What to do if pulled over for a DUI in Florida
You have had a drink and you’re being pulled over.
What are you going to do?
First, you’ve heard throughout your life that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, right? As both a friend and a criminal defense attorney, I would advise you to go out to your car, at your earliest convenience, and make sure that your registration and insurance information is together and easy to find in your glove compartment box. Second, keep your driver’s license in your wallet or purse. If you have all the documentation that an officer asks for, you appear organized, not incoherent or confused (i.e.: intoxicated). Third, try your best to settle down and be polite to the officer. Remember, it is very important to start off on the right foot with law enforcement. Fourth, questions asked by law enforcement will be designed to require that you admit something. What does that mean? Here are just a few examples:
- Do you know why you were stopped?
- Where are you going? Where have you been?
- Have you been drinking tonight?
- Do you know your eyes appear bloodshot/glassy?
Remember, you are not required to say anything at all but refusing to do so may appear evasive; as if you’re not cooperating or have something to hide. Keep your answers brief. If the officer asks you if you know why you were stopped, answer “No.” Realistically, you may have been driving just fine except for a tail light was out or you weren’t wearing your seatbelt. You aren’t required to share with an officer if you have had anything to drink that evening. Likewise, you don’t have to say where you have been or where you intend to go. Most DUI lawyers will advise individuals to use the phrase, “I’d rather not say.” It is fine to just leave it at that. Again, you need to appear organized, respectful, and responsive. Responsive DOES NOT MEAN providing long winded answers or engaging in law enforcement’s fishing expeditions. If the answer is no, the answer is no.
Lastly, if an officer asks you to submit to field sobriety tests, chances are good that you are going to jail. Why would I say this? Very, very few people who are asked to perform these tasks are released afterward because they did an outstanding job (even when sober). At this point, the officer is simply building the DUI case against you. By refusing, you will be arrested. Just remember, it’s the State Attorney’s Office that decides if, and how, someone will be charged. If there’s not enough evidence to support a DUI charge, the case may result in a dismissal or a lower misdemeanor charge, such as Reckless Driving.
Now what? Were you pulled over for DUI or reckless driving? Are you facing “drunk driving” charges or have you been arrested for a DUI and need an attorney? If so, give The Morris Law Firm a call and they will help answer your questions and ease your mind. Dana Morris specializes in answering tough legal questions. With over 14 years experience as an attorney, he can help you with answers to some of your questions like:
- “What do I do now?”
- “What is this going to cost me?”
- “How much will a DUI attorney charge?”
- “Will I lose my license for a DUI?”
- “Will I have to come back to Panama City for court dates?”
Contact a Panama City DUI Attorney at The Morris Law Firm – Defending Your Rights Every Step of the Way
The Morris Law Firm is available 24/7, so call now, (850) 257-5680, and let us help you. We can also schedule a free consultation in our office to review the facts of your case and determine the best course of action.