So you went out last night and on the way home you got pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI). What should you do? That is a question that I am asked on a daily basis. It is a hard question to answer since each case is different.
To best answer to that question is that it is helpful to start with the end in mind. The ultimate goal, as far as the state prosecutor is concerned, is for you to be found guilty of DUI. And how in the world does she do that? By using evidence against you and applying that evidence to Florida DUI law. And that is what it boils down to. So really the best way to answer that question is to give the state prosecutor as little negative evidence and as much positive evidence as possible.
What is evidence? Evidence is any statement, video, testimony by the police, and any documents that are all gathered during the investigation of your case. In DUI cases, negative evidence includes: any videos, photographs, or other digital evidence of you, taken from the moment you are pulled over until the moment you are released from jail, that would be used to prove that you are more likely to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It also includes every observation that the police officer has made about you including your physical appearance, the way you walk, talk, or smell, and any negative interaction with the officer. Negative evidence also includes how you perform on certain sobriety tests administered by the police at the traffic stop. These include: allowing the officer to monitor your eyes or perform a breathalyzer exam, walk a straight line, stand on one foot, say the alphabet without singing, and any other modified field sobriety exercises.
Positive Evidence is any evidence that is good for your case and that causes the charge to be more easily reduced, dropped, or won at trial. Examples would be being polite in your interactions with a police officer. Politely declining to perform any and all of the field sobriety tests mentioned above. When asked why you are declining, you politely inform the officer that your attorney (Andrew Buda) informed you not to. Positive evidence is essentially not creating the negative evidence mentioned above. Without the negative evidence, the officers and prosecutors will have a much tougher time proving a case against you.
Please be advised, during a traffic stop, you must still provide the officer with the required driver's license, registration, and proof of insurance.
WARNING: A consequence of the following this advice will almost always get you arrested and booked for a DUI. However, you give yourself a much better chance of fighting the charge if you would have been arrested for DUI regardless.
The reason is that without giving the state prosecutor evidence it makes her life very difficult to prove you were DUI. However, if you know that you are not DUI, it might be in your best interest to do what they ask. If you are close to DUI or think that the police will arrest you regardless, the above would help if you were to be arrested for DUI. If the police ask to look into your eye's to dispel their suspicion of DUI, politely tell them that your lawyer told you not to do that. When they ask you to step out of the car to do some field sobriety exercises, again, politely inform them that your lawyer told you not to do that.
In addition, refusing to provide a lawful breath sample can and will result in a loss of driving privileges.
Our Florida law are constantly changing. Please contact me for a free consultation and for more detailed information on what not to do when you get pulled over for DUI.