Traffic stops are common occurrences. Everyone makes a mistake once in a while when they drive. When you are stopped for a regular traffic offense such as speeding or having a headlight out, you do not expect complications. When the police officer approaches your vehicle, you are prepared to provide your driver’s license, registration, and insurance. What happens next, however, is something for which you may not be prepared. The police officer may suspect that you are driving under the influence (DUI). This suspicion can be because he or she notices the smell of alcohol on your breath. In this situation, the traffic stop just became much more serious and complicated.
Field Sobriety Tests
The officer will likely ask you to step out of the vehicle so you can perform some preliminary field sobriety tests (FSTs). There are three commonly used standardized FSTs that include the walk and turn test, the one leg stand, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus. You have likely seen these on television if you have not yet seen them in person. The purpose of these tests is for the officer to make a determination as to whether it is likely that you are DUI.
These tests are not official tests since they are somewhat subjective. If the officer uses these tests and feels that you are DUI, the next step is to ask you to take a breath test. It is important to understand the consequences of refusing to take this test. The portable breath test is also known as a breathalyzer. The portable unit measures your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) when you blow into it. In Florida, the legal limit is 0.08% BAC.
When you obtain your driver’s license in Florida, you are agreeing to consent. Consent means that you agree to a breath, blood, or urine test to measure your BAC if you are requested to do so by a member of law enforcement. The officer will ask you if you consent to the test. This can be rather misleading because you must comply with the request. If you fail to comply, you have violated the implied consent law and will face swift consequences for that alone.
Generally, the breathalyzer is a preliminary tool that is used in the field. If you are transported to the police station, you will likely be required to take another test. Importantly, if you refuse to comply to testing, you will face separate charges that include suspension of your driving privileges for a period of one year. Certainly, you may feel as though you are in a rough situation. Keep in mind that you will probably still be prosecuted for DUI. Your failure to comply with the test will be used as evidence against you in court.
If you have been charged with DUI, you cannot leave the consequences to chance. There are many ways that an experienced DUI defense attorney will be able to defend your case. The first step is to contact our skilled legal team to discuss your situation as soon as possible. Call Henderson Law Group today for a consultation.