If a police officer pulls you over while you are driving under the influence of alcohol, following these steps will increase your probability of achieving a favorable ruling in court.
- Don’t drink and drive.
The easiest way to avoid a DUI conviction is to avoid driving after drinking three or more servings of alcohol. If you plan on getting home from a bar or other alcohol-serving facility by driving yourself, don’t drink more than two alcoholic beverages. Not only will you be far less likely to receive a DUI conviction, but you will more likely have the sobriety necessary to drive yourself home. If you intended to drive yourself home, but had three more beverages, then you should get home another way, such as with a friend who has had no more than two alcoholic beverages (known as a “designated driver”) or a ride-sharing service, like Uber or Lyft.
- Be careful pulling over.
If you show poor driving technique while pulling over, the officer will begin collecting qualitative evidence against you. It is always best to take things slow, and make sure that you are pulling over in a safe area away from traffic.
- Keep your hands on the wheel, and don’t disrespect the officer.
Unpredictable movement or disrespect may encourage the officer to take restraining actions. Keeping your left hand on the left side of the wheel and your right hand on the right side of the wheel (known as “10 and 2 o’clock”) and using respectful words to the officer will decrease the probability of the officer physically restraining you and decrease the amount of qualitative evidence against you.
- Don’t answer questions.
If the officer asks, “how many servings of alcohol have you consumed this evening?” and you answer, “four,” then the officer has quantitative evidence against you. You are not required to answer questions apart from your name, driver’s license, and car paperwork. Simply reply, “I decline to answer.”
- Decline the field sobriety test or the breathalyzer. Instead, take the breath test back at the police station.
Florida law subjects you to neither the field sobriety test nor the breathalyzer, so taking either of those is unnecessarily self-incriminating. If the officer asks you to take either, respond “I decline to take that test.” The officer will take you to the police station and offer you a choice between a breath test and a blood test. The blood test is more precise than the breath test, so if you are certain that you have consumed two or less servings of alcohol, choose the blood test, but if you have consumed three or more servings, choose the breath test.
- Keep a private log of the night.
Writing down everything that happened during the night will make it easier for your attorney to fight for your case. Take particular note if the officer didn’t tell you your Miranda rights, i.e., “You have the right to remain silent….” Don’t show your log to the police, though, because it may be self-incriminating.
- Contact an experienced DUI attorney.
If you have been charged with DUI, it is crucial that you contact an experienced DUI attorney such as Kim LaSure who can defend you against your charge.