By: Miami DUI Attorney Albert Quirantes
So you have just been stopped by a police officer and you know that you have probably drunk too much. The amount of alcohol in your blood is probably well over the limit as determined by Florida laws as much as you can remember them. Events prior to being stopped may seem a bit hazy right now. It may seem that there is not much you can do but wait for your inevitable penalty and hope it doesn’t have too much impact on your life.
You are right to assume that if you don’t seem to have complete control of your vehicle that the chances are you are over the legal limit and when apprehended you could face serious charges.
Whatever excuses you may offer the arresting officer it’s unlikely that he or she will let you drive away and forget what took place. This means you are stuck with the situation and you will have to try and clear the fog from your brain and think quite carefully what steps to take next.
First of all, don’t get angry or be rude to the police officer. Undermining the authority of someone like this could well bring additional charges and observations to support the officer’s conclusions that you are too impaired to drive. If you feel you are guilty then engage in some damage control.
First, this is not the time to engage in a conversation with the officer. Simply provide your license, registration and insurance card to the cop. Remain silent and if asked a question, state you’d like to speak to a lawyer. The officer is attempting to smell your breath, so the less you speak the better. In fact, I have recommended that you carry your license, registration and insurance in a plastic zip-lock bag with a card or paper that says, “Here is my license, registration and Insurance as required by Florida statutes. I chose to remain silent and I ask for a lawyer to be present before being asked any questions and I object to any searches”. This invokes your fourth, fifth and sixth amendment rights under the United States Constitution. The golden rule is to seem polite and cooperative while you do this. However, you really don’t have to answer any questions, even if the cop has a big gun strapped to his or her waist.
The next step is that the officer will ask you to step out of your vehicle to determine how you do that. Try not to hold on to the door for support if you do. If you are “told” to perform an eye test or sobriety exercises, you have the right to shake your head and refuse to submit. There’s no penalty for refusing them other than it being mentioned at trial that you did. Later, you’ll be asked to do a breath test and if you refuse that, you’re facing a 1 year license suspension if it’s your first refusal and an 18 month suspension and a misdemeanor charge if it’s your second. It’s a personal decision whether to refuse a breath test or not, but if you blow a .08% or above, a judge or jury can convict you just on that evidence alone. So, if you have not given any evidence so far, consider whether you’re going to provide it now. Finally, after all of that show, the officer will read you your rights if you are going to be questioned. At that point, the answer is again, a shake of the head to indicate you will not answer questions.
Almost everyone when stopped asks to be let off, don’t even try it because it will be counterproductive. The officers know people beg, cry, talk about their job, family, etc. The arresting officer in a DUI case is merely noting down all of your statements and actions to support the basis for the DUI arrest. Remember, that’s what they’re getting paid for. The more the evidence, the more the overtime they are racking up in arrest and processing time, and later: pre-charging statements to prosecutors, depositions taken by the defense, pre-trial motion hearings and trials. You’re not doing anyone any favors by begging or pleading. Face it, you’re going in, and you must now go into damage control mode and start your defense now by providing the least amount of evidence.
If you blow it, once your registration, license and car keys have been removed, you won’t have a leg to stand on, presuming of course that you can actually still stand up. Remember, you will get out soon even though you may be facing between six to nine months for a non-accident first offense. Play it smart now and you will do better later.
Whether you are arrested for DUI or just ticketed for a traffic violation, you may still end up in court and you will need representation from an experienced Miami DUI attorney to ensure the court outcome favors you. Many defendants think they can sweet talk judges and get let off. This is a rare situation and you are only likely to incur a lesser charge or get your case thrown out if an experienced Florida DUI lawyer can convince the judge that there is insufficient evidence to prove your guilt.
The best legal advice I can give anyone reading this far is to “NEVER DRINK AND DRIVE!” Even though it’s not illegal to drink and drive, or else there would not be parking lots in bars. You may not be able to gauge your limit.
So, now is the time to put your potential future lawyer on speed dial, not when the problem occurs. Not that I wish this on anyone, however, it’s better to be prepared for anything which may happen in the future than to fear it. So, take a moment right now and put my number on your speed dial. You never know when you may need me.
Increase your knowledge! If you want to know more about how to resolve the problems you face when charged with a DUI, criminal offense, or traffic ticket in Florida, then you can follow Albert M. Quirantes – Ticket Law Center, A Criminal & DUI Defense Law Firm on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.
If you have any questions about this or any other DUI or criminal defense accusation, call Miami DUI Defense Lawyer Albert Quirantes at: 305-644-1800 or visit our homepage www.DUIfirm.com for a direct link to the office or a text message or a map and directions to our office.