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DUI arrests affect thousands of drivers every year in the State of Florida. The law firm of  Siegel Siegel & Wright in Boca Raton, Florida, offers you this important information so that you can understand your rights and know how to protect yourself when faced with a DUI investigation or arrest. Remember, if you are arrested for DUI or any other crime, protect your rights and speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible – the outcome of your case may depend upon it.

Siegel Siegel & Wright is a criminal defense law firm located in Boca Raton, Florida, representing clients in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County. We vigorously defend clients in most aspects of criminal law including DUI, felony and misdemeanor drug posession, battery, burglary, domestic violence, juvenile crimes, weapons charges and white collar crime. Additionally, Siegel Siegel & Wright offers civil representation in matters such as divorce, modification, contractual law and both residential and commercial real estate.  If you have been arrested and would like to discuss your case with one of our attorneys, please call our office at 561-620-8200 to schedule a free consultation and we will be glad to meet with you. In the event of an emergency, attorneys are available by phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


Ten things you should  know about a DUI

1. Talking to the police: Once an officer stops you, talking to the police is NEVER a good idea. Be polite, smile, hand them your license and registration.  DO NOT ENGAGE IN A CONVERSATION ABOUT WHERE YOU CAME FROM, WHAT YOU DRANK, ETC.  IT WILL BE USED AGAINST YOU! You are not required to engage in polite conversation with the police, so don’t. Many people have tried to talk their way out of a DUI, few if any have ever succeeded. If an officer is conducting a DUI investigation on you, chances are  high that you will be arrested regardless what you say.

2. Legal intoxication: It is not illegal to drink and drive, it is illegal to drive or be in control of a motor vehicle while legally intoxicated. If police wait too long to administer a breathalyzer after they stop you, you may become legally intoxicated in the meantime; remember to be convicted of DUI you must be intoxicated at the time of the stop.

3. Sobriety tests: Roadside sobriety tests are designed to be difficult and confusing. Few people perform them well, even completely sober. Whether you choose to take roadside tests and/or a breathalyzer is ultimately up to you; if you refuse the test it is an automatic suspension of your license,  and the second time a misdemeanor which may result in jail. The important point to keep in mind is that  it is extremely difficult for the State Attorney to prove their case if they do not have evidence that you are intoxicated. Think about it.

4. “Honesty” with the police: Trying to be “honest” by telling an officer you only had one beer never works. Admitting that you have been drinking at all is a sure way to be subjected to a DUI investigation.

5. Everyone has glassy eyes: Just about everyone arrested for DUI has slurred speech and glassy eyes. True?  Probably not. For some reason, even people who are later proven innocent of DUI were allegedly arrested with slurred speech and glassy eyes which suggests that police aren’t nearly as accurate or honest about DUI observations as one might hope.  Officers investigating DUI often have the superhuman ability to detect the odor of alcoholic beverages on you from great distances – even if you had nothing but iced tea to drink all night. Keep this in mind when you consider whether to engage in a conversation with an officer conducting a DUI investigation.

6. Never resist arrest: If you are arrested, don’t resist arrest, don’t argue with the police that you’re innocent, don’t offer information, and don’t ask questions if it can be avoided. Everything you say and do is being recorded and will be used against you! Once an officer has made the decision to arrest you, there is essentially nothing you can do or say to wiggle your way out. Save the arguments for Court.

7. Hire a DUI attorney: If you have been arrested for DUI you need an attorney with trial experience. Siegel Siegel & Wright can help. We can answer your questions and lead you through the process of a DUI with your best interests at heart. A DUI can cause a lifetime of problems including: loss of license, community service requirements, insurance rate increase, fines, perhaps even job loss and in some cases, jail time. The decisions you make immediately after your arrest are some of the most important decisions you will ever make.

8. DHSMV deadlines: 10 days after an arrest in Florida for DUI, you will automatically lose your license unless you take immediate steps! You need to request a DHSMV hearing within those first 10 days of your arrest. The DHSMV hearing  may be your only opportunity in the entire criminal procedure to question the arresting officer before trial and possibly prevent a suspension of your license.

