DUI Crackdowns for the Super Bowl: What Are Your Rights?

Oftentimes as a result of holidays, celebrations, or events, local law enforcement will increase patrolling and crack down on drivers that appear to be impaired. One time during which this is a common occurrence is the night of the Super Bowl.

If you are pulled over after a Super Bowl party because an officer believes you are driving under the influence, there are a variety of tests to which they can ask you to submit; but with each of those tests, you have the right to agree or refuse. Each choice comes with its own set of pros and cons. 

In this article, top DUI lawyers in Clearwater with Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan, P.A. lay out all of your rights and choices throughout a DUI investigation, and how those choices can help your case if you end up being charged with a DUI.

You Have the Right to Refuse Field Sobriety Tests

If you are stopped for DUI, the law enforcement officer may ask you to perform Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs), such as “Finger to Nose,” “Walk and Turn,” “One-Leg Stand,” etc. If you believe that performing these tests would be detrimental to your case, you have the right to refuse to submit to those tests. In this case, the officer must decide if he has enough other evidence to make a DUI arrest, or to drop the investigation and allow you to continue on your way.

If you do choose to submit to FSTs, they are often recorded by dash-mounted video cameras in the officer’s patrol car. If you end up being arrested for DUI, our attorneys can examine the video footage of your performance and potentially challenge the officer’s interpretation of the results. Many clients express concern with how they will look on the video, but we have found in many cases that our client’s appearance on video is much better than they thought, and more importantly, much better than the officer described. If you do refuse the roadside sobriety tests, it is likely that you will be arrested, but you will deprive law enforcement of potentially damaging evidence of you performing poorly on the tests or otherwise demonstrating poor balance and dexterity.

You Have the Right to Refuse the Breath Test

Law enforcement officers can also ask you to submit to a breath test, in which a machine called an Intoxilyzer is used to detect the level of alcohol vapor in your breath, which can be used to determine your blood alcohol level. Again, there are pros and cons when deciding whether to refuse this test.

A breath test reading that is under the legal limit, on the one hand, provides compelling evidence to support a reduction of charges or even a motion to dismiss the DUI charge if you are arrested. However, if you are concerned that the breath test may result in a reading that is at or greater than 0.08, you may prefer to refuse the test altogether. In our experience, a greater number of “refusal” cases tend to get reduced than cases built upon Intoxiliyzer results. If you refuse a breath test, you will suffer an administrative suspension of 12 to 18 months. If it is the second time you have refused a breath test, you might also face a separate criminal charge of “refusal to submit to testing.” If you take the breath test and your breath alcohol level is above .15, you would suffer enhanced sanctions and no longer be eligible for the DROP diversion program if it is your first offense.

You Have the Right to Refuse a Urine Test

If you are arrested for DUI, when you arrive at the station, the officer may ask that you provide a urine sample to use for a urinalysis, which detects whether you have consumed any controlled substances. The problem with this test is that it isn’t able to determine when controlled substances were consumed. So, for example, if you took a prescribed anti-anxiety medication in the morning, and then were arrested that night or the next day, the medicine would appear on a urinalysis, and it may appear that that substance was impairing your driving, despite your appropriate use.

Refusal to submit to the urine test does come with drawbacks – the officer will have to file a citation against you that results in a one year license suspension. However, if this is your first and only DUI arrest in your lifetime, you would be immediately eligible to apply for a hardship license for the entire one year driver’s license suspension. What’s more, the lack of urinalysis results could strengthen your case and help a top DUI attorney in Clearwater with Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan, P.A. secure a reduction in charges, a Not Guilty verdict, or an outright dismissal of your case.

You Have the Right to Request a Blood Test

Under Florida law, if you submit to the breath and urine tests requested by law enforcement, you are entitled to have an independent blood draw conducted to determine the presence of chemical or controlled substances in your blood. Although a urine test cannot tell us when a substance was consumed, a blood test is much more accurate for determining how recently a substance had been consumed. Thus, if you are arrested for DUI, but concerned about the joint that you smoked at a party a few weeks ago, it may be wise to advise the officer, “Yes, I will submit to the urine test, but I would also like your assistance in obtaining an independent blood test.” 

Obtaining an independent blood test that yields results that demonstrate that you did not have any chemical or controlled substances in your bloodstream at the time of your arrest can often be iron-clad affirmative evidence that you were not DUI.

You Have the Right to Retain a Top DUI Lawyer in Clearwater

If you are arrested for DUI in Pinellas County, retaining a lawyer who specializes in DUI defense is in your best interest. The attorneys at Russo, Pelletier, & Sullivan, P.A. not only have many years of experience in DUI defense, but hold unique certifications and participate in continuing education that makes us uniquely qualified to examine any tests you submitted to and compile the best possible defense for your case. 

Call the top DUI lawyers in Clearwater at Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan P.A. today for your free case evaluation. We are available at any time by phone (727) 291-9717; or, complete our online contact request form.


Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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