Being stopped for driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious situation with far-reaching legal and personal consequences. If you face a DUI stop in Florida, it’s crucial to understand your rights, the legal process, and the potential consequences. Goldman Daszkal Attorneys wants to share some essential information to help you navigate a DUI stop in Florida.
Understanding DUI Laws in Florida
Florida has strict laws and penalties for driving under the influence. The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for drivers aged 21 and over is 0.08%, and for drivers under 21, it’s 0.02%. It’s important to note that Florida has an implied consent law, which means that by driving in the state, you’ve already agreed to submit to a chemical test if you are lawfully arrested for a DUI.
What to Do if You’re Stopped
Remain Calm: If you are pulled over by law enforcement, remain calm and respectful. Cooperate with the officer’s requests, such as providing your license, registration, and insurance.
Field Sobriety Tests: In Florida, you can refuse field sobriety tests, such as the walk-and-turn or one-leg stand tests. These tests can be subjective and challenging even for sober individuals.
Breathalyzer Test: If you are arrested for DUI, you’ll likely be asked to take a breathalyzer test. Refusing this test can result in the suspension of your driver’s license for a year, but it’s important to weigh the potential consequences, such as self-incrimination.
Your Right to an Attorney: You have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. We recommend not answering any questions until you have retained an attorney.
Legal Process After a DUI Stop
Booking and Release: After your arrest, you’ll be booked into the local jail, which includes fingerprinting and taking your photograph. Depending on the circumstances, you may be released on bail.
Administrative Suspension: If you refuse a breathalyzer test or have a BAC above the legal limit, your driver’s license will be administratively suspended. You have the right to challenge this suspension through an administrative hearing.
Criminal Case: You’ll face criminal charges for DUI, which can result in fines, probation, community service, mandatory DUI education programs, and jail time. The severity of the penalties depends on factors such as your BAC, prior convictions, and whether there was an accident or injury.
Defenses and Legal Options: An experienced DUI attorney can help you build a strong defense. Possible defenses include challenging the legality of the traffic stop, questioning the accuracy of the breathalyzer test, or disputing the reliability of field sobriety tests.
Aside from immediate legal penalties, a DUI conviction can have lasting consequences:
License Suspension: A DUI conviction can lead to a license suspension, impacting your ability to drive to work, school, and other essential activities.
Insurance Premiums: Your auto insurance rates are likely to increase substantially after a DUI conviction.
Employment: Some employers may view a DUI conviction negatively, potentially affecting your current job or future job prospects.
Background Checks: A DUI conviction becomes a part of your criminal record, which potential landlords, lenders, and employers can access.
We hope you never drive after consuming alcohol, but if you are arrested and charged with DUI, immediately seek legal counsel with the experts at Goldman Daszkal. We know how to mount a defense against these charges.