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Important Tips and Advice From Your DUI Attorney | St. Petersburg

When you need a DUI attorney in St. Petersburg, procrastinating in hiring someone can lead to serious consequences. Driving while intoxicated is a serious charge that can greatly affect your future, so hiring a competent lawyer is imperative. Luckily, Scott Flint with Flint Law Firm is here to help you receive the fairest outcome possible. Just because you were arrested for a drunk driving, it doesn’t mean you need to be convicted of it.

Important Advice From Your DUI Attorney

Over the limit or not, getting pulled over after you’ve been drinking can be terrifying.  Pleading with the officers to let you go, or telling them that your house is right around the corner, is a fruitless endeavor.  Don’t bother trying. If you are over the limit, or the officer believes your normal faculties are impaired, you will be arrested. Although you should never drink and drive, as a DUI attorney in St. Petersburg, at Flint Law Firm, we have compiled a list of tips to help you through your interaction with the police:

  • JUST DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE! This is a foolproof method of avoiding any interaction with police.  But sometimes, our judgment is impaired and we believe we can drive safely.  It happens to many people, sometimes with tragic results.  Just don’t do it.  A $20 taxi ride is a whole lot better than getting arrested and needing a St. Petersburg DUI attorney.
  • If you do drive, make every effort to follow all traffic laws completely. The officer might have stopped you for simply not using a turn signal, and then make the assumption that you are driving drunk by invoking the familiar mantra of strong odor of alcohol, flushed face, bloodshot, watery eyes, slurred speech, and uncoordinated movements—or some combination of the above.  Basically, as a DUI attorney I can say: if you have read one DUI police report, you’ve read them all.  So if you can avoid getting pulled over by scrupulous adherence to the traffic laws, the officer will never be able to get his face in your window. 
  • Remain calm once you’ve been pulled over. We all get nervous, but being exceedingly nervous and trembling may make you seem more suspicious.  And don’t bother chewing gum or taking breath mints.  It doesn’t fool anyone and it’s a decision clue police may use in making a probable cause determination to arrest you.
  • Be polite! Once you have been pulled over, you are essentially at the mercy of the officers, which is why you don’t want to do anything that will anger them. Many people end up in the back of a cruiser for the well-known crime of POP (pissing off the police).  You will probably be under video and audio surveillance as well, so keep that in mind before making any rude comments or gestures. Being difficult will only make it harder for you and your St. Petersburg DUI attorney.
  • Any competent St. Petersburg DUI attorney will tell you that while manners are important, it is also important to remember your constitutional rights. While you have to provide your driver license and other required paperwork, don’t tell the officer anything.  Don’t joke around or engage in small talk.  Every little thing you say, whether you believe it to be innocuous or not, will be recorded and probably twisted around.  Above all, don’t lie.  Simply do not answer. Telling the officer you only had “two beers” is just going to add to the totality of circumstances that give rise to probable cause to arrest you. 
  • Keep in mind that you DO NOT have to perform the field sobriety exercises, including the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test.  (This is when the officer sweeps a pen back and forth in front of your face.  He is looking for involuntary jerking of the eyes.  You can’t control these movements (hence the term “involuntary”), so don’t do the test.)  Sometimes, officers simply assume you are going to do the FSEs and start giving you instructions.  “I’m just going to take a quick look at your eyes,” Officer Friendly says, as he starts performing the test.  Just say no.  I know it may be intimidating to stand up to law enforcement, and they will be insistent, but you aren’t required to do these tests.  Stand your ground.  Attempting to perform the FSEs only gives more evidence the officer can use in determining probable cause to arrest you, which is more evidence for your DUI attorney to fight in court.  You likely won’t pass the FSEs, so don’t even try. 
  • If you don’t do the FSEs, the officer has to rely only on his observations of you up to that point to determine whether he has probable cause to arrest you.  Remember, the officer cannot make you perform a breathalyzer test until after he or she lawfully arrests you for driving under the influence.  The FSEs almost always give the officer the evidence to push an otherwise close case over the edge, and cementing your need for a St. Petersburg DUI attorney.  If you don’t do the FSEs, it makes it that much harder for the officer to develop probable cause to arrest you and for the state to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.  Depending on the facts, a motion to suppress the arrest filed before trial may even be granted.  Sometimes the officer will tell you if you perform well on the test, he’ll let you go.  Don’t you believe that baloney.  He may be unsure of whether he has enough evidence to show probable cause for an arrest and NEEDS the FSEs.  In all likelihood, he’s going to arrest you anyway, so why give him the evidence that will make it easier to convict you?
  • In short, if you are stopped for suspicion of drunk driving, you will almost certainly be arrested.  Don’t panic.  Remain silent.  Don’t do the FSEs. Don’t mouth off or cry in the back of the cruiser.  Don’t beg to be let go, don’t ask if they know who you are (you are just another drunk to them at this point), and by all means don’t drop names of officers or deputies you may know.  That just looks arrogant and desperate—and you are likely being recorded.  
  • You will be taken to a breath testing facility and asked to consent to a breath test.  To blow or not to blow is a touchy subject.  As a DUI attorney, what I can tell you is, a first refusal results in a 12-month administrative license suspension.  However, if it is your first offense, you will be eligible for a business purpose only license immediately.  If you do blow, and are over the limit, you will get a six-month administrative license suspension. Again, if this is your first offense, you can get the immediate BPO license.  (I say “administrative suspension” because there are two parts to your case: the administrative part with the Bureau of Administrative Reviews, and the criminal part in court.  One typically has nothing to do with the other.)  If this is your second or subsequent arrest, you are not eligible for an immediate BPO license.  Instead, you will face a 90-day hard suspension (no driving at all) for a first refusal, or a 30-day hard suspension if you blow over the limit. A second refusal is an independent misdemeanor and will result in an 18-month hard suspension. 
  • Your DUI attorney can challenge the administrative suspension in a review hearing, but you have to file a request for review within 10 days of your arrest.  Also, if this is your first arrest, to get the immediate BPO, you have to file the request with the Bureau of Administrative Reviews within 10 days.  You can just go there and they will see you that day.
  • In sum, if you are arrested, there are a lot of things to do very quickly, and you’ll need a competent DUI attorney.  So call me in St. Petersburg at 727-483-8404 immediately after you are released from jail.

