You’ve watched too much television if you think that when you’re pulled over and asked to take a breath test that you should automatically do so. In Florida, the consequences for refusal are milder than those for a DUI conviction.
The first thing you should do is call your attorney. Immediately as soon as you’re allowed. If you’ve you have been drinking and get pulled over by a police officer or state trooper and are asked to take the field sobriety test, you can face very serious legal charges if you are drunk.
If your reading indicates a blood alcohol content level over the legal limit–0.08 or higher–for driving you will be charged with having committed an illegal per se offense. This means that it is automatically illegal throughout the United States to drive a vehicle with a blood alcohol level that high.
If you are convicted of a DUI, then you face hefty fines, jail time, possible installation of an ignition interlock device on your car. Refusing the test does not guarantee you will not be convicted. You can still be found guilty of a DUI even if your refusal means that the state does not have proof that your blood alcohol was over.08%
What can you do in order to try to avoid getting arrested for DUI or DWI is to decline the breathalyzer test. You can’t be forced to take it. It’s your choice.
Yes, there’s a chance that you’ll be arrested, but if you have been drinking, getting arrested will be the least of all of the severe scenarios you will face.
First, stop talking. Don’t answer questions. Try to keep a level head. First and foremost you must avoid taking any tests.
You can tell the officer that you won’t take the test and if you refuse you will likely be arrested. But being arrested for suspicion of DUI-DWI may be the first step to protecting your freedom, your livelihood and your reputation from mandatory criminal charges.
Yes, you may face losing your license, penalties and issues, but if you are convicted of DWI or DUI, you will face worse.
Contact an Attorney Immediately With Your First Phone Call
If you do take the breathalyzer and blow yourself into a DUI or DWI you have fewer defenses. No matter which situation arises, make your first call to Roddy Lanigan and Eric Lanigan of Lanigan and Lanigan, P.L., to get legal representation immediately.
Your No. 1 priority in this situation is to protect yourself and your future. You get one phone call and it has to be first to an attorney before you call a friend or family member for help. Only an attorney can defend you and advise you of your rights and your next steps.
Several Legal Approaches Possible
1. Show that police had no reasonable suspicion or probable cause to pull you over
2. Question the breath testing machine
DUI Has Two Phases
1. Administrative phase
2. Criminal phase
There are serious consequences to having a Driving Under the Influence or Driving While Intoxicated (DUI/DWI) charge on your record. Eric Lanigan and Roddy Lanigan of Lanigan and Lanigan have seen many DUI cases in Florida. Penalties for criminal charges include losing your license, paying fines, going to jail or facing these criminal DUI penalties and charges:
• Driver’s License Suspension
• DUI Classes
• Job loss
• Possible Jail Time
• Vehicle Impoundment
Tips to Protect Your Rights Before You Pull Over
1. Open the windows to air out the car
2. Chew strong gum, pop a mint
3. Don’t speak if you can avoid it–nod, shake your head, write a note
4. Don’t get up if you feel you will fall or hurt yourself
5. You can avoid answering any questions and have the right to remain silent
At the Hearing: Being Charged With DUI
This administrative side of the DUI process involves your driving privileges. You will have to file for a hearing with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles within 10 days of your arrest if you’re your driving privileges have been suspended and you want them back.
Legally drunk according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) is .08%. The DHSMV will suspend your license for having a blood alcohol content of .08% or above.
You may also have your license suspended for refusing to a take a breath test. A driver’s license suspension can be appealed within strict deadlines so hire an attorney right away.
Criminal Charges and License Suspension
Florida legislature mandates minimum penalties for every DUI-DWI case so you will face criminal charges besides having your driver’s license suspended.
DUI is an Enhanced Penalty Crime
DUI is known as an enhanced penalty crime. Penalties increase for repeat offenders. This is why you have to aggressively defend yourself the first time a DUI or DWI occur. The consequences are more severe if it occurs again.
With such serious consequences, it’s important to hire an experienced lawyer familiar with defending DUI.
Eric Lanigan and Roddy Lanigan are experienced attorneys with 36 years and five years respectively defending individual’s rights in criminal cases. Lanigan and Lanigan provide aggressive representation with a personal touch and will immediately help you to protect your rights.