Miami DUI Arrests Down Overall, But Defense Lawyers Expect a Spike on New Year’s Eve

Some are crediting the presence of ride share companies like Uber and Lyft (also referred to as transportation network companies, or TNCs) with driving down the number of DUI arrests and crashes in Miami. The City of Miami reported Miami DUI arrests dropped by nearly one-third over the last four years. Miami-Dade Police report DUI arrests are down a stunning 65 percent in the same period. While roughly 1,500 DUI arrests made annually between 2013 and 2015, The Miami Herald reports DUI arrests clocked in just shy of 600 last year.Miami DUI defense attorney

Miami DUI arrest lawyers know that while it’s true many are increasingly relying on ride share services, we nonetheless see a spike of DUI collisions and traffic stops on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, long noted to be one of the booziest of the year. Annually at the end-of-year holidays, the Florida Highway Patrol steps up its, “Drive sober or get pulled over,” campaign, specifically aiming at drivers under the influence of alcohol and/ or drugs.

Even if it’s your first drunk driving arrest in Florida – or your first arrest ever – you can expect it will cause you grief personally, professionally and, of course, legally. Limiting your statements to investigating officers is wise until you have spoken with a Miami criminal defense lawyer – a fact you will want to state calmly but firmly to police who try to question you about where you have been, where you’re headed, what alcohol you have consumed or even whether you have. Blood-alcohol or breath-alcohol tests are compulsory under Florida’s implied consent law, and if you do refuse, it will mean an automatic one-year license suspension. 

Another potential issue about which to be aware is law enforcement officers’ heightened awareness of drug-impaired driving, particularly involving opioids and marijuana – especially after Florida’s medical marijuana law passed in the 2016 election. Unlike alcohol though, there is no science-based test (such as measuring the concentration of THC in one’s blood) that would definitively prove one is under the influence of drugs.

However, DUI defense lawyers in Miami know an increasing number of police departments have been hiring or training so-called “drug recognition experts” on the force. These are law enforcement officers given additional instruction in picking up certain clues as to whether a person may be under the influence of a drug, and what kind. However, these tests can still be quite subjective, which is why testimony from DREs has had mixed results in court. The roadside sobriety tests conducted by DREs (like those conducted by any officer) are NOT compulsory, the way a blood or breathalyzer test is. That means if you decline to undergo those sobriety tests, that fact cannot in and of itself be used against you in a court of law. Now, this isn’t to say you won’t still be arrested for driving under the influence or even that you may not be convicted. But know this: Hypothetically speaking, when you submit to field sobriety tests – especially if you know you are not sober – you are handing the state evidence against you, for which you gain nothing.

A qualified DUI defense attorney can help you successfully challenge such testimony where it is based on subjective inferences.

Contact an experienced DUI defense lawyer today to learn more about your rights if you are arrested for DUI in Miami this New Year’s Eve.

Call Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.

Additional Resources:

DUI arrests in South Florida plummet. Uber, Lyft, millennials among the reasons why, July 21, 2018, By Charles Rabin, The Miami Herald

More Blog Entries:

Fort Lauderdale Defense Lawyer: Driving With Suspended License, Oct. 5, 2018, Miami DUI Defense Attorney Blog

Justia Lawyer Rating for Richard Ansara