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DUI stops: stressful, yes, and sometimes unfounded

Any person in Orange County or elsewhere in Florida who has ever been stopped by a police officer based on that officer's suspicion of drunk driving will likely remember the experience forever.

The reasons for that are myriad, of course, commencing with the jarring reality of flashing red lights and the official nature of the encounter. The initial stop is flatly stressful for any motorist, whether that driver has had a drink or two or is completely sober.

And then there are of course the trappings associated with a DUI stop -- Florida's implied consent law and the hard and fast choice that a motorist must make regarding whether to submit to a breath, blood or urine test or refuse to do so; the administration of field sobriety tests, which can difficult to perform under any circumstances; the mental stress of dealing with instructions, directives and legal jargon, and so forth.

We visited some of the DUI-related angst in an article focused upon false DUI arrests stemming from motorists' difficulties with performing standardized sobriety tests. We noted therein that inherent subjectivity attaches to a police officer's view of what he or she is seeing while a detained motorist is seeking to lawfully comply with demands under extreme pressure.

The fallibility of police officers and prosecutors in DUI cases is well established in legions of cases from across the country. There can be probable cause problems associated with an initial stop. An officer might improperly conduct a test, and the equipment used might not be properly working. Prosecutors might inappropriately charge.

What we stated in the above-cited article is worth repeating here for the potential benefit of any Florida resident subjected to a DUI stop by a police officer.

We noted that, "Anyone who has been arrested for DUI should be polite to the arresting officer and contact an attorney as soon as possible."

Timely communication with legal counsel can help ensure an optimal outcome in any DUI case.

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