1. Driving Pattern
This is what a police officer first notices and may prompt a traffic stop. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recognizes 20 different driving patterns that could indicate an intoxicated driver ranging from erratic driving, to weaving, to driving excessively slow. Speeding, often thought to be a clue to intoxication, actually requires better driving skills and is often only an indicator of intoxication when combined with another red-flag driving pattern.
2. Personal Behavior
Once an officer stops you, he may notice, or think he does, a number of signals that you have been drinking, including the smell of alcohol on your breath or clothes, bloodshot eyes, thick and/or slurred speech, flushed face, fumbling with a wallet, difficulty walking or standing or following directions., etc.
3. Field Sobriety Exercises (FSE)
FSE’s may include walk-and-turn, touch-the-nose, one-leg-stand, modified position of attention (also called the Rhomberg test), alphabet recitation, horizontal gaze nystagmus (following an object like a pen or finger from side-to-side with your eyes), fingers-to-thumb and hand pat. Only three of these FSE’s (walk-and-turn, one-leg-stand and nystagmus) have been proven in federal studies to be reliable indicators of intoxication. The others are not reliable. Unlike chemical tests, you are not required to take FSE’s.
Whatever you say to police, whether offered on your own or in response to an officer’s questions, may be used against you, particularly if you have not yet been arrested and been read your Miranda warnings. You are not required to answer questions. However, if you refuse to take a breath, blood or urine test, it may be interpreted as an incriminating statement.
5. Chemical Tests
Breath, blood or urine tests are used to determine the amount of alcohol in your blood. Fortunately, from a defense perspective, the breathalyzer and urine tests are highly unreliable and can be challenged in a number of ways. The breathalyzer does not account for differences in physiology, including metabolism. It also can give inaccurate readings if you belch into it or have other compounds besides alcohol on your breath. Radio frequencies also have been known to interfere with breath tests. Blood tests are the most reliable, but problems can arise with the timing of the test and how the sample is stored.
Don’t simply plead guilty to a DUI without seeing what our very experienced Florida law firm can do for you. Our 24-hour telephone number is (954) 288-7447. The call is free and the initial consultation is free. We look forward to helping you and your family through this very difficult time.
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