The 2004 World Champion Boston Red Sox baseball team was embraced by fans and given the affectionate nickname “The Idiots.” Unfortunately, one of the members of that team who grew up playing baseball in the Orlando area is in the news again, and he’s accused of doing something genuinely not very smart: driving under the influence of alcohol. While the criminal legal troubles of any person, including famous people, are no laughing matter, the mistakes they make can serve as teachable moments about what to do and what not to do. One thing this retired baseball star’s case teaches is the importance of taking the right steps if you’ve been stopped by the police. If you’re under suspicion of DUI in Florida, one thing you should do with all due haste is to reach out to a knowledgeable Saint Petersburg DUI defense attorney.
Law enforcement officers in an Orlando suburb stopped a black SUV shortly before 1:30 am early one morning in February. Inside were the former World Series champ and his wife. The officers asked if the retired outfielder had consumed any alcohol that evening. He replied “just a little bit” as he held his index finger and thumb in a gesture indicating the same thing. The police stated that the man’s speech was “extremely slurred,” according to News Channel 8.
The police asked the man to perform a field sobriety test. He accepted because, as he told the officers, “I’m a big boy,” Channel 8 also reported. At the police station, the man agreed to take a breathalyzer test, even though his wife advised him to refuse it. The two valid breath samples the police obtained yielded results of .294 and .300, according to a TMZ report.
What You Should (and Perhaps Shouldn’t) Refuse
Many husbands know the benefits of listening to (and obeying) their wives’ instructions. Often, those include the fact that she’s right. So, was this wife correct in advising her husband to refuse a breathalyzer test? It’s possible.
On the downside, anytime you refuse to take a breath test as a result of a valid police stop on suspicion of DUI, you are facing a driver’s license suspension of 12-18 months under Florida’s “implied consent” law. Also, if it’s your first DUI, you may, by refusing, be forfeiting the option of entering certain diversion programs that can yield less severe overall punishments.
However, to qualify for those programs, your blood-alcohol level must have been less than .16. For someone who was as intoxicated as this baseball player allegedly was, diversion programs would not have been a possibility regardless of whether or not it was his first offense. Given these factors, some drivers in this kind of scenario might elect to refuse the breath test to reduce the amount of evidence against them.
Where this wife definitely should have advised her husband was concerning the field sobriety test, which she should have told him to refuse. You are not obligated to undergo a field sobriety test and your refusal does not trigger any administrative penalties (like a driver’s license suspension) in the same way that breath test refusals do. Additionally, field sobriety tests can be notoriously unreliable.
Another piece of helpful advice this wife could have dispensed was to tell her husband to stop talking. The police are entitled to ask you questions, but you are under no obligation to answer and face no punishments for remaining silent. Indeed, the more talking you do (as this baseball player did,) the more evidence you may be giving the police of slurred speech, inappropriate affect, or other hallmarks of intoxication.
A DUI has the potential to inflict many major negative impacts on your life. Even if it is your first DUI and you were barely over the legal limit, it is essential to take your DUI case profoundly seriously. That includes reaching out to the experienced Tampa Bay DUI defense attorneys at Blake & Dorsten P.A. to provide you with the best defense possible given your facts and situation. Call us today at (727) 286-6141 to schedule your FREE initial consultation.