Getting pulled over for driving under the influence in St. Petersburg can be a terrifying experience. Even if you think you haven’t had “that much” to drink, you can never be too sure whether or not you’re above the legal limit. Everyone knows someone who has gotten a DUI, and everyone’s experience is a little different. When it is actually happening to you, it can be extremely intimidating. Between the cop asking questions, the sobriety tests, and panicking about how it is going to turn out, it can be all too easy to say the wrong thing and put yourself in jeopardy.

There are a lot of decisions you will need to make if you get stopped for a DUI. One poor decision could make or break your entire DUI defense. Knowing more about the process ahead of time can help make the decisions easier:

4 mistakes to AVOID if you’re pulled over for driving under the influence

  1. Automatically agree to the Breathalyzer & field sobriety tests. If you have been drinking and are asked to take a Breathalyzer, you can, and often should, decline. In the state of Florida, denying the test will result in an automatic license suspension. If you have not been drinking and know beyond a shadow of doubt that you can pass the test, accept. However if there is even the slightest chance you may be above a BAC of .05%, any St. Petersburg DUI defense lawyer will tell you that your best option may be to deny it. You are also allowed to deny the field sobriety tests (with no automatic license suspension). Because these tests tend to be slightly subjective, it is okay to decline based on nerves, sickness, or another condition.
  2. Try to talk your way out of it. If you get pulled over for a DUI in St. Pete, one of the worst things you can do is try to reason with the cop, convince him you’re sober, make jokes, argue, etc. The more you talk, the more information you reveal, which significantly increases your chances of saying something incriminating (Example: “I couldn’t even do these field sobriety tests if I was sober, Officer!”). Also keep in mind that everything you say and do is being recorded (both video and audio) from the police officer’s cruiser. Anything you say will become part of the legal records. You should be sure to politely say that, if you are being arrested, you would like to wait to answer any questions until your DUI defense lawyer is present.
  3. Assume the entire procedure was carried out correctly. From the arrest affidavit filled out by the officer, to the validity of the test results, you should never assume the paperwork filed is correct. When you hire a DUI defense lawyer, they will advise you to go over the affidavit carefully to see if anything is off in the officer’s report. Assuming you took a breath or urine sample, don’t assume that just because it came up as above the legal limit that you will not be able to argue its validity. There is always room for error and even the smallest indiscretion can help your case. It is worth the time it takes to go over all the details with a fine-tooth comb and seeing what parts you can argue.
  4. Hire an inexperienced DUI defense attorney. We understand that once you are released, the first thing you want to do is get a lawyer. But don’t settle on the first attorney you come across. It will be in your best interest to do a little research and find one that specializes in criminal defense and has more than enough experience with DUI cases in St. Petersburg, Florida.

To get started today with an experienced DUI defense lawyer, give Scott Flint a call at 727-483-8404.

Published in Criminal Defense