Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department will be out in force during this year’s Memorial Day weekend, making the chance of getting stopped or arrested for a DUI higher than usual.
Last year Pinellas County law enforcement operated a ‘wolf-pack’, which deployed more officers than usual to stop DUI offenders. It’s likely we’ll see the same this year.
“The goal of the Wolf Pack is to educate people and create public awareness about the dangers of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and any chemical or controlled substances.” – Pinellas County Sheriff
By following the advice below during Memorial Day weekend, you can reduce the chances of a DUI conviction.
Key Tips to Avoid a DUI Arrest During Memorial Day Weekend in Pinellas County
Be Aware of the DUI Limit
- The legal Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) limit is 0.08.
- It is 0.02 for people under the age of 21.
Forbes reports that one drink equals:
- 1 volume ounce of 100-proof alcohol
- 1 12-ounce bottle of beer
- 5 ounces of table wine.
Forbes reports that time typically reduces BAC as follows:
- 1 hour from last drink: 0.015%
- 2 hours from last drink: 0.030%
- 3 hours from last drink: 0.045%
- 4 hours from last drink 0.060%
- 5 hours from last drink 0.075%
- 6 hours from last drink 0.090%
Always play it safe. Do not drink close to the limit and do not drive if your faculties are affected or if you feel drunk.
Do Not Sober Up in Your Car
You can still get arrested for a DUI even if you’re just sitting in a parked car. This happens often to people looking to ‘sober up’.
This is due to the ‘actual physical control’ law, which determines that you are in control of the vehicle merely by being sat in the driver’s seat or by having keys in your pocket while taking a nap.
Do Not Have a Drink in Your Car
Do not drive or ride in a vehicle with an open drink, even if it’s parked on a roadway, parking lot or curb.
This is due to the ‘open container law’, which prohibits drivers or passengers from being in a vehicle with an opener container (even if you’re not the one holding it).
This crime is not a DUI, but is still a misdemeanor and could lead to a DUI if it’s found out that you’re over the BAC limit or drunk.
Play it Safe and Rideshare
A DUI arrest or conviction will have a big influence on your life. From a suspended license to a criminal record, it’s not worth taking the risk of driving if you feel drunk.
We advise anyone going out over Memorial Day weekend to play it safe – rideshare. Whether it’s with a sober friend as a driver, or by calling a Taxi or Uber, the fee is always worth it compared to fighting a DUI.
What to Do If Stopped For a DUI
If law enforcement pulls you over, how you act could have a big impact on what happens next.
How to Act When Stopped for a DUI
- Pull over immediately in a safe place.
- Remain calm and in control of yourself.
- Do not make sudden movements.
- Do not make self-incriminating statements.
- Keep your hands on the wheel, only moving them when instructed (inform the officer if you need to reach for ID).
- Be polite.
- Follow instructions.
- Do not resist arrest (this is an additional crime).
Should I Refuse The DUI Breathalyzer Test?
- If you’ve had nothing to drink, you should take the test and blow .000.
- If you’ve had something to drink and know you’re over the limit, it’s better to refuse the breath test.
- If you refuse, you will receive an immediate license suspension (you can get a hardship license later).
- But, by refusing you will prevent the collection of evidence that can be used to prove the DUI.
Should I Refuse Field Sobriety Tests?
- You are not obliged to perform field sobriety tests.
- If you’re drunk, it’s better to refuse than to look bad.
- If you’ve had nothing to drink, then you should perform the test.
- Be polite if refusing. No reason is needed. The officer may get frustrated, but you should remain calm.
Read Related: Will I Lose My License for a DUI in Florida?
What to Do If Arrested for a DUI During Pinellas County Memorial Day Weekend?
If you’ve been arrested for a DUI in Pinellas County, the steps you take next can have a significant impact on your case. As experienced Pinellas County criminal defense lawyers we advise:
- Call a DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible.
- Do not plead guilty (you may be able to reduce your charges, or get them dropped entirely).
- Do not make incriminating statements. Never admit fault. You have the right to remain silent.
- Do not make social media posts about the incident or your night out.
- Privately, remember everything that happened:
- What did the officer tell you or ask you?
- How were you pulled over?
- What was the reason given for your traffic stop?
- How did they instruct the breathalyzer or field sobriety tests?
- Obtain a hardship license within 10 days of the arrest (ask your DUI defense lawyer for help with this).
- Behave maturely and attend alcohol or substance addiction classes to show you’re taking responsibility for your mistake.
Read Related: Tips for the Day After an Arrest in Pinellas County
The Pinellas County D.R.O.P. Program
If you’ve made a one-time mistake, you may be able to reduce the charge to a reckless driving charge via the Pinellas County D.R.O.P. program.
This is considered a lesser crime and gives you a chance to fast-track through the legal process. It costs $50 to make an application and is a wise choice for people who have irrefutably made a one-time mistake but would like to avoid the full consequences of a DUI in Pinellas County.
Please contact our Florida criminal defense lawyers to pursue this route.
Recent Pinellas County DUI Wolf Pack Results
- Memorial Weekend 2022 DUI Wolf Pack:
- 28 DUI Charges
- 36 Criminal Charges
- 156 total citations.
- December 17 2022 DUI Wolf Pack:
- 38 DUI Charges
- 37 DUI Citations
- March 25 2023 DUI Wolf Pack:
- 32 DUI Charges
- 3 felony drug arrests
- 124 citations
Contact a Pinellas County DUI Defense Attorney
If you’ve been arrested for DUI during a Memorial Day Weekend in Florida, then our Florida criminal defense lawyers can help. We regularly help DUI defendants get their charges dropped or reduced, by providing a fast and aggressive defense based on evidence and our strong reputation in the legal system.
Sean McQuaid is a top-rated criminal defense attorney in Pinellas County. He has handled countless Florida DUI and DWI charges in his career. He is the president at Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A., one of Tampa Bay’s most prestigious law firms with the reputation and connections to make things happen.
With decades of experience helping people like you, we believe there is no better place to help you fight a DUI charge in Pinellas County.
Contact us today for a free consultation to get started or CALL (727) 381-2300