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Learn from the mistakes of others when dealing with the police

It's important to learn from the mistakes of the others, especially when those lessons could prevent you from a critically damaged reputation and a possible jail sentence.

For example, golf legend Tiger Woods recently made headlines when he was found asleep behind the wheel of his car. The car was pulled over at the side of the road, its lights on and flashing. Damage to the driver's side of the car indicated he'd recently been in an accident.

Had he pulled over to sleep off a drinking bender? The police obviously thought so, because they gave him more than one field sobriety test. Multiple Breathalyzers showed zero results.

He was still arrested, however, for driving under the influence (DUI) -- mostly because he admitted that he had been taking prescription pain medication and some other drugs that may have caused him to get sleepy while driving. At that point, he consented to a urinalysis -- which will likely show those medications.

Here are the two lessons to be learned from his situation:

1. DUI laws are written broadly enough that drivers are considered in violation if they have anything in their system that causes them to behave erratically behind the wheel.

2. He broke the first rule everyone should remember when interacting with the police while under suspicion of committing a crime: Don't cooperate any further than you are legally obligated to do so.

Floridians aren't legally required to perform a field sobriety test -- and you take one at your own peril. If you're hoping to convince an officer you're sober, you can probably forget about it. More than likely, he or she has already decided you are impaired and is just looking for evidence that can be filmed and shown to a jury.

In addition, Woods volunteered information about his medications -- which isn't something he was required to do. Had he not volunteered that information, he wouldn't have given the police probable cause to run the urinalysis.

Woods would have been far wiser to pull out the name of his attorney and give it to the officers before speaking.

If you've made a mistake, don't compound it by interacting with the police without legal representation. To learn more about how our firm can assist you with a drug charge or other legal matter, please visit our web page.

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