DUI Traffic Stops in Tampa, Florida
DUI Attorneys Representing Tampa Drivers
Despite popular belief, a police officer is not able to pull over a driver without reason. There are specific guidelines that govern the actions of police. If they do not abide by them, their arrest could be considered unlawful and therefore invalid. To pull over a driver, an officer must have “reasonable suspicion.” Having a “reasonable suspicion” means your officer has reason to suspect you were committing a crime or traffic violation. Reasonable suspicion is a lower standard than probable cause, which is what an officer must establish in order to search your vehicle or make an arrest.
Common grounds for reasonable suspicion typically involve:
- Speeding above the limit
- Driving with broken lights
- Having unrepaired body damage
- Failing to use turn signals
- Unsafe lane changes
- Expired license plates
- Having a loud exhaust
- Failing to abide by all traffic signs
If they observed something of this nature, they would have lawful grounds to perform a traffic stop. If, however, they did fabricate an excuse to perform the DUI traffic stop, you could challenge the arrest and could work to get the charges dismissed or the penalties greatly reduced.
Contact our experienced Tampa DUI attorneys for a free case review: (813) 321-7323!
What to Do If You Are Stopped for DUI
One of the trickiest areas associated with DUI is what to do if pulled over for suspected drunk driving. What should you say? What shouldn't you say? Do you have to agree to field sobriety testing? What happens if you refuse a roadside breath test? Just as with any criminal case, you have legal rights if you are pulled over by a police officer who believes you are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Exercising your rights to the fullest extent is one of the most important things you can do to limit the evidence the officer is able to gather against you.
The following are some helpful tips regarding your rights in the event of a traffic stop for DUI:
You Have the Right to Remain Silent.
You are not obligated to answer any questions about where you were going, how much you have had to drink, etc. You must provide your license and registration when asked, but you do not have to answer any other questions. At this point, the officer is simply trying to ascertain whether you are intoxicated. Any statements you make may be used against you in court. It is best to politely refuse questions of this nature.
Remain Calm & Be Polite When Dealing with the Officer
Being rude or disrespectful to a police officer is never a good idea. The worst thing you can do is attempt to evade a police officer when you see sirens. Pull over, remain calm and be polite while communicating with the officer. If you are arrested, do not resist. Verbal or physical resistance can result in additional criminal charges for resisting arrest. You can always contest your arrest later, but not in the moment.
Fleeing & Eluding
According to the §316.1935 of the Florida Statutes, the failure to stop or remain stopped upon order of a police officer is against the law. Fleeing and eluding is a serious criminal offense with felony penalties that include license revocation. In the past, fleeing was considered a misdemeanor unless the defendant was part of a high-speed chase or there were other aggravating factors in the case. Criminal penalties relating to eluding include imprisonment for a minimum of three years, and a minimum of a one-year license suspension.
Contact our Tampa DUI Defense Attorneys!
The attorneys at Thomas & Paulk will investigate your case to determine possible defense strategies. We will look at your case from every angle to determine whether the arresting officer had a sufficient reason to pull you over. If we are able to challenge the lawfulness of the initial stop, this may have a domino effect on the rest of your case, resulting in a dismissal of your case. For a confidential review of your case, speak with one of our experienced attorneys. We will be happy to discuss the different options available for your specific case.
Contact our Tampa DUI defense attorneys today for a free case review: (813) 321-7323!
Drunk driving cases may or many not require a formal trial. We discuss what most can expect in terms of the process and duration of their DUI case.
At Thomas & Paulk, one of our primary focuses is on the defense of DUI charges. In fact, we are recognized throughout the Tampa area as one of the premier DUI defense law firms. Our team is well-versed in this area of the law and has a wide-expanse of experience in helping our clients fight against such charges.
It doesn’t matter if this is your first offense or your third, you can count on our firm to have the experience to protect your legal rights. Often, our defense starts with recounting with you how the police officer came to stop you in the first place and how he or she came to believe you may be under the influence of alcohol. If the stop was illegal, or the tests were improperly administered, we may be able to argue for the dismissal of that evidence in court, helping your chances of a dropped charge.
The important thing is that you act quickly. Criminal cases involving charges of drinking and driving are serious and they can move fast. You cannot afford to wait or ignore your charges. You need a legal professional on your side who truly understands what you're facing so that they can offer you experience counsel and sound advice. To learn more about how a lawyer like this can assist with your case, we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible. Call our Tampa DUI defense attorneys at Thomas & Paulk today to schedule an initial consultation. This is a completely free, confidential appointment for you to tell us your side of the story.
If you're arrested for DUI, you only have 10 days to schedule a DMV hearing where you can fight to save your license.
A blood alcohol reading of 0.15% or more can warrant an aggravated DUI charge with harsher penalties.
Each year, Hillsborough County issues around 4,000 DUI citations. Out of these, more than 3,000 are found guilty.
Per Florida's zero-tolerance policy, anyone under the age of 21 who tests positive for any measurable blood alcohol can be charged with DUI.