A DUI arrest is straightforward: someone is driving while intoxicated, police check his breath, and he’s charge for a DUI. However, DUIs are not as straightforward as many people believe. Here are some important parts of DUIs that everyone should know about.
This portion of DUI law actually affects all police officers regardless of the purpose of the arrest. Police officers must have probable cause to pull someone over: if they don’t, the charge may be dropped.
Common probable cause qualifiers:
- Driving at night with no lights on
- Failing to turn on a turn signal
- Speeding or swerving
- Seeing someone with an alcoholic beverage in hand
While there are plenty of ways that police officers can fulfill the requirement of probable cause in a DUI arrest, it is still a requirement of any traffic stop. Typically, police officers will ask the person they pulled over something like, “do you know why I pulled you over?” This is a trick question and an attempt to show/prove probable cause if the case goes to court. Therefore, you should never respond to this question, as it may justify a made up probable cause.
Many people believe that the punishments for a DUI are small; however, this is not the case.
A first offense DUI can result in:
- Up to six months of jail time;
- Fine of $500 to $2,000;
- license suspension of 180 days to 1 year;
- DUI treatment course (to get license reinstated);
- Installation of an interlock ignition device in your car (to get license reinstated).
Many Floridians charged with a DUI forgo hiring a criminal defense attorney thinking the ramifications of a DUI charge are light; however, a first offense DUI can lead to jail time! This can result in a loss of a job, a loss of relationships, and lost time. Never forgo hiring a criminal defense attorney unless you are willing to pay the consequence.
Did you know that someone who is in the front seat of a car can be charged for DUI even if the car is not in motion? If you choose to wait out a buzz in your car, make sure you get in the back seat rather than the driver’s seat. The last thing you want to deal with is a DUI charge when you are trying to sober up before you drive.
We hope this blog has helped you think through the lesser-known aspects of DUIs. If you or a loved one have been charged with a DUI, do not hesitate to call (904) 474-3115 for a free consultation of your case.