Generally, Florida drivers know that they have to obey traffic safety rules such as driving below the speed limit and stopping at red lights. What they may not know is that they have consented to a breath test in exchange for their driving privileges.
Drunk driving arrests are so common that many people probably think that these are relatively minor incidents. But, while such arrests - for first-time offenders - are typically misdemeanors, which means they have a lower level of potential penalties involved, the all-encompassing penalties, beyond just what is involved from a criminal justice standpoint, can be significant.
By now many of our readers in Florida probably know that one of the basic elements of a DUI traffic stop is for the investigating police officer to ask the suspect driver to submit to a breath test using a device commonly known as a breathalyzer. Such a request is just part of the DUI investigation, along with asking questions of the suspect and asking the suspect to take part in field sobriety tests. While most people understand that it is usually best to cooperate with law enforcement officials when legal and constitutionally valid requests are made, some may think that it is best to not cooperate in order to avoid incriminating themselves. Under Florida law, there are consequences for refusing a breath test during a DUI stop.
There are hundreds of Florida residents who face drunk driving charges each year. DUI is one of the most common criminal charges that a person can face, so it is important for our readers to know what will occur during the investigation of a potential DUI arrest. One important feature of such an investigation is field sobriety tests.
A previous post on this blog talked about how someone who was likely thought of us a community leader recently found himself in trouble because of a boating under the influence charge.
The Hlllsborough County Sheriff's Department, which serves the Tampa area, arrested one of its own deputies recently as part of a routine boating patrol off the coast. The deputy was detained on charges of boating under the influence of alcohol and posted a $500 bail. He has also been suspended from his job without pay until the sheriff completes an internal investigation.
Individuals who are facing drunk driving charges may have serious concerns about the potential penalties they face and questions as to what they might be. The potential penalties and consequences for drunk driving charges can vary depending on the circumstances. For instance, an individual who has their second DUI offense is required in Florida to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle. In addition, an ignition interlock device may be required for a first DUI offense in some circumstances.
Many people in the Tampa area, particularly if they are going through the legal system for the first time, may think that if they blew over the legal limit at the police station, then they may as well plead guilty to the ensuing DUI charge because there is proof that they were intoxicated.
There are lots of attorneys out there who say they are ready to defend against drunk driving charges at a trial. Obviously, each of them have a slightly different approach to an OUI case.
Even those in the Tampa area who haven't had personal experience with them may be at least somewhat familiar with field sobriety tests. After all, they have been ingrained in the common culture as part of the ritual of a drunk driving arrest and charge: first a person gets stopped, then they take the field sobriety tests and then they take an official blood or breath test.