What every driver needs to know about D.U.I.
Should you ever be pulled over and feel possibly impaired by drugs or alcohol, to protect your legal rights, only provide your identification, insurance card and registration to the officer. Anything else that you may say or do may be used against you as evidence in a court. Moreover (and so long as you are not arrested), do not consent for an officer to search you or your vehicle.
Please be aware that sometimes authorities may ask a driver to perform certain (but voluntary) roadside agility tests or exercises which may include: walking, balancing, reciting the alphabet, touching your nose with eyes closed and the ever popular horizontal gaze Nystagmus eye test. The results can be used later as evidence to prove impairment. As such, do not participate to help the State’s criminal case. Often times they can make perfectly sober people appear impaired so there are never any real advantages in taking them.
In other instances, a driver may be asked to take a Breathalyzer test. If this is your first D.U.I., you are usually better off refusing to take it. If its’ your second refusal however, that in and of itself is a crime punishable under Florida law by a year in jail. As such, that fact alone may make it worthwhile to perform it.
Of course, if you haven’t taken drugs in the last (30) thirty days and know that there is little or no alcohol in your system, you have the right to request a blood test (if you already consented to the Breathalyzer). The blood test is much more accurate. Please be aware however that the blood results can really hurt your case if the findings don’t go your way.
If there is a serious injury or death related to a D.U.I.accident, the police will compel a blood test. In this instance, there is no reason to refuse the officer’s request because if they don’t have the right to ask for it, the findings will eventually be suppressed and can’t be used against you at trial. That being said, do not sign any consent forms allowing them to take your blood.
Bonding Out: Once you have been arrested the police must hold you for (8) eight hours. This is so you don’t endanger yourself or the public by driving again. If you don’t have cash on hand, the ability to withdraw money from an A.T.M. that they have in the jail (how very convenient right?), no family members/friends to help or are not a member of a motor club that offers benefits for posting bond, one can always call a bondsman.They typically post money (a bond) on your behalf so the person arrested can be released from jail before the trial procedure starts. If you can’t find anyone to post bond for you, an organization called pre-trial services may release you with conditions like daily/weekly calls to their offices to permit continued release.
It is essential within the first (10) ten days after the arrest to file for what’s called a formal review hearing. This allows you to contest the drivers’ license suspension from the D.M.V. which is separate and apart from the criminal prosecution that you will likely be facing. Accordingly, its’ best to seek legal representation immediately. Should you ever need assistance in this regard, kindly contact our office. We will gladly recommend attorneys who can protect your rights.