There are numerous circumstances that might lead to a driving under the influence (DUI) offense in Florida. For example, if someone causes a crash, police officers will scrutinize them carefully for signs of chemical impairment. Drivers can also get arrested during a sobriety checkpoint where officers stop every vehicle to screen for drunk drivers.
However, most drunk driving arrests involve individual traffic stops. If a law enforcement officer sees someone driving poorly or sees them pull out of a party or concert venue, they may decide to conduct a traffic stop. There is some confusion about what rights a person has during an individual traffic stop based on concerns about impaired driving.
Can the police officer arrest you for a DUI if your driving was fine but you were over the legal limit?
Florida has a set limit for your blood alcohol concentration
The law in Florida is clear about when it is no longer legal to drive. Anyone who gets behind the wheel of a car with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher is in violation of Florida’s drunk driving statutes.
This limit on your BAC is a per se limit. Per se is a legal term that means “by itself.” An officer doesn’t need evidence that the alcohol you consumed negatively affected your driving. Simply exceeding the 0.08% BAC limit is a crime even if the police officer cannot conclusively show that it made you unsafe on the roads.
You don’t have to cross the center line, cause the crash or swerve all over the road to face DUI charges. You simply have to have a BAC over the legal limit when the officer tests you.
How do you respond to a per se DUI charge?
It is arguably more difficult for a driver to defend against a DUI when there is evidence that they drove poorly. When all the officer has against them is a chemical test and allegations that they violated the per se limit, there may be multiple defense options available. Challenging the accuracy of the breath test is likely one of them.
Understanding the DUI laws in Florida can help you prepare the best defense possible for your charges.