Do I have the right to speak to an attorney if I have been arrested for DUI?

Absolutely.  However, there are certain phases of the arrest process where your request may go unheeded.  An attorney will be brought in only during the testimony phase, which occurs after the officers have completed their search and gathered whatever physical evidence they require.

You do not have the right to speak with an attorney before submitting to a chemical test (such as a breathalyzer, urine or blood test).  These tests are considered part of the search phase, and you don’t have the right to an attorney before the law enforcement search is complete.  In fact, if you respond to a request for a chemical test with a demand to speak with an attorney, your answer may be treated as a refusal to submit to the test.  This would put you in breech of Florida’s implied consent law, and result in the automatic suspension of your driver’s license.

However, once the police have completed their search you should immediately demand to speak with a qualified DUI attorney.  If you do not have an outside attorney, you should be automatically assigned a public defense attorney.  Officers may attempt to ask you questions or to give testimony, however in order to protect yourself and avoid self-incrimination you should insist on waiting until your attorney is present.  Your attorney should be able to advise you on how best to answer these questions and what subsequent actions to take.

Posted in: DUI