9.  Second reminder – hire a DUI attorney: If you have not hired a good attorney, let me remind you again – hire a good DUI attorney. If you submitted to roadside sobriety exercises and were arrested, upon your release immediately write down any factors that might have effected your balance bodily injury, knee pain, back pain, hip ailments and/or medications. Things to consider:

· What was the surface like where your field sobriety test was done? Was it clean, paved, and level?

· Were the headlights on the police car pointed toward you?

· Were the flashing lights on? Were you disoriented?

· Were you read your miranda rights? If so, when did they do it?

· How long had you been awake before the test?

· If there was a traffic accident did the officer advise you that he was initiating a DUI investigation?

· Had you recently taken any medications, cough syrups, or cough drops?

10. How an attorney can help: What Siegel Siegel & Wright can do for you:

· Build a case for the best defense including hiring experts if needed.
· Try to get the charges dismissed or reduced.
· Try to get you a work permit to drive if you are convicted.
· Challenge any evidence that should not be admissible against you in court.
· Prepare for Jury trial


Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Do I have to take the breath test?
In Florida, you may refuse to take a breath test but it will cause your license to be suspended automatically. A second refusal is a crime in itself that often carries jail time.  There may be other factors that can cause a breath test to return inaccurate results or for you to perform poorly in roadside exercises. Whether you choose to  to a breath test is your choice,  but if you do, remember the fight is not over yet! The science and  behind  breath tests  is somewhat flawed and many times it can be challenged in Court.

Q: Do have to perform ‘field tests’?
Field sobriety tests, like the breathalyser, are  optional but carry a penalty for refusal- that penalty is the suspension of your driver’s license. Some studies have shown that these tests were designed to exaggerate failure. Many of the tests would make the average sober person appear intoxicated. Even under the best conditions many of the tasks are confusing and difficult to perform. Officers have extensive training in these tests- you don’t.  Some times these tests are administered wrong. Most lawyers will discourage taking these tests. Every situation is different, but the best option you can choose is to ask to speak with an attorney as soon as possible.


Any other useful advice?

Be polite and respectful. Never bad-mouth a police officer or engage in name-calling or explicatives. It only hurts your argument.

Stay calm and in control of your words, body language and emotions.

Don’t argue with the police that you’re sober. Usually it makes you appear intoxicated.

Remember, anything you say or do will be used against you. be on your best behavior!

Always keep your hands where the police can see them.

Don’t resist arrest even if you believe you are innocent. Do not tighten u, do not pull your arms away and do not try and negotiate. Calmly comply with the arrest and fight your battle in Court. Even the simple act of trying to turn around to persuade an officer not to arrest you can be considered resisting arrest which is a separate crime.

Don’t make any statements regarding the incident.  Don’t makes jokes or small talk either. The best thing you can do is comply with the minimal amount of speaking possible.

Ask for a lawyer immediately upon your arrest so that you are not questioned further.

Write down everything you remember as soon as possible. In many cases this may be the day after your arrest. In any event, it is always best to make notes for yourself when things are fresh in your mind!

Upon request, show the police your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance. In certain cases, your car can be searched without a warrant as long as the police have probable cause. To protect yourself later, you should make it clear that you do not consent to a search. It is not lawful for police to arrest you simply for refusing to consent to a search.

If you’re given a ticket, sign it; otherwise you can be arrested and/or face with additional charges just for refusing to sign. Remember, fight your battles in Court.

It’s not a crime to refuse to answer questions. You can’t be arrested merely for refusing to identify yourself on the street.

Police may “pat-down” your clothing if they suspect a concealed weapon. Don’t physically resist, but make it clear that you don’t consent to any further search.

Ask if you are under arrest. If you are, you have a right to know why.

You have the right to remain silent and to talk to a lawyer before you “talk” to the police. USE IT. Tell the police nothing except your name and address. Don’t give any explanations, excuses or stories. You can make your defense later, in Court, based on what you and your lawyer decide is best.