5 questions that you have the day after your DUI arrest:
I did have a drink or two, but was I really committing the crime of DUI?
Its not a crime to drink and drive in Florida. Or else why would every bar have a parking lot? It's a crime to drink so much alcohol that your normal faculties become impaired from the alcohol. Normal faculties include but are not limited to the ability to see, hear, walk, talk, judge distances, drive an automobile, make judgments, act in emergencies and, in general, to normally perform the many mental and physical acts of our daily lives.
What If I performed the Field Sobriety Exercises?
You are under no obligation to perform any of the tasks that the officer asks you to do. If the officer asks you to perform exercises, you have the right to politely decline. If he forces you to do the exercise, he may have violated your rights.
If you choose to participate, realize that you will likely be videotaped. While it is illegal to drink and drive when your normal faculties are impaired, you probably realized that the exercises you performed did not test your normal faculties. You realized the officer did not ask you to walk normally in front of the camera, or stand normally on two legs in front of the camera. Rather he asked you to walk and stand abnormally.
Should I have blown into the machine?
Unfortunately, there is no yes or no answer to this question. Any lawyer that tells you there is an absolute yes or no answer to this question is doing you a disservice. The answer to this question depends on the situation. However, here are important factors to consider:
Some people may have a concentration of alcohol in their blood lower than .08, yet be obviously impaired. Other people may have a concentration of blood alcohol that is higher than .08, yet have no noticeable signs of impairment. The breathalyzer machine does not provide information on impairment, just a number.
Furthermore, blowing into the machine requires faith that that the box in front of you will take the air from your mouth and determine the amount of alcohol in your blood. For that matter, the breath analyzed is often taken hours after the person was driving.
Why didn't they take my blood sample to test my blood alcohol level?
It would just be too expensive for the government to take your blood every time they arrest you for DUI. At less than $ 1,000 a machine, the breath machine is a cheap solution to collect evidence against you. Of course, it doesn't take a toxicologist to tell you that a blood test is a far superior way to test your blood alcohol level than a breath test. However, finances are the main reason that the legislature has approved the breath test machine as the required mechanism to collect evidence in DUI cases.
You have a legal right to have the arresting officer take you to the hospital to have your blood tested. Unfortunately, it will be at your expense and lawmakers have made it legally permissible for the arresting officer to not tell you about this important legal right.
What is this "10 day rule" regarding my drivers license?
You have a right to request a formal review in front of DMV hearing officers. But you must request the hearing within 10 days; otherwise, you waive that right. The formal review is your first chance to fight the unlawfulness of the arrest. If you win, you can get your full license back from DMV. While waitng for your hearing, DMV will issue you a temporary driving permit that will continue to be valid after your ten day traffic citation has expired. This newly issued temporary permit will be available until the DMV has made a determination as to the lawfulness of the arrest.
You also have the right to request a hearing to obtain a hardship license. This is a limited license to drive, usually restricted to driving to work, the store, to pick up children, etc. In the case of a blood alcohol level over .08, you can get a hardship license after 30 days. In the case of a first refusal to submit to a breath test, you can request a hardship license after 90 day, 180 days for a second.
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