DUI - What should I do if I am stopped?

Lawrence B. Wolk & Associates Give Advice on What to Do if You're Stopped on Suspicion of Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol in South Florida

Seeing flashing blue lights in the rear view mirror is never a pleasant experience. But, if you're being stopped because it's suspected that you are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the situation can be particularly nerve-wracking. The Fort Lauderdale Law Offices of Lawrence B. Wolk & Associates has represented hundreds of people who have been in this position and can offer some practical advice on how you can successfully navigate the situation.

  1. Don't drive drunk. If you think you may have had too much to drink, you probably have. Catching a ride with a sober friend, calling a taxi or ordering some food and waiting to sober up before getting behind the wheel is the best way to avoid putting yourself in the position of having to defend yourself against a DUI allegation. Florida law does not prohibit you from consuming some alcohol and then driving a car - it prohibits you from driving when your blood alcohol content reaches .08 percent, which, in some people, can be in as little as one or two drinks, particularly when they're consumed on an empty stomach.
  2. Drive carefully. Police officers say drivers who swerve, fail to follow the rules of the road, make wide right turns, straddle the center line, hit or nearly hit objects in the road or demonstrate other reckless behaviors on the road raise DUI suspicions and increase their chances of being pulled over.
  3. Keep your cool. If you're stopped and become aggressive, overly emotional, nervous or act befuddled, you're giving the police officer reason to question your sobriety.
  4. Provide requested information. When you're pulled over for any traffic violation, you'll be asked to provide your driver's license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance. Remain in your driver's seat with your hands visible on the steering wheel as the officer approaches your car and, when asked, provide the documents requested.
  5. Stay at the scene of an accident. If you've been involved in any traffic accident, and particularly one in which there's been an injury or death, do not leave the scene, even if you've been drinking. Leaving the scene of such an accident will increase your legal troubles, including jail time and fines should you be convicted.
  6. Consider declining a field sobriety test. If you're asked to get out of your vehicle and perform a physical field sobriety tests, you may decline. Florida law does not require that you perform roadside sobriety tests, such as walking a straight line or touching your finger to your nose. If you choose not to participate, politely tell the officer, "no, thank you." This is not the time to show outrage or other defensive behavior.
  7. Consider the consequences of declining a breathalyzer test. If you're confident of your sobriety, you should take a breathalyzer or other chemical test of your blood alcohol content, such as a urine or blood test. When you refuse, Florida law requires that your license be suspended for one year (or longer if this is a subsequent DUI arrest), even if you're eventually cleared of the DUI charges. If you doubt your sobriety, refusing to blow into a breathalyzer may make it more difficult to prove your guilt in a DUI case. However, the refusal can be used as evidence against you in criminal proceedings.
  8. Contact a qualified attorney. DUI cases are handled by a wide array of criminal defense lawyers. Finding one who has specializes in DUI, as Lawrence B. Wolk & Associates do, is your best bet, as they know the ins and outs of the legal proceedings, the failings of sobriety testing and have access to experts who can testify on your behalf. They're also well-versed on negotiating lesser charges and more lenient penalties.
  9. Contact an attorney quickly. Time is of the essence in most legal matters, but with a DUI, you only have a small window to act on certain aspects. For instance, 10 days is all that's allotted by the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles for someone whose license has been suspended after a DUI arrest to apply for a hardship license. Your attorney can guide you through these, as well as all legal proceedings. 

If you've been arrested for DUI, call (888) 965-5529 today. Lawrence B. Wolk & Associates has the legal expertise to guide you through this stressful time, help you retain your driving privileges and provide the best defense available. Initial consultations are always free.