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Things to know when facing DUI charges in Florida

Whether you were visiting one of the beautiful beaches on vacation in Florida or are a full-time resident, if a police officer pulled you over and arrested you on suspicion of drunk driving, the next weeks and months of your life may be rather stressful. Having a to pay a speeding ticket is bad enough; facing criminal charges that place your freedom at risk is even worse.  

Arming yourself with as much information as possible regarding your personal rights and DUI laws in this state may be key to obtaining a positive outcome in your case. The good news is that you don't have to go it alone. There are support networks in place that can help you every step of the way. No two incidents are exactly the same, so it's crucial to determine which type of defense strategy best fits your particular situation. 

Implied consent laws may affect your case 

If you refused to take a breath test at the scene of a traffic stop, you are at risk for administrative penalties that may include driver's license suspension. You are not legally obligated to take a preliminary alcohol screening during a traffic stop; however, your refusal may work against you in the long run because prosecutors seeking conviction know how to use the fact that you refused as an incrimination tactic.  

Time is of the essence regarding Breathalyzer testing 

If the person who administered your Breathalyzer test waited too long to do so, the results of the test may not accurately reflect your blood alcohol content level while you were driving. BAC increases over time, so you may be within the legal limits for driving but appear to have been legally intoxicated if too much time passed between the initial traffic stop and test administration.  

Field sobriety tests 

You are also not legally obligated to take field sobriety tests nor are there are any administrative penalties for refusing to take such tests. Field examinations often include the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, which measures your eye movements when tracking objects, a walk-and-turn test or the one-leg stance test. Police use field sobriety tests to determine if they have probable cause to arrest you. An experienced attorney can petition the court to refuse testimony regarding your performance if you do submit to a field test. 

Especially if it's the first time you are facing drunk driving charges, there are often several options available to try to avoid conviction. Determining which one is most viable in your situation can be tricky. This is why most Florida motorists tap into local legal resources to help them build strong defenses before heading to court. 

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