This is a very simple advice article if you are pulled over and investigated for a DUI. I am a Daytona Beach and Seminole County DUI attorney. I handle cases in Volusia, Flagler, Seminole and Orange County. I could give you pages and pages of advice about what you should do during a DUI investigation but if you cannot remember it or get confused it would not be helpful. 1) The first thing you should do in a DUI investigation is remember your manners. It is very likely that you are being recorded. The officer might not tell you that they are recording you. If you come off as being rude the jury, officer and assistant state attorney will not like you as much. It is not your job to get anybody to like you but I can assure you that if you come of as being a pain to deal with the prosecutor will have an easier case to get a conviction on. The state and jury can make the case go away. The state is not likely to drop your case just because you were polite but might be more receptive to reasons that a DUI will ruin your life. 2) Remember your right to remain silent. The only thing you have to do is provide your name, license and insurance information. The field sobriety exercises in Florida are optional. It does not matter where you are coming from or where you are going. You should not be rude about it but you do not have to answer any other questions. When the officer approaches say here’s my license, insurance and registration. At that point you have completed everything that you have to do. If they start asking you questions politely ask them if you are being detained or if you are free to leave. If they say you are being detained (they will) then say that you have provided them all your information and you do not have anything else to say. You should appear firm but polite. Use common courtesies, please, thank you…… sorry is not good because it admits guilt.
The More Complicated Part
If you are arrested the last decision you have to make is to take the breath test or refuse. This is not as simple as many people believe. Obviously if you believe you will be under .08 than it would be a good idea to take the test. That is difficult to determine and individual metabolisms vary. The criminal DUI case is not the only issue to consider. The administrative license suspension separate from the criminal case is a bigger issue for your ability to drive on a first DUI. If you refuse you will face a one year administrative suspension of your license the first 90 days without a hardship. If you blow and proper procedures are followed you will only be unable to drive for 30 days and will be able to obtain a hardship for the rest of the suspension period. The first question to ask is your biggest fear being convicted of a DUI or being unable to drive. Both are bad but refusal poses a greater risk to your ability to drive. Taking the test poses a greater risk of conviction if you are over the limit. The risk of a DUI conviction depends greatly on location, breath test result and driving (DUI) history. Some counties reduce DUI cases on first offenses for breath tests over .08 but under .13 (sometimes under .15). Other counties have diversions for DUI cases under .159 and enhanced diversions for DUI cases under .229 if the accused has limited criminal history. Unfortunately other counties believe if they can prove it they will. Some issues come up with very low .083 and under cases based on the breath test companies margin of error statistics (.003 0r 3% whichever is greater). Some machines tend to read high on control readings and that might give additional wiggle room. Generally Volusia County will reward cooperation for lower breath test results in first DUI cases, Orange County will divert many first DUI cases if requirements are met and Seminole County tends to take a tougher posture on DUI cases if they can get the breath test results in. State Attorney's Office policies on DUI cases can be subject to change. Another consideration is that some counties are having difficulties getting breath test results in based on source code issues. If you have a prior refusal the consequences of refusing increase. The administrative suspension on a second refusal is 18 months without a hardship. The criminal consequences are up to a year in jail or up to 12 months of probation and up to a $1000 fine. The decision to blow or refuse depends on the individual facts, location, history and other factors. It is almost impossible to advise you in advance what the best decision for you would be. This information is provided by Daytona Beach DUI lawyer Kevin J. Pitts.