Your Rights When You Are Pulled Over for a DUI
Dec. 29, 2022
In Florida, drivers are prohibited from driving or being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. On reasonable suspicion of drunk driving, a law enforcement officer may stop your vehicle or ask you to pull over. During the stop, you may be asked different questions. You may also be asked to take a DUI test.
Many drivers are unaware of their rights and obligations when pulled over for a DUI by the police. Because of this, many alleged drunk drivers often find themselves in difficult situations and might end up facing severe consequences. A seasoned Florida criminal defense attorney can help you understand your rights after a DUI stop and help build your defense strategy.
The attorneys at RSL Law have devoted their careers to offering legal services for individuals stopped for DUIs in Florida. They can investigate every aspect of your case and strategize an effective defense to help fight your charges and keep your driving record clean. The firm proudly serves clients across Port Charlotte, Sarasota, Fort Myers, and the rest of Florida.
What You Should Know About Your Rights
According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, there were 33,872 total arrests for DUI in Florida in 2019. Surprisingly, many Florida drivers do not know their rights—or what to do—when pulled over by police officers. Even when your vehicle is stopped by law enforcement on reasonable suspicion of drunk driving or impaired driving, you still have legal rights. Below are some of your legal rights and obligations after a DUI stop by the police:
You Have the Right to Not Incriminate Yourself
When the police stop you for whatever reason, you should follow the standard pull-over procedures. Provide the officer with the required documents, including your driver's license, insurance information, and vehicle registration. Remain courteous, polite, and respectful throughout the stop. Do not incriminate yourself.
In addition, you have the right to remain silent. You should only answer questions or provide additional information after discussing it with your lawyer. To protect yourself and your driving privileges, do not answer questions about where you were or the number of drinks you took.
You Have the Right Against Unlawful Search and Seizure
According to the law, the police are only allowed to search your car if they have probable cause to conduct a search and seizure. For example, if the police perceived liquor, or you were seen trying to hide something in the vehicle, this might be probable cause. Under Florida law, the police are prohibited against unreasonable or unlawful search and seizure, except upon probable cause.
You Have the Right to Obtain a Copy of the Police Report
The police report is a piece of critical evidence that will play a vital role in your drunk driving case. The report includes the breath test, sobriety test, blood test, PAS test, and urine test results. You are allowed to request a copy of the DUI police report through the online system. Based on the results and information in the police report, your legal counsel can help determine your best path forward.
You Have the Right to Refuse to Take Field Sobriety Tests
Field sobriety tests involve three standardized tests—the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test, the Walk-and-Turn Test, and the One-Leg Stand Test—used by officers to determine whether a person is impaired.
Under Florida law, you have the right to refuse field sobriety tests. You can respectfully decline to participate in or take any of these three tests. In Florida, there is no punishment for refusing a field sobriety test.
Conversely, taking chemical tests—blood, breath, or urine test—at the station after a DUI arrest is mandatory. Refusing to submit to chemical testing may result in license suspension and other administrative penalties.
You Have the Right to Refuse a Preliminary or Portable Breath Test
Furthermore, you are within your rights to refuse to take the preliminary or portable breath test (PBT). This is a roadside preliminary alcohol screening (PAS). There are no consequences for refusing PAS. However, do not confuse this with a breath test requested at the station after a DUI arrest.
If you've been legally arrested and taken to the police station, you must agree to chemical testing. As mentioned earlier, refusing a chemical test at the station will result in license suspension and other penalties.
You Have the Right to Contact an Attorney
If you were arrested for drunk driving and taken to the local police department for an interview, you have the right to hire a lawyer of your choosing. While in custody, remain silent until you've spoken with your legal counsel. A knowledgeable Florida DUI charges attorney can educate you about the severity of your DUI allegations, explore your available legal defenses, and determine the best way to proceed with your case.
Take Legal Action Today
Facing DUI accusations can be scary, and fighting your charges without experienced guidance is never advisable. Essentially, knowing your rights when pulled over for DUI can help you manage your case and make sure you do not end up in the worst possible situation. With more than 15 years of extensive experience, the attorneys at RSL Law have the skill and resources to defend and represent clients effectively in their drunk driving cases. As your legal counsel, they can evaluate every aspect of your case, determine if the police had probable cause to stop your car, and investigate the different DUI tests administered. Ultimately, the team at RSL Law will fight vigorously to uphold your legal rights
Contact RSL Law today to schedule a simple case evaluation with DUI defense lawyers. The firm will help you navigate the criminal justice system and represent you intelligently every step of the way. The firm proudly serves clients across Port Charlotte, Sarasota, and Fort Myers, Florida.