This time of year, around the July 4th holiday, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, Florida Highway Patrol and other local law enforcement agencies are out in force looking to stop people for traffic violations and make DUI arrests. The local Jacksonville area police focus on DUI arrests during the July 4th holiday perhaps more than any other time of the year.
Keep in mind that a police officer’s DUI investigation is likely the most subjective process leading to an arrest of any crime. That becomes more of a problem for potential DUI suspects during a time when the police are making a conscious effort to make more arrests. When a police officer has a preconceived belief that a person may be impaired from drugs or alcohol, this could certainly sway his/her opinion as to whether a DUI arrest should be made after conducting the very subjective field sobriety exercises and interpreting the police officer’s very subjective observations about a person’s condition and demeanor. While most people think a police officer’s DUI investigation should be recorded on video in this day and age, a lot of DUI investigations are not recorded by the police. Police officers who do not have video cameras in their vehicles can always call for another police officer who does have a video camera to record the DUI investigation, but they often do not do that. As a result, whether a person is convicted of DUI or found not guilty may depend on the defendant’s word versus the police officer’s word.
Because the police officer’s DUI investigation is so subjective, it is very important for a person to know his/her rights when he/she is pulled over by police and suspected of DUI. First, the driver does not have to answer any questions as to where he/she has been or what he/she has been doing prior to the stop. The driver does not have to take the subjective field sobriety tests that can be difficult for anyone to pass under those circumstances. Basically, when a police officer pulls a person over and initiates a DUI investigation, the driver does not have to answer any questions or perform any field sobriety tests that could incriminate that driver. It is always safe to politely ask to speak to a lawyer.
If you have any questions about the DUI laws in Florida or have been pulled over by a police officer who initiates a DUI investigation, make sure you know your rights. Feel free to contact us any time for a free consultation about the DUI laws in Florida.