When you can be arrested for DUI, and what to expect

At the Scene

At the initial detention of a DUI, law enforcement are going to look for certain cues or clues or indicators of impairment that suggest to them that they have probable cause to make an arrest, and if you read any DUI arrest affidavit, you’ll see the same type of language over and over again as it relates to those things. For example, you’ll hear them talking about bloodshot and glassy eyes or a flushed face. They might talk about slurred speech. If you’re not able to respond to simple requests for your license, registration, and insurance. If you’re fumbling around having a difficult time finding it. If you’re not coherent or responsive to their questions.

All of these things are potential indicators of impairment that they’re going to harp on as proof of your DUI. So they’re going to be looking at a number of factors. Don’t forget the odor of alcohol is one of those things, but there are a whole slew of things they’ll look to. Then if you’re ordered out of the car, they’ll look to your balance, your coordination, and your responsiveness to their requests that’ll also make their decision about whether or not to arrest you for DUI.

Breath Test

In Florida, before a law enforcement officer can ask you to submit to a lawful breath test, you actually have to be arrested. Procedurally what’s going to happen is you’re going to get arrested first and then you’re going to asked to submit to the breath test. It’s entirely possible that someone may be arrested for DUI, taken to the breath test center or taken to the jail, wherever the breath test is administered, take a breath test, and actually be below the legal limit. In those situations, you may have some really good defenses and arguments to make about why the case should be thrown out. In those cases, typically what we see is because law enforcement can’t fathom that they might be wrong about your impairment, they will typically then ask you for a urine test to see if they can find something in your urine. Again, a breath test below the legal limit may very well be a good defense, strongly recommend that you speak with your lawyer about that and what you can do to properly defend yourself.

What to Expect if Arrested for Drunk Driving

After a DUI arrest, you’re going to be taken down and asked to submit to a breath test. After your submission to that or your refusal to submit to that breath test, you’ll be taken to the jail and processed. You have to be held for a number of hours by statute so that the jail can feel comfortable in releasing you and making sure that they’re not putting you back on the roadways at a time when you may not be in a condition to drive. Following that, you’ll be issued a court date when you have to appear for an arraignment. It would be highly advisable that within the first ten days of your DUI arrest you seek out and hire a DUI attorney that can represent you both as it relates to your driver’s license and as it relates to the criminal case, which are two separate issues that come up from DUI arrests.

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Insurance company

A mere arrest for DUI does not typically trigger an insurance cancellation. That being said, it’s impossible to know if or when the insurance carrier will be notified and how they’ll respond because their response is more a by-product of their risk assessment and analysis of you as an insured than it is a legal issue or question. It’s entirely possible that you’ll be cancelled. At some point, certainly, once insurance is made aware of the DUI, if, for example you take a breath test and that breath test causes your license to be suspended, then yes, the insurance carrier is likely to do something. Whether it’s to drop you or whether it’s to require high risk insurance, one of those is very likely if you don’t properly represent yourself as it relates to the license suspension and, of course, as it relates to the case. A mere arrest by itself should not trigger a cancellation.

Public Record

Any arrest in Florida, including a drunk driving arrest, is going to become public record, which means not only can you expect that your name and/or mugshot may appear in a local paper, but it’s also going to be accessible online through a number of various databases. Typically there’s not much you can do about it during the pendency of the case. However, in the event that the case is addressed through the courts and your case is dismissed, you have an opportunity to have that mugshot potentially removed. Many of the mugshot companies online try to encourage people to pay their select lawyers to have that mugshot removed. We don’t advocate for that and in fact we find that to be an improper way to do business. There are certain circumstances that you might be able to have your mugshot removed. Speak with a lawyer about what those opportunities might be.

Public’s interest – Miranda Warning

In a DUI case, you’re not entitled to a Miranda Warning in the same sense that you might be in other cases. The courts have typically ruled that your interest against self-incrimination is outweighed by the public’s interest in having people that are potentially dangerous on the roadways. What does that mean? It means that although you’re not entitled to that Miranda Warning, if you are detained and if you are asked specific questions that elicit an incriminating response, you may be able to get those statements thrown out. If you’re asked, “How many drinks have you had,” and you say, “I’ve had two beers.” That statement may not be admissible in court absent a Miranda Warning. That’s something to talk to your lawyer about to see whether there are any admissions in those types of contexts that might be able to be excluded in court. As it relates to the overall case, there’s no obligation to be Mirandized for a DUI investigation.

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