Finding the Right Lawyer for You

If you need a surgeon, you will probably perform extensive research before choosing who will operate on you, which is exactly what you should do before hiring a St. Petersburg DUI attorney. DUI charges are very serious and, depending on your profession, greatly damaging to your career. Health care professionals are particularly at risk because a DUI conviction must be reported to the appropriate board within 30 days.  Depending on the facts, the board my immediately suspend your license until you complete a substance abuse evaluation or, at the least, require an evaluation while continuing to allow you to practice.  The relevant boards take driving under the influence very seriously.  As the Board of Nursing said almost 30 years ago:

The judgment to refrain from dangerous or inappropriate activity when the ability to conduct those activities is impaired is a judgment essential to a nurse. The experience of the Board is that arrests and convictions for DUI are an important indication of an inability to safely practice nursing.

Thus, it is important that your DUI attorney knows not just the immediate consequences of a drunk driving conviction, but the collateral consequences as well.  If you have a professional license, I can handle your DUI as well as any proceedings before the appropriate licensing board.  And, if you are a health care professional, don’t even think of not reporting a conviction. That is an independent violation which will result in disciplinary action. 

Hire a St. Petersburg DUI attorney that knows the law and you can trust to protect your rights and your future. Scott Flint has extensive experience dealing with local law enforcement, administrative agencies, and court officials, and knows exactly what to do to make sure you are treated justly and protected to the greatest extent possible.  

We offer free consultations, so feel free to schedule a time to meet with your DUI attorney at Flint Law Firm of St. Petersburg. We will answer all of your questions, and will be able to advise you on how we can best represent you.

Flint Law Firm

With a skilled St. Petersburg DUI attorney on your side, we will make sure the state proves its case beyond a reasonable doubt if necessary.  However, avoiding a trial if at all possible is a lot less stressful.  You never know what a jury will do.  Scott Flint of St. Petersburg will make sure that your traffic stop was legal and that the police had probable cause to arrest you. He will file any necessary pre-trial motions to get the case dismissed or at least cast enough doubt on the case to convince the state to amend the charge to reckless driving.  At Flint Law, we will do whatever we can to ensure you receive a fair trial and a just outcome.

For more information, or to schedule a free consultation with a St. Petersburg DUI attorney, call us today at 727-483-8404. 

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Contact Details
image 727-483-8404
image 111 2nd Avenue NE, Suite 704
St. Petersburg FL 33701