Operation Dry Streets: What Florida DUI police don’t need to know this St. Patrick’s Day weekend
The Sheriff’s Office D.U.I. Task Force will join the Florida Sheriff’s Joint Task Force’s D.U.I. operation in “Operation Dry Streets” over the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day holiday weekend.
The goal of the operation “is to improve roadway safety within Broward County through public awareness and enforcement efforts with nightly high-visibility saturation patrols,” BSO said.
Starting Friday, the DUI task forces will also cooperate with the Florida Highway Patrol, Hallandale Police Department, Fort Lauderdale Police Department, Pembroke Pines Police Department, and other municipal law enforcement agencies within Broward County to conduct countywide D.U.I. enforcement operations.
You Can say “No, Thank You” to police if you’re pulled over for DUI during St. Patrick’s Day
If you are pulled over, be as polite to the police as possible - but don’t give them any information. You are NOT required to answer questions about how much you drank, you don’t have to do the sobriety exercises and you don’t even need to take a breathalyzer.
You have the right to remain silent, and can’t be punished for refusing to answer questions. But be sure to tell the officer out loud that you want to remain silent.
If DUI police approach you this St. Patrick’s Day weekend, you can say “No, thanks” to:
- Questions about how much you drank
- Field Sobriety Tests
- A breath test / breathalyzer
- A body and/ or a vehicle search
This St. Patrick’s Day Weekend: Don’t do Field Sobriety Tests
You do not have to do the field sobriety test - the exercises are extremely difficult and sober people often fail. In a DUI investigation, you are not legally required to do anything. There is NO LEGAL PENALTY FOR REFUSING TO DO THE FIELD SOBRIETY EXERCISES in Florida. You won’t lose your driver's license. You have nothing to lose for simply saying "no."
If you refuse to do the exercises, you’ll likely be arrested. But the reality is - if an officer started a DUI investigation already - you’re likely getting arrested no matter what -- whether you do the exercises or not, and even if you complete them very well.
Because there is no legal penalty for refusing field sobriety exercises, it’s in your best interest to just say “no” when the police or DUI officer asks you to do them.
This St. Patrick’s Day Weekend: Don’t Take a Breath test or Breathalyzer
A breathalyzer is a device that police use to analyze a sample of breath to measure your blood alcohol content. If the results come back as .08 or higher, you are presumed to be impaired by alcohol.
YOU DO NOT NEED TO TAKE A BREATH TEST!
If police think you’re drunk, they’ll arrest you even without a breathalyzer test. If you take the test, and blow below a 0.08, they may still arrest you anyway. Don’t freely give away any information that could be incriminating.
Consequence of NOT taking a breath test:
Police will suspend your driver’s license for a year. But, this is a much better alternative than jail time. If you act quickly - within 10 days of your arrest - you can get a temporary hardship license for the entire period of your license suspension. If this is your second time refusing a breath test, things get a little more complicated and you can (unfortunately) be charged with an additional crime in Florida.
This St. Patrick’s Day Weekend: Don’t Allow police to do a Body and/or Vehicle Search
If a cop asks to search your body or your car, you can deny the request. Police generally need a warrant to search you or your property. During a traffic stop, however, rules are a bit different. Police only then need probable cause to search your car. This means police need more than a hunch - police need to have some facts or evidence to believe you’re involved in criminal activity to legally search your car.
A New Danger: Texting and driving became a primary offense in 2019
Back in July 2019, a new Florida Law made texting and driving a primary offense - this means police officers can now pull you over for just texting. In the past, you’d have to commit a specific traffic violation before being stopped and pulled over by law enforcement in Florida.
As South Florida DUI and criminal defense attorneys, one of our concerns with this law is that it may allow for police to pull someone over citing the reason as “texting,” even if it’s not truly the case. There’s no real way to prove someone was on their phone at the time they were pulled over, so it gets murky pretty quickly.
This could potentially turn into a rouse to pull people over and start late night DUI investigations, leading to the illegal arrests of hundreds of people.
With the increased DUI enforcement this St. Patrick’s Day weekend in Fort Lauderdale and Broward County - be aware that getting pulled over for texting and driving is another way cops might try to initiate a DUI investigation.
For more information on how to protect yourself if pulled over for texting and driving, check out our past blog. (P.S. you can politely decline a search of your phone as well - police need a warrant to access your device.)
For more DUI questions answered, visit our DUI FAQs.
If you're arrested for DUI over the St. Patrick's Day holiday ...
You're going to need a DUI attorney you can trust. Schedule a free strategy session with Adam or Manny at Rossen Law Firm to learn about how we'll fight your DUI charge and protect your rights. Remember, taking action within 10 days of your arrest is important if you want to keep your driver's license.