Any arrest is nerve-wracking, but when it comes to DUI the situation can be especially murky. When stopped at a roadblock or pulled over for a traffic stop and prompted into a DUI investigation, a person is faced with a multitude of options: Should I take a field sobriety test? Which ones? Can I refuse?; Should I take the breath test or refuse? What happens if I don’t?; Should I obey the police? Do I need to? Should I trust them?
All this while wondering about if you’ll be spending the night in jail or your bedroom. Many people in this situation cede control and assume that they are helpless against the police, which simply isn’t true. Whether the police are friendly or pushy, the bottom line is that during a DUI traffic stop a person may refuse any test, but whatever happens during the stop can be used as evidence for or against the defendant (if there is a video of the arrest, and they’re usually is one). Recently, a Florida cop who was falsifying police reports found out this inconvenient truth the hard way.
After pulling someone over for allegedly weaving, the Florida policeman made contact with the defendant. He conferred with his partner and they agreed they couldn’t smell any alcohol. But in his police report, he wrote that he did smell alcohol. In court, the defendant’s lawyer exposed the policeman’s falsification and the case was dismissed. This policeman committed a similar falsification sometime later and was investigated, arrested, and fired. While not every policeman abuses his power as this one did, people need to know that they control the amount of evidence admitted in a DUI investigation. In other words, if you’re caught in an initial DUI investigation, you may not be able to help get arrested, but you can influence your chances of conviction.