DUI: Drunk vs. Under the Influence

Driving under the influence generally refers to a person who has physical control of a vehicle while that person’s normal faculties are impaired by any type of drug, including alcohol and prescription medication.

Under Florida State Statute 316.193, being under the influence pertains to both alcohol and drugs. Therefore, if you are under the influence of drugs and are in actual physical control of a vehicle, you can potentially be charged with a DUI.

In Florida, a blood alcohol level of .08 or more constitutes alcohol impairment beyond the legal limit. However, a police officer may still arrest you for a lower blood alcohol concentration (BAC) if they suspect that your normal faculties are impaired while operating a motor vehicle. Having a BAC under a .08 will increase your chances of overcoming the DUI conviction, but you may still be arrested and endure several hassles that go along with combating a DUI charge.

Police officers will pull drivers over for a number of traffic offenses, even minor ones, and initiate immediate conversation to determine the potential impairment of the driver. To assess the physical signs of impairment, Police will be looking for the ability to maintain eye contact, slurred speech, the smell of alcohol on a driver’s breath, or bloodshot eyes.

Know that your behavior once you’re pulled over is being scrutinized immediately, especially when pulled over late in the evening or after leaving a bar. Therefore, being polite, answering questions respectfully, and not making legal arguments is in your best interest.

While it is your right to not answer any questions without a lawyer present, not doing so will certainly raise the officer’s suspicion and they will likely investigate further. It is wise to answer questions vaguely and avoid delving into specifics, including any amount of alcohol you have consumed, or that you just left a party, bar, or football game.

If the Police are suspicious, they will tell you to exit the vehicle, and you must. However, you may refuse to submit to any sobriety tests conducted. Even if you think you can pass the sobriety exercises, it is likely in your best interest to politely refuse because the officer determines whether you passed based solely on their own judgment. Know that you always have the right to contact Tampa Criminal attorney before you submit to any test.

If you are charged with DUI, it is important to seek legal counsel immediately! Call Blick Law Firm today at 813-931-0840. Make an appointment for a free 15 minute consultation with attorney Michael Blickensderfer to determine what your options are moving forward. Attorney, Michael Blickensderfer has 25 year’s legal experience and is licensed in Florida, New York and New Jersey. Blick Law Firm seeks to help the hurting and those in need. Think quick, call Blick!

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