Celebrity’s Arrest Shows What Not to do When Pulled Over for DUI
Laurence Fishburne may be well known for his role in “The Matrix” movies, but his daughter was the one making headlines in a recent incident in Fort Lauderdale. The Palm Beach Post reported that Ms. Fishburne created quite a spectacle when she was detained for drunk driving after crashing into an SUV on Interstate 95 recently. Asked to perform field sobriety tests, she danced and urinated on a guardrail before blowing twice the legal alcohol limit under Florida law. Ms. Fishburne’s arrest demonstrates that there’s a right way to act when you’re pulled over for drunk driving – and definitely a wrong way. Here are the Do’s and Don’ts you need to know if you’re stopped for DUI in Florida.
Do Pull Over Safely
As soon as you see the police lights flashing, pull your vehicle over to the side of the road in a safe place. Avoid erratic moves and any maneuvers that might count as an additional traffic violation.
Don’t Offer Incriminating Information
You may be aware of the reasons an officer pulled you over, perhaps for running a red light or failing to fully stop at a sign. However, you shouldn’t offer any information through testimony. Police need to do their jobs, but you don’t need to provide them with evidence they need to convict you.
Do Be Polite and Respectful
At all times during a traffic stop, show respect and be polite to the officer that detained you. You can’t risk making things worse by becoming belligerent, argumentative, or aggressive toward law enforcement.
Don’t Do a Breathalyzer or Field Sobriety Tests at the Scene
Many people assume that they must perform field sobriety tests (FSTs) or submit to a breathalyzer exam when pulled over. However, you are not legally bound to do either of these.
The results of FSTs like walk-and-turn, reciting the alphabet backwards, or the horizontal gaze nystagmus test can be used as proof of probable cause for the officer to make an arrest; they can also be used as evidence against you in court. The problem is that there is no true “pass” or “fail” for these tests. The officer’s subjective opinion decides whether you pass or fail.
Also, you should decline to do a roadside portable breath analyzer because these devices are notoriously inaccurate. In truth, the results are not admissible in court for purposes of proving your blood alcohol content – though they can be used for purposes of proving probable cause.
Consult with a Florida DUI Lawyer About Your Options
Even if you’re guilty of failing in some of these Do’s and Don’ts if pulled over for drunk driving, that doesn’t mean you’re guilty of DUI. You do have options to present a defense, but you’ll need an attorney with in-depth knowledge of how to fight the charges. If you’ve been charged with DUI, please contact the Fort Lauderdale offices of attorney Kevin J. Kulik. We can answer your questions or set up a free consultation to discuss the details of your matter.