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DUI – Be Polite But Curb Your Cooperation
There is no good reason to drink and drive. Even if you’ve had just one drink, the negative impact you’ll have on your life if you’re pulled over or stopped at a DUI checkpoint far outweighs any pleasure you might get from drinking alcohol. Even if your driving and behavior are normal, it only takes one slightly suspicious cop to make you jump the ropes of a roadside sobriety test.
As I mentioned earlier, the field sobriety test (FST) is impossible for anyone to pass. Although they are designed to assess the situation and compatibility, you need to be a professional athlete, who has never drunk, to have any hope of doing well following the instructions given by the FST officer. We have all seen how these tests are conducted, if not from our own experience, we have seen this part of the circus being performed on television. The police officer usually starts his test by asking you to look at other things like a pen and your eyes. Then there are other activities such as standing on one foot or walking with your heels up to your toes with your hands at your sides. These are not things we do every day, so few of us can do them to the satisfaction of a police officer who wants to make a DUI arrest.
If you fail the FST, as you will, you will be asked to take a breathalyzer test. I am against this for several reasons. First, it interferes with the freedom of motorists. Second, breathalyzers are not as accurate as the powers that be would like you to think. Unfortunately, this test you can fail is mandatory in Florida. Your Florida driver’s license comes with an agreement to obey all laws, and you will be arrested if you do not. Therefore, it seems pointless for me to urge you to politely decline to participate in this. For FST, tell the officer that you have a knee or back injury; for the breathalyzer, tell him that you are concerned about the cleanliness of the item he is asking you to put in your mouth. Remember that failing this test, as you will, will result in your arrest. When it comes to drinking and driving, if you don’t have a problem, there’s no need to give them any evidence they can use against you in court that would make you do it. Your best bet is to call our office as soon as possible for a consultation.
There are other ideas, off the wall, floating around out there. One popular belief that is being held in several states as a result of the video that has been released is that you should carry a sign saying that you want to remain silent, resist any search, and want to talk to your lawyer. This should be done when you hold your driver’s license and register at your window with the doors locked. DO NOT confirm this. There are no rules to indicate whether this is the right way to protect your legal rights. Plus, with all the recent hype on social media, the police are more vulnerable than ever. If you show any signs of resistance when they feel that they have issued a legal order, you could be just one more disaster in the series of disasters we have been witnessing lately.
Another option that some who drink and drive may have considered is to buy their own breathalyzer for several hundred dollars to ensure that their blood alcohol content (BAC) does not increase. The problem with this is obvious. These devices vary in reliability and there is no guarantee that your reading will be the same as that of the police officer who pulls you over.
Concerns about drunk driving are often legitimate, and in most cases, enforcement of drunk driving laws is beneficial to anyone affected by a drunk driver. One such example is an incident that occurred in South Florida. A Miami woman was recently charged with manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, and DUI causing property damage/injury. These charges stem from a drunken driving incident several months ago.
On July 19, 2014, the girl was arrested for driving the wrong way on I-95 which caused a fatal accident that killed a 42-year-old motorcyclist. The lack of wisdom in choosing to drink heavily has ruined a person’s life. In addition, his poor judgment has also affected his life, due to the charges against him and the lack of visibility he has faced as a result of the accident.
The young woman’s BAC was more than twice the legal limit and, therefore, she was undoubtedly intoxicated. Had he been pulled over or stopped at a checkpoint, he would have undoubtedly been arrested, and a man’s life would have been saved. Although it is difficult to be arrested for DUI, his life would have been better if he had endured the arrest instead of the consequences he is facing now.
It’s situations like this that make drunk driving laws so important. Just one incident like this has a devastating effect on the lives of countless others. Unfortunately, these types of accidents cause the police to see almost every driver as a drunk driver, even if the driver is not drunk. When a cop asks you if you’ve been drinking and you’re trying to be a responsible citizen by saying, “Well, I had a glass of wine and dinner,” it’s all over. You can expect an FST to be issued, and you have a chance of going to jail – all a police officer has to do is assume you’re driving safely and realize you’ve had ANY alcohol, and you’re on your way.
This is why we are here, to help people who are not drunk, but have been facing all the problems that go along with endangering the lives of others by driving drunk. Yes, we also represent those who may be intoxicated as well, because our laws give every citizen the right to defend themselves. The consequences of not defending your drunk driving charge are very serious.
Penalties for DUI
The recommendations I have made will give you the best possible chance of getting your DUI charge dismissed. Because the penalties for a DUI conviction can be very severe and include a long list, the following addresses first-time offenders:
- The fine for a first conviction is $500 but not more than $1,000. If the driver’s BAC is .15 or higher, or if there is a minor in the vehicle, the fine must not be less than $1,000, but not more than $2,000.
- The court requires 50 mandatory hours of community service or an additional fee of $10 for each hour that community service must be served.
- Possible trial for one year.
- Imprisonment for not more than 6 months, unless there is a minor in the car and your BAC is less than that. 15. The court may order a drug or alcohol program known as a probationary period.
- If the family of a person arrested for DUI owns more than one vehicle, the vehicle used in the DUI may be impounded, or impounded, for up to 10 days.
- The driver’s license was suspended for 180 days, but not more than one year.
- They should go to DUI school and apply for a hearing to see if the driver can get reinstated.
- An ignition interlock device is valid for up to 6 months if the BAC is.15 or higher.
- A first conviction for DUI causing injury or property damage is a first degree misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 or up to one year in prison. If serious injury has occurred, the driver may be convicted of third degree and may face a fine of $5,000 and/or 5 years in prison.
These are some of the penalties that a first-time DUI conviction can face. They are statutory penalties so judges have no power to change them. The penalties are very severe, as they should be, if someone is killed for driving under the influence as described earlier.
Don’t drink and drive. The damage that can be caused by drunk driving is very serious. Even if you are not drunk, if you have another way to get home, it is better to take it. Don’t forget that police cars have speed cameras and there is a trend for police to wear body cameras, too. Therefore, even the slightest misunderstanding or unclear wording gives the officer all the motivation he needs to make an arrest. You can bet they WILL submit the video/audio to the court as proof of your guilt. (This is another good reason not to do FST – they make almost everyone look drunk.)
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