You Got Arrested for West Palm Beach DUI. Now What? 561-802-8987
You had a few drinks. You got stopped by the police. A few minutes later, they arrested you on a Florida DUI charge. You submitted to a blood or breath alcohol test. You got released from jail with a citation to appear in court at a later date. What should you do now?
As West Palm Beach DUI attorneys, our job is to collect favorable evidence and to help you in an attempt to keep the DUI off your record and to save your driver’s license. Along those lines, you can take steps to help us build and prepare your defense. In the sections below, we discuss 10 of these steps and how they may help bolster your West Palm Beach DUI defense.
1. Talk to Someone Soon After the Drunk Driving Arrest
Contact a friend, acquaintance or family member as soon after the West Palm Beach DUI arrest as possible. Let them hear your voice, your speech and your thought process. Ideally, it’s best to call them from jail as soon as you get booked.
The DUI officers will likely claim that your speech was “mumbled” and “slurred”, and that your thinking ability was “slow” and “confused.” But this may be an exaggeration stemming from the officers’ bias and their desire to build a case against you.
Your friends or family may have a very different impression. They may recall that you seemed alert and coherent and that your speech was completely normal. If so, they may become important witnesses as to your lack of alcohol impairment.
2. Make a Detailed Itinerary of Your Eating and Drinking Pattern
It’s going to be particularly important for you and your West Palm Beach DUI Attorney to put together a timeline of events as to what you ate and drank in the hours preceding the arrest. This itinerary aids your Florida drunk driving case in a number of ways.
First, you may have still been absorbing the alcohol at the time of the traffic stop. If so, your BAC may have been considerably lower at the time of driving than when you later took the blood or breath test. With an accurate timeline of what you drank and when you drank it, our toxicologists can often extrapolate what your BAC would have been at the time of driving.
Second, your West Palm Beach DUI lawyer wants to know whether your alleged BAC “matches” the drinking pattern. Suppose you drank one martini and one glass of wine. Yet you “blow” a .13 on the Intoxilyzer 5000. There’s simply no way that such a small amount of alcohol could get you to such a high BAC level. In a case like this, we know something must have gone wrong with the breath testing process—and that the reading must be falsely high.
3. Keep Receipts for Alcohol & Food Purchases Prior to the DUI Arrest
We want to establish an accurate itinerary of what, when and where you drank and ate prior to the West Palm Beach DUI arrest. But to prove it in court, we need as much documentation and corroboration as possible. One effective way to prove this is to save (or go back and get) receipts for any alcohol or food you purchased.
Credit card receipts or statements can be of some use. But the best is to get receipts from the establishment. These receipts should itemize what was purchased and when.
4. Discuss Your Case With an Experienced West Palm Beach DUI Attorney
Defending a drunk driving case is complicated. You must know principles of biology, alcohol physiology, the flaws of the breath machine and blood testing process, roadside police investigation procedures, Florida DUI laws, and the bureaucracy of the local court system.
You would no more want to attempt this yourself than you would want to perform major surgery on yourself. It’s simply too important, there’s too much at stake, and the process is too difficult.
You should visit a West Palm Beach DUI lawyer as soon after the drunk driving arrest as possible. Right after the event, the details are still fresh in your mind and most of the potential evidence is still available. This is the point at which a Florida DUI attorney can be most effective in helping you prepare the defense.
5. Get Evaluated for GERD & Other Stomach Conditions
Suffering from GERD, acid reflux or heartburn may cause serious errors on DUI breath tests. The machine may give a falsely high reading, one that does not reflect your true blood alcohol level. If you took a breath test in connection with a Florida drunk driving arrest, and you suffer from these conditions, be sure to discuss this fact with your West Palm Beach DUI attorney.
Many people suffer from GERD but have never been diagnosed or treated. Many sufferers don’t understand the consequences of the condition or the treatment options.
For our West Palm Beach DUI clients who experience symptoms of GERD but have never seen a doctor for it, we always recommend a medical evaluation. If we discover that you indeed have the condition, your doctor can prescribe treatment. Moreover, we may be able to use the issue on defending the drunk driving case.
6. See Your Dentist
Another issue that may cause falsely high readings on the DUI breath test is dental conditions. Cavities, gingivitis, food impactions and dental pockets can all create a problem called “residual mouth alcohol” This contaminates the breath sample, leading to erroneously high readings. If you suspect you have any of these conditions, discuss it with your West Palm Beach DUI defense attorney. We will recommend a complete dental evaluation.
7. Notate Any Recent Exposure to Certain Chemicals That May Contaminate the DUI Breath Testing Process
Recent exposure to certain chemicals and industrial compounds may also contaminate the breath alcohol testing. This too can lead to errors and falsely high readings. Among the culprits are paints, paint removers, glues, cements, adhesives, varnishes and solvents. Once ingested, these substances can linger on your breath for days.
DUI breath machines can “mistake” these chemicals for alcohol, leading to high BAC readings for those who drank little or no spirits. West Palm Beach DUI suspects who work in construction or manufacturing should pay particular attention to this issue.
8. Visit the Scene of the West Palm Beach DUI Arrest
Visiting the scene of the traffic stop can often be very useful. If you have a West Palm Beach DUI lawyer, bring him or her along. We want to pay special attention to the lighting and the surface conditions where you performed the field sobriety tests. Was the area poorly lit, on a grade or slope, uneven, slippery, wet, rocky, gravely or patchy? Adverse conditions can make it difficult for even the most sober person to perform these exercises.
9. Talk to Any Potential “Sobriety Witnesses”
If you had passengers in the car when you got stopped, or you were with company shortly before the DUI arrest, talk to these people right away. Ask them questions. Did I appear drunk to you? How was my driving? Was my speech slurred? Was I alert and coherent? Was there anything that suggested to you that I was too intoxicated to drive?
Your friends may say that you were alert, sharp, speaking and driving normally. If so, your Florida DUI attorney will want to collect statements from these witnesses. We may even want them to testify later at a hearing or trial. They can help contradict the cops’ contention that you appeared and acted like a drunk person.
10. Be Sure or Your DUI Attorney Contacts the Florida DMV Within 10 days
In breath test cases, Florida DUI law gives you 10 days from the arrest to contact the Florida DMV and request a hearing to contest the license suspension. In blood test cases, this deadline doesn’t apply until the blood results return from the laboratory. If you fail to request the Florida DMV hearing, you may forfeit your right to challenge the suspension and your license may get suspended automatically.
If you hire a West Palm Beach drunk driving lawyer within this period, your attorney can contact the DMV and make these arrangements on your behalf. Whether you or your DUI attorney contact the DMV, make certain that it gets done. Don’t forgo the opportunity to have a DMV hearing. Not only could the hearing potentially save your driving privileges, it also can be a forum for preparing your DUI case for court.