Pulled Over for DUI? West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer Has Suggestions
West Palm Beach DUI defense lawyer Andrew Stine says if you are pulled over for a DUI, you should be courteous
Summary: West Palm Beach DUI defense lawyer Andrew Stine says if you are pulled over for a DUI, you should be courteous but refuse to answer any of the officer’s questions.
Many of us will be going out and seeing family and friends through the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. DUI defense attorney Andrew Stine suggests that if you’ve been pulled over and asked questions about whether or not you have been drinking alcohol or asked to take field sobriety tests, you should refuse to answer any of the Law Enforcement Officer’s questions about consuming alcoholic beverages and should also refuse to perform any and all sobriety roadside test. In a recent Google+ hangout Stine says, even though you shouldn’t answer questions about whether or not you have consumed alcoholic beverages or comply with an officer’s requests to do roadside sobriety tests, you should be courteous to the officer.
“Being courteous to law enforcement is important for a lot of reasons. Most of the time, if not always, the video (of your conversation) is going to demonstrate how you’re reacting, what you’re saying, what you’re not saying, when your vehicle is stopped,” he says. “Being courteous is a very important feature for a jury or a judge to consider.” It demonstrates normal faculties.
Under Florida law, the prosecution needs to show that you have a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08% or greater or your normal functions are impaired, while you’re in physical control of a vehicle. That physical control of a vehicle includes, if you’ve pulled the vehicle over yourself, are still in the driver’s seat with the engine turned off and the key still in the ignition or in your possession. In those types of situations, situation Stine suggests that if you’re in a safe area to leave the vehicle, just do so. If you are stopped walking away from the automobile by law enforcement officers, again be courteous but refuse to answer any of their questions about your use of the automobile.
If an officer pulls you over, the officer will concentrate on how long it took for you to stop your vehicle, that you do so safely and that you pulled over to a safe area. If you’re asked for your license, registration and proof of insurance, you need to comply, says Stine. The officer will then likely ask the driver questions to determine how well the driver is talking, whether the driver appears to be intoxicated and if the driver personally smells like alcohol. The law enforcement officer may also request that you get out of your vehicle to determine if the vehicle or the driver smells like alcohol. In these situations it is best to comply with the officer and remember to be courteous but not to provide any other information like if you have consumed alcoholic beverages, where you were coming from, where you are going and the like.
Stine suggests, as would many of the best DUI defense lawyers, you act politely, courteously, but remember to refuse to answer questions or comply with sobriety test requests in order to best protect your legal rights. He says, you should tell the officer that you refuse to answer questions and refuse the sobriety tests and request an attorney to be present.
The officer will ask you about several things and will likely ask you to perform several acts. The officer may ask what is the date, what time is it, where are you going, where are coming from, when was the last time you consumed alcoholic beverages, when was the last time you ate and many other similar questions that you should refuse to answer. The field sobriety tests can include:
· How the pupils of your eyes respond to light and your ability to follow the light with your eyes without moving your head. Stine says this is a non-scientific test referred to as the HGN Test.
· Touching your fingertip to your nose is another test officers like to administer. Stine says officers try to trip up a driver when conducting the test, by asking the driver to touch their nose in a pattern (left, right, left, right) but suddenly then instruct the driver to use the opposite hand after the pattern has been established. Similar to the game “Simon Says.”
· Drivers are also asked to walk a straight line, the heel to toe test, then turn around and continue for approximately 10 steps. Stine says this requires a lot of dexterity and focus that even someone who is sober will have difficulty with.
· The officer will also many times ask a driver to recite the alphabet, the Romberg alphabet test, to see if the person can speak clearly.
Stine says if you’re put in handcuffs and taken to a facility to have your BAC, blood alcohol level, tested you should continue to refuse to answer questions or cooperate with the blow test. “Any time you’re asked to submit to a field sobriety test you have an absolute right to refuse them,” Stine says. He says, breathalyzers machines and tests used by law enforcement officers may not be calibrated correctly and may not accurately measure your BAC.
Stine warns that even drivers who haven’t had any alcoholic beverages before being stopped by law enforcement officers should also refuse to submit to field sobriety tests and test of their breath, blood or urine. “You could be completely alcohol free, completely sober and absolutely fail these tests.”
Stine further says that the tests will be videotaped and audio recorded with any and all of the driver’s mistakes being interpreted as evidence that the driver is in fact intoxicated or impaired while in control of a motor vehicle. While officers have a lot of experience giving tests and performing field sobriety tests, drivers do not have the same level of experience performing them and likely have never done so in their entire driving history. Under the stress of the situation and due to their difficulty, a sober driver may not perform them perfectly and will be arrested for DUI.
If you or a loved one has been arrested in Florida for driving under the influence, Andrew Stine can help protect your rights with his knowledge, experience and passion to protect people from unwarranted criminal charges. Contact his office today.
Consult West Palm Beach Criminal Lawyer -- > 561-880-4300.
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