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What NOT to do during a DUI stop in Tampa

The most obvious way to avoid the consequences of a DUI is to not drink and drive. But, in reality, you don't have to be drunk to be arrested and convicted of drunk driving. In fact, many Tampa drivers who are not impaired make crucial mistakes that lead to their arrest and/or eventual conviction.

Here are five common mistakes to avoid:

1. DO NOT agree to take a breathalyzer test unless you have had only one drink or less. Unless you are sure that you are under the legal limit to drive, which is .08 in the state of Florida, then you should refuse breathalyzer testing. The penalty for refusing to take a breathalyzer test in Florida is a mandatory license suspension, but this is something that your defense lawyer can help you with.

2. DO NOT attempt to talk your way out of being arrested. Many people try to act like their own defense lawyers by making arguments about the stop or getting mouthy with the police officer. This is a huge mistake and almost always leads to an arrest, even in cases where the driver might not actually be impaired. It's best to only speak when answering questions and avoid volunteering any information.

3. DO NOT get out of the vehicle. If there is one sure way to anger a police officer it's by getting out of the vehicle during a traffic stop without being asked. You want the process to go as quickly and as smoothly as possible, so instead of getting out of the car,

  1. turn off the engine,
  2. turn on the interior lights if it is dark out,
  3. get your license and registration ready, and
  4. keep your hands visible on the steering wheel.

4. DO NOT admit to drinking. Police officers routinely ask people suspected of drunk driving how much they have had to drink, and people often respond with "a couple with dinner" or "a few at the bar." Any information you provide will be used against you, which is why it's best to exercise your right to remain silent or say that you can't remember.

5. DO NOT hesitate to call an attorney. Time is of the essence in a DUI case, and you must act quickly if you want to keep your driver's license and avoid the most serious consequences of a DUI, including jail time, hefty fines and mandatory ignition interlock device installation.

To achieve the best outcome in your case, you need your lawyer to begin protecting your future as soon as possible. For example, your lawyer may be able to get you a hardship license so you can get to and from work, but this has to happen within 10 days of the arrest.

Talk to me for more information on reaching the best possible outcome in a DUI case.

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