Your Rights During a DUI Stop in Florida
Many people are scared that being uncooperative with the police will lead to additional legal trouble. Unfortunately, this means that many drivers sacrifice their rights when pulled over by police. It’s important to know your rights as a driver so that you are knowledgeable about what you do and do not have to do when interacting with the police.
Initial Florida DUI Stop
Being pulled over for suspected DUI is a stressful experience, even if you are sober. After all, you are aware that the police are actively trying to catch you breaking the law. When you are stopped by police, here is what you have the right to do.
The Right to Remain Silent
Police officers are not required to read you your Miranda Rights unless you are in police custody and being interrogated. This means that as they approach your car window, they are not required to tell you that you have the right to remain silent. This is something that you must already be aware of.
They may begin asking you questions like:
- How much have you had to drink tonight?
- Where are you coming from/going?
- Do you have any alcohol in your vehicle?
You are not required to answer these questions. By law, all you are required to do is provide your basic information, license, registration, and proof of insurance. If the officer continues to ask you further questions, you should calmly state that you are choosing to remain silent. While this may agitate the officer, remember that it is fully within your right to do so.
The Right to Refuse Unreasonable Searches
The officer may ask you if it is okay if they search your vehicle. In most situations, you do not have to consent to a search.
The only times that officers can conduct a warrantless search are:
- When the suspect consents
- When there is evidence in plain view (i.e., open can of beer in your cup holder)
- If public safety is at immediate risk
- Search incident to arrest
If you consent, you cannot later say that it was an illegal search. You may feel intimidated at the moment and scared to say no. However, try to keep a clear mind and remember that you do not have to allow officers to search your vehicle. Calmly state that you do not consent to a search.
The Right to Refuse Field Sobriety Tests
There are three main types of field sobriety tests:
- One-Leg Stand Test
- Walk and Turn Test
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus
These involve the driver participating in physical tests that may show signs of impairment. For example, if the driver is unable to balance while taking these tests.
You are not required to participate in these tests. Implied consent laws only apply to chemical tests like breath tests - not field sobriety tests. Many sober drivers are unable to pass field sobriety tests; you are always better off refusing to participate.
Note: If you refuse a breath test, you can face driver’s license suspension as a penalty for refusal.
If Your Rights Were Violated
If you believe your rights were violated during a DUI stop, contact an attorney today. At Monroe & King, P.A., we can investigate all details of your DUI arrest to determine whether or not the police followed proper protocols. If it can be proven that your rights were violated during the arrest, your case can be dismissed - saving you from a conviction on your criminal record.
Florida DUI Defense Attorneys
It’s important to act fast after a DUI arrest. Our team at Monroe & King, P.A. offers complimentary case reviews so we can better understand your case and determine how to take action.
If you believe your rights were violated during your arrest:
- Write down as many details as you can remember
- Don’t discuss your case online
- Call us today at (904) 474-3115