Florida law enforcement officers have several tools to combat driving under the influence (DUI). A DUI stop is one way that the Florida police enforce DUI laws. To pull over a suspected drunk or drugged driver, however, the police must have a sufficient legal basis for the stop. If you are facing charges after a DUI stop, a defense lawyer can help you fight a conviction. At Blake & Dorsten, P.A., our dedicated St. Petersburg DUI lawyers can defend the rights of drivers and contest an illegal DUI stop when necessary. We can provide legal guidance and defense representation for a DUI stop.Learn About Florida DUI Stops
In Florida, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can result in an arrest and DUI charge. A person who operates a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or above, or a certain amount of drugs in their system, may be charged with a per se DUI offense. Moreover, a driver may be arrested for DUI with any amount of drugs and/or alcohol in their system to the extent that their normal faculties are impaired. In some cases, drunk or drugged driving charges may arise from a DUI stop.
A DUI stop is a traffic stop conducted by a law enforcement officer who suspects that the driver is intoxicated or under the influence of drugs. Once the driver is pulled over, the police officer may request their license and registration and ask some preliminary questions. The driver is under no legal obligation to answer and may politely decline to respond. In addition, the driver may decline to perform any field sobriety tests without penalty for refusal. However, if the officer has cause to request a breath test, the driver is required under Florida’s implied consent law to submit to a chemical test. A refusal may result in civil penalties, even if the driver is cleared of any DUI charges. If the driver’s blood alcohol content is over the legal limit, or there is probable cause that the driver has committed a DUI or other criminal offense, the officer may place the driver under arrest.Legal Basis for a DUI Stop in St. Petersburg
In keeping with an individual’s constitutional right to be free from illegal police seizures, an officer cannot arbitrarily stop a driver without a legitimate reason. There must be legal grounds for both a DUI stop and any arrest. To perform a DUI stop, a law enforcement officer must have reasonable suspicion that the driver is impaired by drugs or alcohol, has violated a traffic law, or has committed any other crime. For example, the police may have cause to pull over a person whom they observe driving erratically, running a red light, or failing to use their blinker when changing lanes.
Analyzing the circumstances of a DUI stop can be important to discover whether the police violated the defendant’s constitutional rights in a DUI case. In general, evidence gathered from an illegal DUI stop, such as the results of a breathalyzer or performance of field sobriety tests, will not be admitted at trial. This may lead to dismissal of a DUI charge. An experienced defense lawyer can determine whether there were legal grounds for the DUI stop or any other defenses available to a DUI charge.Consult With a Blake & Dorsten, P.A. Lawyer About a DUI Stop
If you have been arrested after a DUI stop, an experienced defense attorney can protect your rights and fight any charges filed against you. At Blake & Dorsten, P.A., our attorneys can represent people facing criminal prosecution for drunk or drugged driving, as well as many other offenses. We can assist defendants located throughout Pinellas County, including Clearwater, Tampa Bay, and St. Petersburg. To discuss a DUI or drug charge with one of our defense attorneys, call 727-286-6141 or contact us online and request a free consultation.