In prosecuting DUI cases, the State of Florida focuses on certain factors or clues to try and prove a person is DUI. There is no one factor that establishes a person is DUI, but rather law enforcement looks to observe and identify as many factors as possible when investigating a DUI. Some factors or clues are:
Driving: Did you swerve, drive erratically, cause an accident, fall asleep at the wheel, fail to stop at a stop sign, etc. The State will rely on driving indicators of impairment to try and build a DUI case against you.
Appearance and Behavior: Once stopped, the officer will examine how you looked, acted, and behaved. Do you have bloodshot and/or glassy eyes, slurred speech, and/or lethargic movements? Are you giving inappropriate answers? Do you look disheveled? An officer will note if the suspect can produce the necessary documents – driver’s license, proof of registration, and insurance in a timely and coordinated manner.
Statements: Nothing is more damaging to your defense than your own incriminating statements (i.e.admitting that you drank alcohol, the amount of alcohol you drank, and that you are impaired by the alcohol). YOU HAVE AN ABSOLUTE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT. You do not need to answer the officer’s questions. Although, your silence may make the officer angry, it will protect you by not giving the officer and the prosecutor additional evidence to use against you later in Court.
Field Sobriety Exercises (FSE): If the officer suspects you of being DUI, you will be asked to perform the FSEs to “dispel” the officer’s opinion that you may be impaired. However, it is virtually impossible to successfully complete all the FSEs. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE TO PERFORM THE FSEs. Although the officer will say that your refusal will be held against you in court, if you perform poorly this will have a devastating impact on your case.