A man in was arrested for DUI in New Port Richey, Florida recently. Jon Baker was pulled over by the police around 2:00 a.m. after an anonymous tipster called police to report an erratic driver. When asked for his driver’s license, Baker allegedly, after looking for a while, gave the police officer his bank debit card and a batteries. At that point, the police officer asked Baker to get out of his car and the car allegedly began moving backwards, as if the car was not in “park”. He allegedly refused to participate in the field sobriety exercises and allegedly refused to blow into the breathilizer.
As a Jacksonville DUI Attorney, I have represented thousands of people charged with Driving Under the Influence in Duval, Clay, Nassau, and St. Johns Counties. When analyzing a DUI arrest in Jacksonville, the first thing I examine is the reason for the traffic stop. Often times, the officer will testify that the car was speeding or weaving. In Baker’s case, the police found him after an anonymous tipster called police. Under Florida law, the officer has to observe some independent act by the driver that confirms the anonymous tipster’s information. If independent police verification was not required, anyone could call the police on anyone and the officer could pull over people for no reason.
Once an officer makes contact with a potential DUI suspect in Jacksonville, they are looking for clues of impairment. The things they look for are slurred speech, red and watery eyes, the odor of alcohol coming from the breath or person, and delayed reactions. When an officer asks you for your driver’s license and registration, they watch to see if you find it in a timely manner. If you, as Baker did, give the officer anything other than your license and registration, the officer will note that as a clue of your impairment.
If the DUI officer develops “reasonable suspicion” to believe you are driving while under the influence, he or she can ask you to perform the field sobriety exercises. These are abnormal exercises used to test your “normal” faculties, such as walking heel to toe on a line and standing on one leg for 30 seconds. It is your right to refuse to perform these exercises. The DUI officers have extensive training and have performed these exercises over and over again. As a first-time Jacksonville DUI suspect, this is the first time you have ever been asked to do these tests. If you refuse to perform the field sobriety exercises, you will most likely be arrested for DUI.
Once you are arrested for DUI in Jacksonville, you will be asked to blow into the breathilizer. It is you right to also refuse this machine test. Many people don’t realize that if you blow .000, you are still under arrest for Driving Under the Influence. You will be asked to give a urine sample to be tested for drugs. You will have to bond out of jail and will be fighting a DUI charge in Duval.