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Know what to expect when you're accused of drunk driving

There are campaigns constantly playing messages on television and the radio reminding people that it is against the law to drive drunk. Billboards and other advertisements relay this message. With all of these reminders, it is a good idea to heed them and find someone to handle the driving if you plan to go out drinking.

Under Florida law, you can face criminal charges and administrative penalties if you have a regular personal drivers' license and are operating a vehicle while you have a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or greater. If you are a commercial driver, the legal limit for your BAC is lower. Some people don't realize just how strict the law is when it comes to this.

A police officer who thinks that you are impaired is going to take steps to determine what's going on. For many, this entails having you take a field sobriety test. There are a host of tests that they can do, but there are only three that are part of the standardized field sobriety test. These are the one-leg stand, the horizontal gaze nystagmus, and the walk-and-turn. Anything outside of those isn't enforced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

You will also need to have a chemical test to measure your blood alcohol concentration. You may be given the option of the type of test you want, but breathalyzers are most common. It is imperative that you remember that you do have the right to refuse the test (unless the police get a warrant) -- but the penalty in Florida for refusal of a breathalyzer is a mandatory license suspension. This is because implied consent laws go into effect when you get your driver's license.

You should always ensure that your rights are being respected. In fact, violation of your rights could be a huge component of your defense strategy whether you are fighting a license suspension for refusing the breathalyzer test or a drunk driving charge.

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Attorney Warren Lindsey has been awarded the following credentials:

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