Getting stopped by a police officer even when you’re only had a drink or 2 of an alcoholic beverage can be a harrowing experience.
- At the bottom of each Florida drivers license contains a statement that, ” operator of a motor vehicle constitutes consent to any sobriety test required by law”.
- The consent to any sobriety test means a field sobriety test, as well as a breathalyzer test, which is usually given at the police station.
- in most situations a stopping officer will make some personal observations, does he see or smell alcohol; is the drivers speech slurred, is his or her eyes bloodshot; to the police officer observed erratic driving.
- Once you are the subject of the field sobriety test, the police officer has identified you as a person he or she has probable cause to believe you were driving under the influence.
- Stopping police officer if not trained to give the field sobriety test will call in a qualified trained police officer who is qualified.
- The officer will administer a field sobriety test. You will have you repeat the alphabet, sometimes in reverse order; you will be required to take 10 paces on a white line placing one foot in the front of your other without stepping off the line and making a 180 degree to repeat the steps;
- You will be required to stand on one leg for a proscribed time and to put your index finger to the tip of your nose;
- The officer will shine a flashlight into your eyes and test the movement of your eyes.
- if you have failed this test the officer will announce that he is arresting you for driving under the influence and he will read you your Miranda Warning Rights and you will be secured in custody in the back of his police car.
- Then there will be a trip to the police station where you will meet another police officer who will ask you a series of questions: When did you last sleep? When did you last eat? Did you drink any alcoholic beverages, how long ago? You’re every movement as well as what you say will be video recorded during the field test; while in the back of the police car and at the police station. All of which will be used against you in a court of law.
- A policeman will read you your Miranda rights, which in essence inform you that you have a constitutional rights to be represented by an attorney and if you cannot afford an attorney an attorney will be appointed for you; and that you have the right to remain silent and anything you say can be used against you in a court of law.
In Florida, if you refuse to to participate in the field sobriety test, or to take the Breathalyzer test that’s administered by the police either at the police station or in some instances at the stop scene your drivers’ license will be automatically be suspended for a period of one year.
Provided the facts are in your favor, you may be entitled to file a motion to suppress an illegal stop that was the basis for the police officer stopping you in the first place and the search and seizure that followed that led to the ultimate filing of a DUI charge against you by the state.
Remember anything you say to the police officer when he stopped you or to any of the police officers in your chain of custody may and will be used against you in a court law. The best advice a DUI defense counsel can offer you is to be polite; obey the officer’s instructions; don’t argue with the officers; and be a little humble. Under no circumstances give your consent to let the police officers search your vehicle. If you pass the field sobriety test, the police officer will more than likely let you go. If you are held in custody immediately call a competent attorney experienced in DUI cases.
The above referenced material is the opinion of Francis Jerome Shea and should not, under any circumstances be considered to be taken as legal advice.
For a confidential and comprehensive evaluation of your case contact:
Francis Jerome Shea; 644 Cesery Boulevard, Suite 250 Jacksonville, FL 32211; Phone 904-399-1966