If you are pulled over and the police believe you are driving under the influence (DUI), you will be arrested and charged with a serious crime. Even if you are a first-time offender, you may pay thousands of dollars in fines, perform 50 hours of community service, and have your driver’s license suspended for at least six months. Depending on the significance of the crime, there may be other serious criminal penalties including jail time.
In this brief article, a DUI attorney in Tampa will discuss three ways that motorists can actually be arrested for a DUI-related crime even if they were not consuming alcohol.
If pulled over with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher, this is considered legally impaired and will result in the driver’s arrest. In some cases, a driver can be charged with a DUI if they were not impaired or operating a motor vehicle. Here are a few laws related to these types of DUIs:
Marijuana DUI: Drivers do not have to consume alcohol to be charged with a DUI. If a driver is suspected to be under the influence of a chemical or controlled substance, they may be required to submit to additional testing including a urine or blood test. For marijuana-related arrests, during a traffic stop, law enforcement may claim that the driver had bloodshot eyes or that they could smell the substance coming from the vehicle and demand to search the vehicle. A DUI defense lawyer in Tampa knows the laws related to search and seizures.
Refusal to Take a Breathalyzer: A BAC level is usually determined after law enforcement administers a breathalyzer test. Many motorists refuse to take a sobriety test for a variety of reasons. Although the decision is entirely up to the driver, refusing a test will result in a suspended license for at least one year. Refusal to take a sobriety test is considered legally admissible evidence that can be used by the prosecution in criminal proceedings.
Actual Physical Control: As DUI laws can be extremely complex, a person can be charged with a DUI that was never observed operating a vehicle. An officer can assess a situation and determine whether or not they believe the suspect was in “actual physical control” of the vehicle. For example, if a suspect is found sleeping in their vehicle on the side of the road, the officer can evaluate everything from where the vehicle was parked to where the keys were located to any other evidence of intoxication. In many cases, a nervous or groggy suspect is wrongfully detained because they were believed to be under the influence.
Even if you have not consumed a drop of alcohol, you can be charged with a DUI crime in which case you will require the assistance of an experienced DUI defense lawyer in Tampa who can provide you with knowledgeable and aggressive defense.
For a free consultation with a DUI attorney in Tampa, please contact The Rickman Law Firm today.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.