What does it take to get arrested for DUI in Florida?
In Southwest Florida, Sarasota, Manatee, Pinellas, Hillsborough Polk, and Charlotte counties, have an odor of an alcoholic beverage about your breath and person. That’s it, smell like alcohol and you may very well be going to jail! That is very scary considering “alcohol” is inherently odorless and it is not illegal to have a couple of drinks and then drive. The odor of an alcoholic “beverage” on someone only means, at best, that they may have consumed some sort of an alcoholic beverage at some point in the day or evening. A strong odor of alcohol DOES NOT automatically correlate to a high level of intoxication. The legal standard in Florida is that your level of intoxication must impair your NORMAL FACLUTIES. How does the stopping officer know what your normal faculties are? He doesn’t, unless you allow him to utilize the tips and tricks that he learned in the police academy. DUI enforcement is serious business and you must hire an attorney who understands this. Attorney Brandon Daniels and his team understand the ins and outs of a Florida DUI and is a dedicated member of the National DUI College. If you ever find yourself in the frightening situation of being investigated for DUI in Florida here are some tips for you to consider.
First of all: if you are drunk…please don’t drive.
However, if you have had a few drinks, are not under the influence, and then need to drive, this page is for you. It is my experience that the odor of an alcoholic beverage coupled with a slight falter or what the officer believes to be slurred speech typically turns a routine traffic ticket into an arrest for Driving Under the Influence, DUI. If you find yourself in the uncomfortable position of being stopped by the police after a drink or two, here are a few tips that you should follow.
HGN Test: (Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test – “Pen and the Eye Test”)
Be polite and professional with the officers. I am not telling you to do everything the officer wants you to do. I am just saying don’t be rude or obnoxious when dealing with the police.
DO NOT say you have been drinking
DO NOT say you have had too much to drink
DO NOT say you are intoxicated
DO NOT say you cannot pass any tests they offer you
DO NOT say that you could not pass these tests even if you were sober
DO NOT answer any questions about where you have been or how much you have had to drink. Simply say that you would like to consult with your attorney, Brandon Daniels, before making any statements about alcohol consumption
DO NOT consent to any searches of your person, vehicle, or home
DO NOT admit to taking ANY drugs. It does not matter if they are legal, illegal, prescribed, or otherwise
DO NOT perform any Roadside Field Sobriety Tests. These include the Standardized Field Sobriety Exercises. These field sobriety exercises are VOLUNTARY. You are not required to take them and they are designed only to be used against you. You may hear the officer or deputy tell you that you must “Dispel their suspicion that you are under the influence of alcohol”. Remember you are still innocent until proven guilty, don’t give the officers any more evidence then they believe they already have
If you are arrested, immediately request that you be able to speak to your attorney Brandon Daniels at (941) 315-8DUI (8384)
Here is what the police are thinking and watching for:
Driving Patterns: Police officers are trained to watch the way you drive and note any “cues” that could indicate the driver is under the influence. The following are some of the cues that the police are trained to watch for.
- Straddling a Lane Line
- Wide Turning
- Almost Striking Another Vehicle or Object
- Stopping Problems (too far, too short, or too jerky)
- Accelerating or Decelerating Rapidly
- Varying Speed
- Driving 10 mph or more under the speed limit
- Driving in Wrong Lanes or on One Way
- Slow Response to Traffic Signals
- Stopping for No Apparent Reason
- Driving Without Headlights on at night
- Failing to Signal or Inconsistent Signals
- Following Too Closely
- Improper or Unsafe Lane Change
Once they have decided to stop you (“Blue Lights Come On”):
Once the police decide they are going to stop you they will watch your actions very closely and everything you say is most likely audio and/or video recorded. Here are a few of the things they will be watching for:
- Use of Turn Signal
- Slow or Wide Turn
- Hitting Curb or Another Object
- Slow Reaction to Police Lights
- Not Pulling off Roadway Completely
Once you are stopped:
The next phase of a typical DUI stop is called Personal Contact. Many times this is when a routine stop will turn into a DUI investigation. BY FAR the most common observation reported by the officers is “Smell of an Alcoholic Beverage about the Breath and/or Person.” Here are some more things the police will be watching you for:
- Red, Bloodshot, Watery, or Glassy Eyes
- Slurred Speech or thick tongue
- Fumbling with License or Insurance
- Inconsistent Answers to Questions
- Admission of Drinking
- Cover-Up Odors like Cologne or Gum or Breath Mints
- Not Providing Officer with the Items Requested
Now your OUT of the Vehicle:
Next they will get you out of the vehicle. This is very important: When getting out of your car DO NOT use the car to:
- Lean on
- Stabilize yourself
- Pull up on for assistance in exiting your vehicle
The police really watch closely for any touch, lean, stumble, stagger, sway, or trouble opening the door. I have seen it hundreds of times where if a driver has the “odor of an alcoholic beverage about their person” and then one small mistake getting out of the vehicle they will be arrested for DUI more times than not. So exit your vehicle carefully and walk to the police car carefully. Do not lean on your car or their car. Remember all your statements in the patrol car are audio and video recorded.
State’s Breath Test Machine: Intoxilyzer 8000:
If you are arrested for DUI the police are required to read the State of Florida’s Implied Consent Warning. Its purpose is to advise you of your rights with regard to submitting to a Gas Chromatograph test of your breath or blood for the determination of alcohol content. If they offer you a breath test and if you agree to take it ALWAYS request your own independent BLOOD test. This must be done at your expense but it is very important that you do so. The Intoxilyzer 8000 is an unreliable way of measuring a person’s breath alcohol content. A Gas Chromatograph is the device used to measure drug or alcohol in blood and is much more reliable if conducted properly. This is one reason why requesting an independent blood test is so important. There is another really good reason that I cannot announce on this site for all to see. Ask me about it in person during a consultation and I will tell you but I do not want to broadcast it to the police officers that may be reading the material on this site.
How to Best to Refuse the Breath Test if you Choose to do so:
If you make the choice to refuse to submit to the State’s test I have some advice for that as well. Do not say you don’t want to take it. Do not just stand mute. Simply tell the officer that you would really like to talk to your attorney, before making this choice. The officer will tell you that you do not have the right to do so. Politely repeat to the officer that you don’t feel comfortable making a legal decision of this importance without first consulting with your attorney. A lot of the judges and jurors may believe a straight refusal could be considered an admission of your guilt or that you are trying to hide your level of impairment.
I have several more tips that are very important and can easily be the difference between an arrest and conviction or even assist in helping you avoid a DUI arrest in Sarasota, Manatee, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Polk, and Charlotte counties.
My Most Important Tip…Please Drink Responsibly – Use a Designated Driver – Don’t Drive Drunk
At DANIELS & HANNAN our Attorneys are able to handle any DUI or drinking related traffic violation that you have and we offer you the personal attention you deserve. Our office staff and Attorneys are able to walk you the best options for defending your rights and explain how it will work from beginning to end.
DANIELS & HANNAN Attorneys at Law provide experienced legal services in Criminal Defense, Family Law, Divorce Law, DUI Defense, Personal Injury, and Business Law. Providing full service legal representation throughout Southwest Florida with primary offices located in Lakewood Ranch Florida representing clients’ in Sarasota, Manatee, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Polk, and Charlotte counties. DANIELS & HANNAN has the experience needed to manage legal matters before Florida State, County, and Federal Courts in Clearwater, Bradenton, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, Tampa, Venice, Fort Meyers, Naples, and others throughout Southwest Florida.