It starts as a few beers at the tailgate party over at Dolphin Stadium. Just like college, except you can’t walk back to your dorm afterwards. So you rushed out of the house and did not eat anything and figure you will grab a bite before the game. You have a couple of beers and a few chicken wings and head into the game. It’s a typical 95 degree 110% humidity day in Miami and you are parched. You have a few more beers during the game, but lose count. You don’t feel drunk, just happy and hot. After the game, you are feeling blue because the Dolphins lost again, and you head home. As you pull into your neighborhood, you roll through that stop sign that you have passed a million times and a cop sees you. No problem you figure he will give you a warning since your house is just around the bend. The officer asks you for your license and registration. He sees your Dolphin jersey and you reek from sweat and beer. He asks you if you have been drinking. You feel confident that you are not drunk, so you tell him “yes officer, I had a few beers at the game, but that was hours ago.” I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you probably won’t be taking a shower for a while. Not alone at least.
Before you send me nasty emails, let me state unequivocally, you should never drink and drive. Even one drink supposedly impairs your driving ability. Even though it is not illegal to drink and drive so long as your blood alcohol is under .08 and you are not impaired. The fact is that it does not take that much to get you over the .08 threshold. Even if you feel fine … really, you can be DUI under Florida law. The good news is that your DUI traffic ticket attorney, Jason Diamond, is about to give you some advice that might keep you out of jail. Or if you are arrested, I can increase the chances you will get off of the DUI charge.
- When the cop comes to your car, you should always assume that you are being recorded. The officer has a microphone on his shirt and there is a video camera on his dashboard. He will not tell you this so assume it.
- Don’t act drunk or guilty. Think about how you look and sound. Not just for the officer, but for the jury. They will hear and see your video six months from now when we are at trial. If you look and sound sober, you may very well get off.
- Do not admit to drinking anything. You read that right. If you admit to two beers, he will assume 4. If you say one glass of wine, he will assume three. If you admit to any consumption of alcohol, you have about an 80% of going to jail regardless of how sober you look. If he says he smells booze, come up with an excuse other than you were drinking. Reasonable examples are “I was in a restaurant so maybe that is why I smell” or “I just brushed and used mouthwash, maybe that is what you smell.”
- Don’t blow unless you are sure you will pass. If you think your blood alcohol level might be .08 or higher don’t blow. Just decline and say you want a lawyer. He will tell you that you have no right to a lawyer, just keep asking for one, but act calm and sober. The reality is that in most cases, you are not even asked to blow until after you are in handcuffs. That means that you are almost certainly going to jail for the night. Even if you blow 0.0, he will assume you are on other drugs. Blowing over a .08 makes it much easier to convict you later. Don’t help them by blowing over the limit.
- Once in jail DO NOT TELL ANYONE if you have been drinking. Don’t tell the guy in the cell that you were drinking. Do not tell the nurse. And do not tell the officer filling out paperwork who says “I must know for health reasons if you have been drinking.” Your answers can and will be used against you.
If you keep these pointers in mind, you are much more likely to walk away from a DUI charge. Every case is different and you need to use your judgment if you get pulled over. The best bet is not to drive at all if you have been drinking. I know that is hard since every restaurant has a parking lot as does every stadium that serves beer. If you find yourself in trouble, call an experienced DUI lawyer for help. The consultation is free. If you want to keep your freedom, call ASAP as waiting can hurt you and your case.