If you are facing charges for driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, you are not alone. Every year, law enforcement arrests more than a million Americans for drunk driving. This number does not even include intoxication from other substances. With this in mind, you may have questions. Again, this is normal. Dealing with a DUI can be stressful, but knowing what to expect can make the situation as painless as possible.
1. What If a Police Officer Asks If I Have Been Drinking?
Although you must provide a police officer with information such as your name and vehicle information, you do not have to answer any questions beyond identification without legal representation. If someone from law enforcement asks you something you do not want to answer, politely explain that you want to speak with a DUI lawyer before answering questions. Avoid saying anything that might incriminate you.
2. What Can Lead To DUI Charges?
A variety of factors can lead to a DUI charge, but there are trends worth noting. For example, many DUI arrests occur at night and on weekends. In addition, police often issue tickets and warrants after observing a driver who:
- Appears drunk
- Nearly hits a vehicle or object
- Stops abruptly in a traffic lane
- Drives on a surface other than the roadway
- Drives less than 10 mph under the limit
- Follows closely
- Randomly brakes
- Responds slowly to traffic signals
- Speeds up or slows down erratically
Other signals such as driving at night without your headlights on can also flag police officers of a potential problem. Of course, these signs do not always indicate a DUI case. For example, medical emergencies can also lead to these occurrences while driving.
3. What Is My Blood Alcohol Level?
Your blood alcohol level, or BAC, is the term that medical professionals use to describe the level of alcohol in your bloodstream. At the time of DUI arrest, police record your BAC and use this information at a later time when presenting your case. Usually, breath tests occur on the road, but blood and urine testing are also possible. Illegal drinking limits vary from state to state, with some save being at .10 and others at .08.
4. Are Breath Test Results Always Accurate?
Several factors can impact the accuracy of BAC test. In some courts, defendants argue against the scientific accuracy of breath test results whereas other court cases focus on the methods by which law enforcement conducts the test. With either scenario, human or product errors are possible.
5. Can I Refuse a Breath Test?
You can refuse a roadside breath test if a police officer requests that you take one, but there can be stiff consequences for doing so. With that said, many DUI attorneys find themselves working on these sorts of charges. If you refuse a breath test, seeking out legal aid can be even more helpful.
6. Is There Evidence That the Police Can Use Against Me?
Depending on the local laws that oversee the area where your DUI arrest occurs, there are several types of evidence that the police may use against you. In addition to the results of your chemical test or field sobriety tests, any evidence that police remove from your vehicle after a search (if the law permits warrantless searches) can also work against you. Dashcam footage and witness testimony can also apply.
7. Do I Have to Speak With Law Enforcement?
Other than providing your personal and vehicle identification information, you do not have to speak with police until after you speak with legal counsel. If someone tries to ask you something that you do not want to answer, nicely but firmly state that you would like to exercise your right to remain silent until speaking with an attorney.
8. What Are Some DUI Defenses?
When defending a DUI case, there are numerous directions the defense can take, but some are more common than others. For instance, a DUI criminal defense lawyer might suggest limiting the amount of prosecution evidence as his or her strategy, or he or she may argue that the roadside testing was faulty. Understanding Florida DUI laws can help you better understand your situation and what kind of defense you may be able to use.
Facing DUI charges is never fun or easy, but understanding your situation can help make it as straightforward as possible so you can refocus on the things that matter most. After reading this list, write down any remaining questions you have before contacting a DUI lawyer in your area.