It is no secret that police in Jacksonville, Florida, like in most other cities, focus their attention to certain areas and certain times of the year when investigating certain crimes like DUI (aka driving under the influence, DWI, drunk driving). One of those times is Georgia v. Florida weekend (or Florida v. Georgia weekend depending on your affiliation). And the areas the police seem to focus on when looking for DUI’s are, among others, the streets downtown near restaurants and bars, and the streets at and coming to and from Jacksonville Beach and Ponte Vedra such as beach Boulevard, Atlantic Boulevard, A1A and J Turner Butler Boulevard (JTB). Police officers will hang out near bars and restaurants watching people go to their vehicles and also along the roads watching for any traffic violations.
Obviously, if you have been drinking, the best course of action is to get a ride with a friend or call a taxi. However, if you have been stopped by a police officer in Jacksonville or elsewhere and he/she starts asking DUI-related questions, it is important to know your rights. Keep in mind that field sobriety tests are very difficult tests of balance and coordination that are tough under any circumstances. Even worse, the results are completely subjective based on the opinion of a police officer who already thinks you are drunk. Otherwise, he/she would not have asked you to do them in the first place.
Once the first DUI-related question comes out, you should know that any follow up question is designed to gather evidence to be used against you after the DUI arrest he/she is going to make. So, under those circumstances, you need to decide whether you want to answer incriminating questions and perform difficult, subjective tests or politely refuse to incriminate yourself and request to speak with a lawyer. In other words, you have a right to remain silent and not help the police make the DUI case against you.
If you have been stopped pursuant to a DUI investigation, feel free to contact us during the DUI stop or after the stop for a free consultation so you will know your rights.