The key to any DUI defense in
If you are behind the wheel, and a police officer is in the vicinity, then consider your driving behavior to be under scrutiny. If an officer observes you driving erratically or recklessly, he or she will claim to have reasonable suspicion that you are intoxicated and pull your vehicle over. (See Why Did The Officer Pull You Over? The Visual Cues.)
Driving behaviors that can lead to reasonable suspicion of DUI include:
Once you’ve been pulled over, the officer will make a more personal observation of your condition. The officer will analyze both your physical condition and the contents of your vehicle. Any signs of intoxicating substances in the vehicle, including containers and the scent of alcohol, will be noted and used against you during your Florida DUI defense trial.
Aside from a portable breathalyzer, police officers often use field sobriety tests to determine if a driver is intoxicated to the point of a DUI charge. (At this point, you may need a defense lawyer's help to review the evidence against you.) Field sobriety tests are almost completely contingent on the officer’s opinion of how you perform.
It’s not uncommon to hear a defense lawyer advise clients never to submit to a field sobriety test, because they are “designed to fail” in many cases. There are several external factors, such as pavement conditions and weather, that can cause even a sober person to fail these tests.
When defending against a DUI charge the observing officer should be questioned as to whether he or she was fully trained in administering these tests. The type of test and reason that you may have failed should also come into question. When an officer assesses your condition through a field sobriety test, he or she is looking for any reason to cite probable cause as reason for your arrest.
When choosing a lawyer make sure you ask about past case history in which unreliable observation evidence was a key factor in the DUI defense. Florida DUI penalties can be harsh and create some long-term problems for your driving future. Don’t risk losing your rights to a fair trial and sentencing; seek legal help!