Know your Rights: What to do if you’re pulled over for a DUI
If you are pulled over for suspected driving under the influence (DUI), it is important to know your rights. Here at Meldon Law, we have successfully defended hundreds of DUI cases. This article will provide you with what to do during a DUI investigation.
What is a DUI?
Under Florida law, a person is guilty of driving under the influence if they are (1) driving or in actual control of the vehicle and (2) under the influence of any alcoholic beverages or any chemical substance that impairs a person’s normal faculties. For alcohol consumption, a person’s breath alcohol level (BAC) must not be .08 or above (per 210 liters of breath).
However, driving under the influence is not just limited to alcohol. In Florida, a person can be charged with a DUI if they are under the influence of any prescription drug or illegal drugs. After alcohol, the most common drug found in people charged with a DUI is marijuana. Other common drugs include:
- Painkillers, Anti-anxiety medications, Anti-ADHD drugs, Anti-insomnia medications, Anti-addiction drugs, etc.
If you are taking any medications, be sure to check the prescription label to check if it is safe to operate a vehicle.
Right to remain silent
You have the right to remain silent when approached by a police officer. However, you are required by law to provide your license, registration, and insurance. If the officer asks you any questions beyond that, you can calmly advise the officer you are using your right to remain silent. Some common questions you do NOT have to answer may be about where you’re coming from, if you’ve had anything to drink, if there’s anything illegal in the vehicle, what route you’re taking home, etc.
If a police officer asks to search your vehicle, you do not have to consent to a search. A police officer is not allowed to search your vehicle without your consent or without a warrant. However, there are exceptions to this rule. A police officer is able to conduct a warrantless search if they have probable cause, evidence in plain view, or any other lawful exception. Unless an exception to this rule is met, you have the right to tell the police officer you do not consent to a search of the vehicle.
Field Sobriety Exercises (FSEs)
You are not required by law to perform any field sobriety tests. Some common field sobriety exercises a police officer may ask you to perform are the walk and turn test, one leg stand, and the horizontal or vertical nystagmus test. Many refuse to participate in these tests because they are often difficult for sober individuals.
You are not required by law to take a breath test. If you believe your breath alcohol may be over the legal limit, and do not wish to take the breath test, politely inform the officer you will not be doing so. Upon refusing the breathalyzer, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended for one year (for a first offense). However, a refusal of the breathalyzer could increase your chances of better results in your DUI case, and getting your license back!
Contact your lawyer
Lastly, remember to stay calm and be polite. We understand this process is highly stressful, so let us guide you! We have represented those charged with DUI in Florida at Meldon Law for more than 50 years. If you have been arrested for a DUI, you can reach us through our website here or call us for a free consultation.