DUI Attorneys in Lake City
How to handle a DUI charge
It is no secret that the legislature and law enforcement are getting tougher and tougher on drunk drivers. Unfortunately, while well-intentioned, stepped-up efforts often trample on your rights. In particular, there are questions about DUI checkpoints that are set up in the area — such as on I-10 at the Columbia County/Baker County border.
Whether you are stopped at one of these checkpoints or not, your rights are at risk. The DUI lawyers at Lake City’s law firm of Robinson, Kennon & Kendron, P.A. stand ready to provide a vigorous defense for residents, students or tourists charged with a DUI anywhere in North Central Florida. If you have been stopped, it is in your best interest to contact an attorney as soon as possible by calling 844.210.0025.
Remember, the best advice is to never drink and drive, but all drivers should be aware of their rights and should know what to do if stopped on suspicion drunk driving.
Carefully pull over into a safe location
Erratic or unusual driving behavior is the first of main four categories of evidence we will discuss that the government is looking for to convict someone of DUI. Never try to evade the police. Pull off to the side of the street in the safest location possible. Do so carefully and steadily — if you are suspected of being intoxicated, even the appearance of unsteady driving, swerving or sudden braking can have a negative effect on your defense. The officer will be observing your behavior and, chances are, may have a video recording of your driving behavior.
When asked, present your driver’s license, vehicle registration and insurance ID
This is information the police are allowed to request, and that you are expected to present. Be polite. You do not have to answer any questions – especially potentially incriminating questions, such as whether you have been drinking. You have the right to remain silent, and it is usually in your best interest to do so. The warning “anything you say can and will be held against you” is true – if you make a statement to the officer, you can expect it to end up in their report, and ultimately used at trial. Any questions should be addressed to your criminal defense lawyers in Lake City. Pre-arrest “admissions” are the second of the four main categories of evidence that police are trying to gather to convict you.
The field sobriety exercises
The third main category of evidence is not what you say, but what you do. You are not obligated to take a roadside sobriety test, or “field sobriety exercises”. You may have heard of some of these exercises, such as the finger-to-nose exercise, walking a straight line, and saying your ABCs. These exercises are not scientific tests – they are often inaccurate, and they give the officer who has pulled you over a chance to fill out his or her DUI report based upon his subjective observations. If you decline these exercises, you deny the government their opportunity to mistake any innocent behavior for incriminating behavior.
The last main category of evidence in a DUI case is one that can be very complicated – chemical evidence. In Florida, there is an “implied consent” law. That means that by driving in this state, you consent to a chemical test of your breath or blood upon a lawful arrest upon suspicion of driving under the influence. If the arrest is lawful and you refuse to take the “breathalyzer” breath test, your license will be suspended for at least six months. One reason that some people choose not to take the breathalyzer or other chemical test is that the government will not have a very important piece of scientific evidence to use against you. Whether you choose to consent to these tests or not, the criminal defense lawyers at Robinson, Kennon & Kendron will fight their admission in Court at every turn.
Contact an experienced DUI lawyer in Lake City
Whether you were stopped in Lake City or Live Oak, in Columbia County or any of the 16 counties that comprise North Central Florida, the sooner you retain experienced counsel, the better your chance of having your DUI charges dropped or reduced. A DUI on your record can cost you your driver’s license, your livelihood and your standing in the community. Do not delay in contacting a lawyer to protect your rights.