When driving in and around Miami, there may come a time when you look in your rearview mirror and see flashing blue lights. Perhaps you had a few drinks, or maybe none at all. Regardless, you need to know what to do if you get pulled over for a DUI.
This stressful situation requires understanding the right steps to take to protect your rights and your future.
Only Get Out of Your Vehicle If Asked
If you’re driving and realize the police are pulling you over, put on your turn signal and pull over to a safe area out of the flow of traffic. You must remain calm, even as you might be wondering why you’re being pulled over.
Keep your hands on the steering wheel to show the officer that you are not looking for trouble. When the officer approaches, wait until you are asked to provide your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance. Refrain from making small talk as this is often how officers become suspicious. If they ask you to get out of the vehicle, obey their request. You should never argue with the police as that can only make things worse.
Understanding Field Sobriety Tests
When a police officer pulls you over, they need to have observed you violating traffic laws, exhibiting unsafe driving behaviors, or spotted questionable damage to your vehicle. They can’t just pull you over because they feel like it.
Once they approach, they will ask you to submit to a field sobriety test if they believe that you are intoxicated. You may be completely sober but some conditions can be mistaken for intoxication. Perhaps you are exhausted from working a long overnight shift, you have a medical condition, or you are ill.
Field sobriety tests are subjective as the officer uses their judgment to decide if they think you are intoxicated. You have the right to refuse this test, but you may still be arrested. The officer might ask you to take a breathalyzer or submit to chemical testing, but Florida’s implied consent laws mean that a refusal will result in the suspension of your driver’s license.
The first time you refuse, you face a driver’s license suspension for 12 months. If you are pulled over again and refuse a second time, that increases to 18 months plus charges for refusing to submit to testing, which is a misdemeanor. In essence, if you submit to these tests, they could incriminate you, but refusal can also land you in trouble.
Ask for Legal Representation
You are entitled to legal counsel during police questioning. If you are arrested for DUI, you can exercise your right to remain silent and request to speak with an attorney. You should state this clearly to the officer during your arrest. While the courts can appoint an attorney for you, it is best to seek legal representation from a DUI arrest lawyer who will be able to give you more personal attention.
Make Sure You Over for a DUI in Miami
If you are pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence, you should remember your constitutional rights. The officer that pulls you over needs to have a lawful reason to stop you. In those moments, you should not give them any unnecessary information such as that you only had one glass of wine with dinner or you were at the clubs on South Beach. You are permitted to decline to answer any questions about where you were or what you may have consumed until your lawyer is present.
Your rights under the Fifth Amendment protect you from incriminating yourself. This means you are not obligated to provide any information that may possibly be used against you. You cannot talk your way out of any charges, particularly a DUI charge. The less you say, the better off you will be. You can also refuse to take the field sobriety tests, but you should understand the consequences you may face.
What are your rights in this situation? You are allowed to invoke your right to remain silent and can decline to answer any questions that may be incriminating without your attorney. You also have the right to refuse field sobriety tests, as mentioned.
If you are arrested and then taken into custody, you have the right to request an attorney. You also have the right to refuse breathalyzer tests, though this can lead to an automatic license suspension.
I Was Arrested for DUI in Miami – What Should I Do Now?
These tips can help you when you get pulled over by a police officer. You may find that the police officer pulled you over because you had a taillight out, and they may issue a citation for it, or they may let you go with a warning.
If the officer suspects that you may be intoxicated in any way, they will continue to question you. While you will want to be polite and cooperative, you have legal rights that you are permitted to use. This could mean that you are placed under arrest for DUI, but you must be convicted of that charge to face penalties.
Keep that in mind when you contact a DUI lawyer to represent you. If you have already been arrested for DUI and have charges pending, you should not hesitate to get legal representation to come to your defense. An experienced attorney can help lead the way through the legal process by protecting your rights and minimizing the potential consequences.
You should make notes of everything you can recall before, during, and after your arrest and share them with your attorney. They may find out that the traffic stop was unlawful or they might have another way to get your charges reduced or dismissed.