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How to avoid a DUI and what happens next?

Everyone always asks me, "how do I avoid a DUI?" The answer is easy, if you drink don't drive and if you drive don't drink. The best way is to simply not drive to a drinking event. A taxi costs a heck of a lot less than me; it actually will cost you less than the court reporter. Depending on where you live, a taxi will run you less than the $25 is costs to file a request for a formal review hearing before the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The best way to avoid a DUI is to hire a taxi.

If it is too late for that, and you have been arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, then there are some important things to remember. First you can challenge the stop of your vehicle but at the roadside is NOT the place for this. Being polite and courteous to the officer may actually help you. Remember there is a good chance that you are being recorded. Also, the officer does not know you and therefore does not know you are a good person so keep your hands in sight and let them know before you reach for things like the registration in the glove box.

There is no such thing as a valid "random" stop. The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits random stops. Even if you are being arrested, a search of the interior of your vehicle is not always allowed. The answer to "Can I search your car?" is NO! The answer to "If you had nothing to hide you would let me search your car..." is nothing because they are not asking you a question. Do not take the bait. Have you been with your car since the day it rolled off the line? What if the person installing the carpet dropped his marijuana in your car at the assembly line and you did not know it? What if this officer is a bad apple who will plant evidence to secure a conviction? Do you know the officer?

In Florida an officer must have reasonable suspicion to request you take field sobriety exercises ("FSE"). Please note that words mean things and I used "request" and "exercises" NOT "make you" or "tests". The exercises are subjective and voluntary. It is your choice to take them or not. The only true thing about TV and movies is that ANYTHING you say or do will be used against you in court. Yes, this includes your refusal to participate in roadside FSE's. Anything you say even the manner in which you say it (slurred speech) will be used against you. You cannot lose your license for refusing FSE's, though many officers will tell you that.

However, your license can be suspended if you refuse to blow into the breathalizer. If you refuse, this will also be used against you in court. You cannot be unarrested and if you blow over .08 then your license will also be suspended. No they do not have to drop your case if you blow under .08. In fact I conducted a DUI trial in Ocala where the client blew .045. Yes the client was found not guilty in less than ten minutes of jury deliberation (long enough to pick a foreperson) and yes it was Ocala. So even this client who blew approximately half the presumed impairment limit was still subjected to hiring an attorney, an expert, a private investigator, court reporters and watching the jury go back hoping for a not guilty.

Why did your government choose to spend your money in this fashion? In fairness to the government, there was an anti-inflammatory arthritis medication in the urine. Unfortunately, even the government expert testified that the medication would have very little impairment effects. How do they get away with this? You elected them.

Once you are in custody, and sometimes when they order you to get out of the car, Miranda rights attach. If the officer asks you to perform FSE, ask for a lawyer. When they arrest you ask for a lawyer. You must ask for a lawyer constantly because there is a relatively new US Supreme Court case out there that makes this a good idea. Once you ask for a lawyer all questioning must stop. You should be quiet; just shut up. Keep in mind that even if you are talking about football, your speech pattern is being evaluated and possibly video recorded.

After you blow over .08 or refuse, your license is automatically suspended. Your citation will operate as a ten (10) day temporary driving permit. Within ten (10) days of your citation you must request a hearing before the DHSMV to challenge the automatic suspension. Currently this costs $25 (which can be more than the taxi ride). At the hearing the lawfulness of the arrest including the stop can be challenged.

A Florida Supreme Court case from 2011 specifically held the lawfulness of a stop or arrest can be challenged in a refusal case. Although I see no distinction as to the lawfulness of the arrest or stop in a blow case, my colleagues have warned that the general counsel of the DHSMV will argue differently.

In short, to avoid a DUI hire a taxi and not me. If you are arrested or cited for anything remember to be polite and courteous or you will make the situation worse. If you would like more information visit my DUI page, or for a free consulation in your DUI or traffic case click or call today. I offer free consultations in all criminal and traffic cases.

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