Interviewer: What are some of the misconceptions that people have about the DUI process?
Randy Berman: The biggest misconception about DUIs and other crimes when it comes to what their rights are is that they mistakenly believe that if they’re not read their Miranda rights that there’s something wrong with the arrest or that they can get their case thrown out just because of that.
If Miranda Rights Are Not Read, It Does Not Negate the Validity of the Arrest
The fact that the officer doesn’t read you your Miranda rights doesn’t negate the lawfulness of the arrest. What Miranda protects is any statements that you make can’t be used against you if you’re not given your Miranda rights, but often times people stopped for DUI or other crimes either don’t make statements to the police or the statements they make aren’t inculpatory meaning they don’t indicate any type of confession or admission of wrong doing.
The only benefit to Miranda is that if you said something that implicated yourself, then you could move to keep that statement out of your trial, if you weren’t read your Miranda Rights.
It is Advisable to Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in Florida
Interviewer: What if someone refuses a breathalyzer? How does that affect their case?
Randy Berman: The most likelihood of success for going to trial on a DUI is to refuse to blow the breathalyzer because in Florida if you blow the breathalyzer and you’re .08 or above, the jury would be instructed that they should presume you to be under the influence. You can overcome that presumption by testimony of witnesses, by videos that might show you’re looking good, but it’s an absolute liability. If you’re .08 or above, you could still be convicted even if they don’t show that you’re impaired.
The only reason to blow the breathalyzer if you’re stopped would be if you’ve honestly truly thought that you would blow below a .08. It only takes a couple – three drinks to hit above .08, so the typical response of, “I only had two beers officer,” better be just two beers if you’re going to blow the breathalyzer.
There Are Drawbacks to Refusing A Breathalyzer Test Such as License Suspension by the Florida DMV
There’s a downside to refusing even though it will help your case and help let you prevail if you fight your case. The Florida Department of Motor Vehicles will suspend your license for the refusal for a period of a year. You’re entitled to hardship license if it’s your first time arrest after 90 days, but this is a hard suspension on the license for 90 days and get stopped driving, it will result in a minimum 10 day jail sentence for driving on a suspended license for failure to blow the breathalyzer.
Those 90 days have to be served without using a vehicle, which is very difficult for going to school, for going to work, and going shopping. That time period would be very difficult and require the use of public transportation and rides from friends.
Public Disclosure of DUI Charges in Florida
Interviewer: When someone is arrested and charged with a DUI, will your family, friends and work find out about it or will it be kept secret?
Randy Berman: It’s going to be out there. When you’re booked in Florida, generally your booking information including your photograph is published on the law enforcement website. Locally in Palm Beach County, it’s picked up by our local paper, the Palm Beach Post. They continually run every booking that occurs 24/7.
There are Websites That Continually Post Information on Bookings and Charges for the Purpose of Extorting Money from Defendants to Have Them Delisted
Not only that, there are websites that are dedicated to posting the information and extracting money from people to have them delist you. That happens a lot. Unfortunately, these companies that do this are offshore companies that are able to avoid lawsuits.
There have been some effective claims against them for their actions, but the actual booking information is public record that anybody could get if they wanted to. They’re just publishing public record but they use the search engine optimization for their sites on the web that will get their site listed top of the list for a search of your name.
These Websites May Continue To Post Information Even After a Case Has Been Resolved
The real harm that occurs is not only for people or employers, relatives, friends to see your information posted, but I’ve seen typically when people get their cases resolved positively either by an acquittal or non-conviction, or even after sealing an expunging the records, these places routinely don’t pull the information once they get their money.
There are a number of them, so you’re not just doing with one outfit, you might be dealing with a half a dozen outfits, that are doing the same thing.