A DUI stop in Florida will likely result in an arrest. If you’ve been stopped by police and they suspect you’ve been drinking, you’re most likely going to get arrested. When the police approach a vehicle whose driver is suspected of driving while impaired, the officer(s) are looking for more corroborating evidence. If they smell alcohol in the car, on your breath, or on your person, that’s another nail in your coffin. If they determine your eyes are watery or bloodshot, that’s another indicator for the police.
Yet, these suspicions aren’t enough for a conviction. Just because the police may smell alcohol, it doesn’t mean they can legally draw the conclusion you’re impaired. Your eyes may be watery or red for other reasons as well. This is all circumstantial evidence at best and can be defended by an experienced Florida DUI lawyer.
More importantly, the field sobriety exercises may be improperly administered skewing the results. I know a man whose had a hip replaced, had back surgery, and has two bad knees. He couldn’t pass a field sobriety exercise completely sober.
If you’re administered a breathalyzer using a portable breath testing machine, the results may be wildly inaccurate. In fact, Florida law generally prohibits the use of portable breath testing results as evidence at trial in a DUI case. Even the larger breathalyzer machines administered after your arrest have been shown to be inaccurate as they may be affected by other chemicals in your body. The breath test does not provide the reliable results it claims to provide. It can often read out false results on the basis of conditions like acid reflux disease, diabetes, or when a person has belched in the preceding 20 minutes. Likewise, the test is sensitive to bodily conditions and short-term illnesses that will raise the blood alcohol level above what it should be. There are a number of issues concerning breathalyzer testing that an experienced DUI lawyer will attack in court:
- The arresting officer improperly administered the Breathalyzer.
- The breath test device was not calibrated properly according to DUI protocol to be reliably accurate.
- The driver may have a health or complicated medical issue which may have affected the breath test from reading the BAC levels properly.
- The Breathalyzer was not properly maintained according to DUI laws for testing policies, and/or could have given a falsely high BAC reading.
A DUI arrest is a harrowing and costly experience but it isn’t a conviction. While the police and prosecutor will approach your case presuming your guilt. Fortunately, that is not how the Florida criminal justice system. Police and prosecutors have to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.