For many people, their first and only negative interaction with a Police Officer in or around Delray Beach is when they are under suspicion of DUI. It is understandable that you may be disoriented or frightened during this process. After all, it is the Police Officer’s job to gather evidence against you when they suspect that a crime has occurred, and DUI is certainly a crime.
It is important to understand the DUI arrest process in Delray Beach. This can help people to exercise their Constitutional rights, prevent them from providing incriminating evidence to the police, and increase their chances of a successful outcome in Court. Get in touch with one of our Attorneys at Leifert & Leifert for more information.
What Happens After a Police Officer Stops a Vehicle?
Driving in Delray Beach is a privilege. Even once a person obtains a license, they must follow the rules of the road to exercise their ability to drive. Every law that governs safe driving in Delray Beach exists to protect drivers, passengers, pedestrians and the general public. The State’s prohibition on drunk driving is an essential part of its responsibility to ensure public safety.
If a Police Officer thinks that a driver has violated a rule of the road, they have the authority to perform a stop. At this point, the Officer may observe the driver for signs of impairment. If a Police Officer has a reasonable suspicion based on articulable facts that a driver may be impaired, they have the lawful authority to make an arrest. This arrest may be the product of any of the following:
- Erratic driving
- The smell of alcohol
- Bloodshot eyes
- The results of a field sobriety test
One or all of these factors (plus others) can justify an arrest. If you are arrested, the Officer must transport you to the closest Breath Alcohol Testing Facility or B.A.T. for a chemical test of your breath, blood or urine.
The Booking Process and Observation Period
The arrest is not the only opportunity for a Police Officer to gather evidence concerning a suspected DUI. To strengthen their case, Officers will want to obtain scientific evidence of supposed impairment. They can do this because of the state’s implied consent law. Under Florida Statute § 316.1932, all drivers give their implied consent to submit to a breath, urine, or blood test if a Police Officer has probable cause to believe that a DUI has occurred. This does not mean that a driver must submit to this test. However, a refusal to do so will result in a mandatory period of license suspension. If a driver does consent to the test, the Officer must keep the driver under observation for at least 20 minutes before administering the test.
Once the test is complete, or a person refuses to submit to the test, the booking process takes place. Here, an Officer will take a person’s identifying information, such as name, birthday, and address. They will also take a mug shot, inventory an individual’s belongings, and take fingerprints. Once this is complete, a person waits in a holding cell for at least eight (8) hours or until their first court appearance, depending on the specific charges and circumstances. If the only charge is a DUI, you should be released after hours from the time of arrest or until you are no longer impaired and are safe to be released.
The Concept of Bail
The next important step in the arrest process is the assignment of bail. Most DUI first arrestees are released without having to post any bail. All people suspected of DUI enjoy the right to bail, but the means to obtain this cash will vary. Some people will call a friend or relative to provide cash at the police station. Others will hire a bail bond service to fund their release. If this occurs, a driver leaves the jail with a date for their first court appearance.
If a driver cannot provide bail, the first court hearing is known as the first appearance. Here, a judge will review the case file to determine if the Police Officer had the right to make an arrest. If so, that judge will set a bail amount that will be online with the charge(s), history, danger to the community as well as your likelihood to come back to Court. Once released you will have to promise to appear at your next Court date or your bond will be forfeited and a warrant will be issued for your failure to appear.
The DUI Arrest Process in Delray Beach Can be Complicated
From an initial arrest that happens by the side of the road, to what happens at the police station, to the legal procedures during booking, release or during a first appearance, it is easy to become confused about the DUI arrest process in Delray Beach. The fact is that Police Officers and Judges need to follow strict procedures during every step of the process. Understanding this process can help you protect your rights, your defense and your reputation.
In short, never provide any unnecessary information to the Police Officer. Only provide a name, address, or other personal identifying information. All people have the right to refuse to take field sobriety tests or a breathalyzer test. However, be aware that a first refusal to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test will likely result in a license suspension. A second or subsequent refusal is a Misdemeanor in Florida. Even so, refusing the test can boost the chances of a successful outcome at trial. An Attorney at Leifert & Leifert could provide more information about the DUI arrest process in Delray Beach.