Remember your rights during a DUI traffic stop

Updated: Jan 4

For you, a night out with friends may include consuming alcohol. While you and many other Florida residents partake in alcoholic beverages now and then, you understand the importance of drinking responsibly. However, your best efforts may not always prevent an officer from becoming suspicious.

If you know you will have to drive home, you may only have a drink or two with friends and make sure that you still have the ability to drive without impairment. As a result, you may get behind the wheel of your vehicle without any worry that an officer will stop you. Of course, a broken tail light, driving over the speed limit or another violation could result in a traffic stop.


How to handle a traffic stop


A traffic stop can cause anyone’s anxiety to increase. Even if you know you have not had too much to drink, you may worry that the officer will think differently. In any case, you can help yourself get through the traffic stop as smoothly as possible by remembering the following information:

  1. Stop your vehicle as quickly and safely as possible.

  2. Turn off your vehicle and keep your hands where the officer can see them, typically on the steering wheel.

  3. Provide your driver’s license, insurance information and vehicle registration information.

  4. Remember that you have the right to remain silent. Exercising this right could prevent you from providing incriminating information by answering an officer’s leading questions.

  5. If the officer places you under arrest, remember that you have the right to an attorney and can request one at the time of your arrest.

An officer may suspect you of drunk driving for various reasons, but he or she needs probable cause to take you into custody before placing you under arrest. Often, officers use breath tests in efforts to obtain probable cause, and under Florida law, you must submit to a breath test or face administrative penalties, like driver’s license suspension, otherwise.


Handling a charge


If an officer believes that he or she has probable cause to arrest you for DUI, try to remain calm. It may seem unfair or even unbelievable to you that it has happened, but it is still a situation you need to handle carefully and prudently. Because you likely do not have a working knowledge of what a case for DUI charges will entail, it may be in your interests to contact an experienced defense attorney to help you throughout your case.

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