Everyone deserves to know their legal rights when they are pulled over. Moreover, it’s important to know these rights if you feel as if they are being encroached on. In the first part of this two-part series, we provided you with some practical advice to follow when you are pulled over by a law enforcement officer. In this section, a DUI defense attorney in Tampa will cover a few important topics you should know about in case you are pulled over.
With smartphone technology, every motorist should have easy access to a high-resolution camera. If you are pulled over, you do have a right to film your interaction with the police officer; however, it’s best to not point the camera directly in their face and start filming. Politely inform the officer that you are turning on the video feature on your phone. The officer may not like this, but they shouldn’t object as they are probably wearing a body camera.
The police officer may ask you to step out your vehicle. It’s best to cooperate as the officer may be asking this for his or her safety. Although you have a legal right to remain in your vehicle without probable cause, you do not want to escalate the situation. If you do obey this command, make sure that you exit your vehicle slowly and close your vehicle’s door behind you. Never directly or indirectly allow the officer access to your vehicle.
You do have a right to refuse a breathalyzer test; however, in the State of Florida this will result in a mandatory suspension of your driver’s license for one year. If you are a first time offender and you fail a breathalyzer test and have a blood alcohol content (BAC) level under 0.16 percent, you may be eligible for the Florida diversion program. However, refusing to blow results in being ineligible for this program. The decision to take a test or not is a judgment call; however, refusing to drink and drive can make this decision much easier.
There are certain circumstances in which a police officer has a right to search your car. The most common reason is probable cause meaning that the officer has observed something that leads them to suspect that you have committed a crime. Similarly, if the officer observes something incriminating in plain view, the officer has a right to search further. Of course, the easiest way for a police officer to avoid any hurdles is to ask if they can search your car. Never give a police officer consent to search your vehicle.
For a free consultation with an experienced DUI defense lawyer 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.