Law enforcement officers may conduct a DUI stop only when they have proper legal grounds to do so. Understanding your rights during a DUI stop may be confusing, but a qualified defense lawyer can guide you. At Ellis and Bryant, we are dedicated to helping people defend against criminal charges. If you were arrested during a DUI stop, we can advocate on your behalf and protect your rights during the process. Our skilled Jacksonville DUI attorneys have the experience to challenge an unlawful DUI stop as well as defend drivers against any charges arising from a DUI stop.Overview of DUI Stops in Florida
A person commits a DUI in Florida by driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or above, a per se amount of a controlled substance in their system, or when the effect of alcohol and/or drugs has impaired their normal faculties. Florida law enforcement agencies have implemented a variety of strategies to prevent people from driving while they are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. One such tool is patrolling for impaired drivers and conducting DUI stops when necessary.
Law enforcement officers must have a legitimate legal basis to stop a driver. Consequently, the police may only conduct a DUI stop when they have a reasonable suspicion that the driver is impaired by alcohol or drugs, or that the driver has committed a traffic offense or another crime. Some facts that may give rise to a reasonable suspicion of drunk driving include erratic swerving between lanes, driving at an inconsistent speed, drifting over the center lane or onto the shoulder of the road, nearly hitting another car or object, frequently breaking, or failing to obey traffic signals. Without legal grounds to justify the DUI stop, a police officer may be violating the driver’s constitutional rights.
During a DUI stop, the police officer may continue to investigate for signs of impaired driving. The officer will likely ask questions and may ask the driver to step out of their vehicle to take field sobriety tests. The police officer may also request a breath test. If there is probable cause that the driver is impaired, the officer may arrest the driver for a DUI.Contesting a DUI Stop
If you believe that a police officer had no reason to pull you over, it is important to refrain from taking actions during the DUI stop that may make the situation worse. A Jacksonville lawyer can assist you in reviewing the facts of your case to determine whether the DUI stop was legal. In general, evidence gathered by the police during an illegal DUI stop may not be used against you in court. For example, if the police officer had no legal basis to pull you over, the court may not allow the prosecution to present evidence of the results of a chemical breath or blood test conducted during or after the DUI stop. Evidence found in your vehicle, such as open containers or drug paraphernalia, may also be excluded if the DUI stop was illegal. In some cases, successfully challenging an illegal DUI stop may result in a dismissal due to the lack of evidence. A qualified defense attorney who understands the details of your DUI stop can advise you of any defenses that may be available in your case.Contact a Defense Lawyer in Jacksonville to Discuss a DUI Stop
If you were arrested as a result of a DUI stop, an experienced attorney in Jacksonville can provide representation and legal advice. At Ellis and Bryant, our hardworking lawyers help people who have been accused of drugged or drunk driving, DUI accidents, drug crimes, and other misdemeanor and felony offenses. We serve residents of Jacksonville Beach, Orange Park, and Middleburg, as well as Clay or Duval County. Arrange a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys by calling our office at (904) 551-4120 or contacting Ellis and Bryant online.