You're driving home after a fun night out with friends, and all of a sudden, you see flashing lights in your rearview mirror. Next thing you know, you're outside of your vehicle, submitting to breath tests for a suspected DUI. This is scary, and you are probably unsure of what happens next or what you should do.
Every Florida driver has rights, even when suspected of drunk driving. It's smart for you to know what these rights are and what you should expect from a DUI traffic stop. This can help you recognize problems and fight back against potentially unfair treatment. No matter the circumstances of your traffic stop and arrest, you have the right to fight the charges against you with a strong and thoughtfully prepared defense strategy.
What happens during a DUI stop?
Police cannot stop a driver simply because they want to. There must be a clear reason to suspect that a driver is driving intoxicated, which is reasonable suspicion. Some of the actions that law enforcement may use to justify a traffic stop include:
- Driving at erratic speeds
- Failure to stop and yield
When law enforcement stops a driver, they will come to the car and speak with the driver. If they believe the driver is intoxicated, often because of things like smelling alcohol or slurred speech, they will ask the driver to submit to field sobriety tests. These include things like walking in a straight line, following an object with the eyes or balancing on one foot.
If a driver fails a field sobriety test, law enforcement will ask the driver to submit to a chemical test of his or her breath, blood or urine. If you refuse to take the test, you will likely lose your license for a period of time.
Protecting your rights
If you are facing DUI charges or you simply want to know what to do in the event that police pull you over for suspected DUI, you will find great benefit in seeking the counsel of an experienced defense attorney. He or she can explain the law and your rights, as well as what you can do to protect your interests during this time.
There are multiple ways to fight back against a DUI. Pleading guilty is never your only option. You can learn about the most appropriate defense strategy for your situation by seeking an assessment of your case.