Drunk driving is a pervasive issue in the United States that affects all road users. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 30 people die every day in an alcohol-induced car accident. This equates to about 1 DUI fatality every 50 minutes, or about 10,000 lives per year. They also report that about 1.5 million drivers are arrested for alcohol or drug DUIs annually. Roughly, this means that 1 out of every 121 drivers is arrested for driving under the influence.
DUI is a misdemeanor offense in Florida, although aggravating factors—such as having a minor in the vehicle at the time of the arrest or having an elevated blood alcohol level—may lead to more serious penalties for a first DUI conviction. A third or subsequent DUI within 10 years is a felony offense. If you’ve been arrested for DUI recently, understand that you are not alone. A knowledgeable DUI attorney can help you overcome the damage a charge can have on your life and reputation.
You will need experienced legal counsel to successfully challenge a DUI charge. However, many things you might know to be true about DUIs may not be correct. To help you learn more about the nature of DUI offenses in Florida, read about these common DUI myths.
Myth 1: You MUST Take Field Sobriety Tests
When you engage with law enforcement—especially when you’re on your way somewhere and they have stopped you for a traffic matter—the encounter is often stress-inducing. In the moment, you may believe that you need to answer all the officer’s questions and fulfill all demands to make the situation disappear so you can go along with your life. Individuals who are pulled over and asked to submit to a field sobriety test often assume that they will be penalized if they say no.
Unfortunately, it isn’t common knowledge that these types of tests are completely voluntary and fallible. If you are asked to submit to a field sobriety test, such as the one-leg stand or walk-and-turn, you may politely decline without fear of repercussions.
Myth 2: Breathalyzers Produce Accurate Results
The reliability of breathalyzers—like the Intoxilyzer 8000, the state-approved breath test for evidentiary results—is highly contested. Several things need to go right for this highly-sensitive machine to produce the necessary results. When police take you to the station to breathe into this device, there are several expectations:
- The machine has been properly calibrated
- The machine has undergone routine maintenance
- The police officers administering the test are following the approved procedure
- You have no residual alcohol in your mouth that might skew the results
These are just some of the key factors that influence the accuracy of breath test results. If any of these go wrong, it may be possible to challenge the results and have your DUI dismissed.
Myth 3: You Don’t Need a Lawyer to Accept a Plea Bargain
Some people have heard that, if you’re going to plead guilty to a DUI charge, you don’t need a qualified DUI attorney to represent you. The truth is, if you want to regain control of your life and avoid having this charge impact your future, an attorney is an invaluable asset to making this happen. DUI charges are expensive and burdensome and may not be expunged from your criminal record once you’re convicted. Before taking any action with the courts, talk to an attorney to learn the best course of action for your case.
FACT: Hiring a DUI Lawyer Can Make Your Charges Easier to Endure
At The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel, Attorney Brian Gabriel’s main goal is to help you achieve a positive outcome for your DUI case. Attorney Brian Gabriel will investigate all the facts of your DUI, including all the details of your traffic stop and all the actions the police officers took, to make sure you don’t face consequences for their mistakes. In many cases, it is possible to successfully challenge a DUI to achieve a reduced or dismissed charge. Begin your defense by calling 561-622-5575 or completing a contact form for a free consultation.