffic violations but will also have an impact on your ability to retain your driving privileges.

Field Sobriety Tests

A police officer will approach your vehicle and ask to see your driver’s license, registration, and insurance. If the officer suspects you may have been drinking, he may ask you to exit the vehicle and step to the side of the road to perform some field sobriety tests (FSTs). Some of the most common field sobriety tests include:

  • Walking a straight line
  • Standing on one leg
  • Reciting the alphabet
  • Touching your finger to your nose

The results of these types of tests are subjective, meaning that the officer uses his own perception to decide how well you perform. Field sobriety tests are usually not admissible in court; however, they are used to take further action. After taking a FST the officer may then choose to place you under arrest for suspicion of DUI. This is a preliminary status that allows testing for blood alcohol content.

DUI Testing

In Florida, the legal drinking limit is 0.08% blood alcohol content. Your BAC can be tested using one of several methods. A breathalyzer test is familiar to most people. This device measures your blood alcohol content (BAC) by blowing into it. While this is a very handy portable device, it may not be as accurate as other methods of testing. For this reason you may be asked to take a blood or urine test. This requires a sample to be provided and is completed at the police station. The sample is then sent in to a company that specializes in analyzing the results. This is an important step because a high reading can make a big difference in the potential penalties. In Florida, the implied consent law requires you to submit to DUI testing if requested to do so by law enforcement. Failing to submit to testing can and will result in additional charges which will automatically suspend your driver’s license. Additionally, the fact that you refused the test will be used against you in your DUI case in court.

Fighting DUI Charges

An experienced attorney is necessary to present a good DUI defense. There are many things that your lawyer will review in preparing your case. This starts with your initial traffic stop, taking FSTs, and how the DUI tests were administered. It’s best to get a DUI lawyer involved as soon as possible after your arrest. It is important to understand that there are two parts to a DUI which include the criminal case against you as well as your driving privileges. Your lawyer will be able to address both of these issues and take care of all your concerns in fighting your DUI case.