Last year we posted a blog article about DUI checkpoints in the Jacksonville, Florida area as police come out in force on a holiday weekend like this one to try and make arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (also referred to as DUI, DWI and drunk driving). Because July 4th falls on a Saturday this year and the holiday is taken on the Friday before July 4th, we expect Jacksonville area police officers to be all over the place looking for potential DUI arrests. At Jacksonville Beach and the main roads leading to and from Jacksonville Beach like J. Turner Butler Boulevard (JTB), Beach Boulevard and Atlantic Boulevard, Jacksonville police are out in higher concentrations looking to make DUI arrests.
More and more recently, we have spoken with clients and read DUI arrest reports where it appears that police officers make the decision early on that a person is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and the DUI investigation is just a formality leading to a certain arrest. In other words, police officers put the same information on every DUI arrest report (odor of alcohol, slurred speech, swaying, mumbling or stuttering, and failed field sobriety exams) and decide to arrest a person for DUI regardless of whether or not there are any actual signs of impairment. As a result, it is important to know your rights if a police officer stops you and asks questions about alcohol or drugs. Ideally, you would call a DUI lawyer who is available at all times and ask questions immediately. If you are unable to speak to a DUI lawyer when stopped, understand that you do not have to answer the question about whether you have had any alcohol or drugs or how much you have had. You can also refuse the field sobriety exams. Keep in mind that if a police officer has it in his/her head that you are guilty of DUI, he/she will request that you submit to a field sobriety exam for the sole purpose of giving him/her and the State more evidence to convict you of DUI. Very few people, if any, get out of a DUI arrest by submitting to the field sobriety exams, even if they are perfectly sober.
Many people do not know their rights, or do not exercise their rights, during a DUI stop. If you have been arrested for DUI in the Jacksonville, Florida area or have any questions about how to handle a DUI stop, feel free to contact us any day, any time for a free consultation.