DUIs, Field Sobriety Tests, and Breathalyzers
Imagine this scenario – You finally managed to rustle up a babysitter so that you and your spouse can enjoy a date night. You partake in a little candlelight, a glass of wine, and no demands from the kids. As you are driving home, you encounter a DUI checkpoint. No big deal, right? Not necessarily. The cop who stops your means detects the particular odor of alcohol, so he asks if you have been drinking. You see no reason not to say, “Well, I had a glass of wine with dinner.” Uh oh; big mistake. He asks you to get out of the car and then asks you to track some small object with your eyes only, holding your head nevertheless. This is called a horizontal gaze nystagmus. You know you are not drunk so you see no harm in following his request.
Regrettably, this is probably just the beginning of what started out as a great evening turning into a bad situation that will follow you permanently. already the slightest indicator that you are unable to track in any case object to his satisfaction will probably consequence in his request that you complete a field sobriety test (FST). Often people don’t realize that submitting to a field sobriety test is not mandatory. Most of you know what these exercises require, at the minimum to one degree or another, and most of you know that these ‘tests’ are virtually impossible to pass, already for the most sober of us. Unless you have an acute sense of coordination, walking heel-to-toe with your arms by your sides or standing on one foot fail to be easy responsibilities.
Unfortunately, since law enforcement agencies use these tests widely as a standard to determine whether or not an individual is intoxicated, it is likely that they will presume your blood alcohol content is greater than it may truly be. consequently, if or when you fail these tests, as many people do, the cop is probably going to arrest you. In other words, being put in a situation where your attention is divided and normal human failings in coordination are exploited is likely to end up with you spending a night in jail. So much for your nice, romantic evening, but you will definitely be away from the kids for the night.
Once an officer feels that you are impaired based upon how you function during the FSTs, he is going to request that you take a breathalyzer test. Although this is supposed to register the amount of alcohol in your system, they are not always accurate or already an indicator of intoxication. One man in Texas was arrested after a BAC test registered 0.0. He is nevertheless fighting that conviction.
One factor that you should keep in mind while all of this is transpiring is that it is highly likely that you are being videotaped. This makes it basic that no matter how ridiculous the stop may seem you need to keep your composure. Here are a few tips to help make the time of action move along, and also help ensure a greater chance of dismissal if and when you fight your DUI charge in court.
- Politely decline to voluntarily submit to the FSTs and the breathalyzer. With the possible inaccuracy of these tests, it almost never works in your favor to comply. As I before mentioned, once a cop suspects you of DUI, there is a strong likelihood of you spending the night in jail. You certainly don’t need to provide any further action that may increase speculation that you may have truly been impaired. You may choose to state that you have bad knees, et cetera, or you can just politely decline. It is important to observe that although the implied consent of getting a Florida driver’s license method that you are supposed to submit to these requests, they are nevertheless voluntary. Your driver’s license can be suspended for a year for a first time refusal. A second refusal can consequence in being charged with a criminal misdemeanor and an 18-month license suspension upon conviction.
- Do not become argumentative with the cop. Debating your case on the side of the road is a situation from which you will never appear victorious. The chances are good that you are only going to annoy the police officer, and he will remember you and the circumstances of the traffic stop clearly when it comes time to confront him in court. Additionally, don’t lose sight of the fact that you are playing to the cameras. Remaining calm and polite are paramount. Avoid leaning up against the car, sitting on the curb, swaying back and forth, or other such behaviors as they can often be construed as your needing to be propped up due to the without of balance being intoxicated can create.
- Keep in mind that the cop is also probably recording the conversation when he is questioning you. already if you are smiling for the camera, it will be detrimental if you make inappropriate or inflammatory statements. Of course, NEVER confess to anything.
Those who are convicted of this crime confront harsh penalties. The particulars of your arrest and the leniency of the estimate who is stated the case may affect the penalties you confront, but here are the general guidelines:
- 1st offense: a fine of between $500 and $1,000; 50 hours of community service; six to nine months in prison; probation of up to one year; and the means impounded for 10 days.
- 2nd offense: a fine of between $1,000 and $4,000; nine to 12 months in prison with a mandatory sentence of at the minimum 10 days; and the means impounded for 30 days.
- 3rd offense: a fine of $2,000 to $5,000; nine to 12 months in prison with a mandatory sentence of at the minimum 30 days; and the means impounded for 90 days.
- 4th offense: a fine of $2,000 or more; as much as five years in prison with a sentence of at the minimum 30 days; and the means impounded for 90 days.
The State of Florida takes the crime of DUI very seriously. It is, consequently, basic that if you are accused of DUI, you tread very carefully when dealing with this matter. If convicted, it is something that can plague you for the rest of your life. Whether it is applying for a job or another matter, a conviction of this character can impact you in ways that you may not experience for some time to come. consequently, if you find yourself in this situation, you should closest ask to speak to an attorney, and remember that you have the right to keep silent. It is usually a good idea to invoke that right until your attorney is present. If you or someone you know is facing this harsh charge, give us a call at 954-967-9888 for a free consultation.