Florida Criminal Defense and DUI Defense Blog

16Mar, 11

What should you say and do if you are confronted by a police officer and suspected of DUI-DWI?

No single answer will suffice for all people in all situations.

In dealing with the police, here are five universally sound things to do, if stopped

1. If asked (or told) about an alleged traffic violation, do not try to appease the officer by agreeing with him or her that you committed some traffic offense. Don’t get belligerent, but say

“Actually, sir (or ma’am), I believe I stayed entirely within my lane”

Or some other appropriate explanation. Remember, everything you are saying is being recorded, and your DUI-DWI attorney may be able to use the favorable things said by you in your favor.

2. If asked about alcohol use or drugs, either admit nothing, or blame it on your bottle of mouthwash.

“I just brushed my teeth!”

Don’t incriminate yourself by admitting that you consumed

“only two glasses of wine with dinner.”

3. If asked for your license or any documents, have them ready to show the officer. Do not voluntarily get out of your vehicle for something stupid, like to go see the radar calibration to prove that your radar reading was correct.

Stay inside the vehicle, seated, with your hands visible on the steering wheel. If the officer asks you to step out of the vehicle, explain that you prefer to not get out, due to safety concerns. If the officer claims to smell or detect alcohol or drugs, do not admit to having consumed anything, just ask,

“Am I under arrest?”

The officer will say something like,

“I need to give you some field evaluations to make sure you are safe to be on your way home”

Which sounds good until he or she “claims” that you failed or did poorly on the field evaluations. Politely say,

“Thank you, officer, but unless I have my attorney present, I’d prefer NOT to try to perform agility exercises that I am not familiar with.”

Only when he or she ORDERS you to get out, and physically opens your door should you reluctantly leave your car.

4. Once out of the car, do nothing and walk no place other than where he or she insists, or forces you to go. Explain your desire to not get out of the car at the roadside, and your desire to not be asked to walk, balance, count or perform any voluntary roadside evaluations of any type. If offered a hand-held breath analyzer, decline doing it, if you can. If asked,

“Why not blow if you haven’t been drinking?”

merely tell the officer that you have no confidence in battery- powered devices that could carry bacteria, germs and diseases such as tuberculosis.

5. Ask to call your attorney on your cell phone as soon as the officer starts getting “pushy”. Also, state to the officer that you are willing to satisfy his concerns for safety by handing him your keys and taking a cab home, but that you will not submit to testing that you do not trust to be reliable or accurate. If he says,

“So you don’t think you are safe to drive?”

or something similar, be sure to say,

“Absolutely not true. I am merely trying to satisfy you that I am cooperative in every way, even if I believe your concerns are not reasonable.”

If taking the cab results in your car being towed, that is a small price to pay to avoid being arrested and possibly convicted of DUI-DWI.

Hire an Experienced Florida Drunk Driving Attorney

For many DUI-DWI suspects, the initial confrontation with the officer will lead to an arrest.

Be aware that EVERY CASE is different. What can be accomplished in a similar case may not pertain to your case due to the fact that you may be dealing with a different prosecutor or a different judge.

The greatest benefit of hiring a top criminal defense specialist who KNOWS DUI-DWI law is that you know what to anticipate and what the available options are.

Your Lawyer can guide you and advise you on likely timetables for each step of the process in your case.

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Attorney Mike Kessler
Written by: Attorney Mike Kessler

Attorney Kessler has been practicing criminal law in Florida for 30 years. He is recognized as is a leading authority on drunk-driving defense as well as a founding member of the Saint Lucie County Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and co-author of The DUI Book: Florida Edition, the definitive resource on DUI in Florida.

To speak with Mike, call 772-466-4900 or click here for a free consultation.

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