Seeing a police car’s flashing lights and hearing the siren behind you is a very unsettling experience for anyone on the road. You may not realize right away that you are being pulled over for a suspected DUI, but you should always know what steps to take in the event that is the reason for the stop. Below are some things you should expect at a DUI stop and what to do so you do not hurt your case or end up being arrested.
Police Will Look for Probable Cause
In order to make an arrest, police officers need probable cause. Probable cause is a reasonable basis for forming the opinion that criminal activity occurred. Prior to pulling you over, the police officer should have already formed some basis for probable cause to make the stop, such as erratic driving or if you were weaving in and out of lanes. Once they have stopped you, the officer will continue to look for signs that you are intoxicated, such as red eyes or slurred speech.
During this time, it is important that you cooperate with police, but also that you do not say anything to incriminate yourself. If the police officer asks if you have been drinking, do not answer the question but do ask if you are under arrest. Remain polite and provide your license and registration, but do not admit to any criminal offense or provide consent for them to search your vehicle.
Field Sobriety Tests
After looking for signs of intoxication, a police officer may ask you to perform field sobriety tests, regardless of whether they saw signs of drunkenness or not. The most common field sobriety tests include the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the walk and turn test, and the one-leg stand test. You are not under any legal obligation to comply with these tests. They are highly subjective and could provide law enforcement with additional proof of intoxication, even when you are sober. You should never agree to take these tests.
Chemical tests can include the breathalyzer, a blood test, or a urine test. Unlike field sobriety tests, you are required to submit to these tests under Florida’s implied consent laws. Regardless of the outcome of these tests, such as if you blow into a Breathalyzer and are over the legal limit, you should still not admit guilt, as it is possible to challenge the results of these tests.
Hiring a Florida DUI Lawyer
If an officer suspects that you are drunk during the DUI stop, they will likely arrest you. When this happens, it is critical that you speak to an Orlando drunk driving lawyer as soon as possible. At O’Mara Law Group, our experienced attorneys know how to defend against DUI charges by challenging chemical test results, showing it was an illegal stop, and challenging the arguments presented by the prosecution. Call us today at (407) 634-6604 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys and to learn more about your options.