Recently, we heard about a Tiger Woods DUI arrest in Florida. Although sad and difficult to understand, his arrest makes some good points of what not to do.

Tiger Woods DUI Mistakes

While parked on the side of the road with his brake lights on, he appeared asleep behind the wheel. However, once the police arrived, he made several critical mistakes that will make his case hard to defend. For example, he attempted roadside field sobriety tests and admitted to taking pain medications. Rather than cooperating, he should have refused all testing and requests for information by law enforcement. In other words, Woods’ case was made against him after he started talking and consenting to requests.

tiger woods duiReasonable Suspicion to Stop

Almost certainly, the police had good reasons or legal grounds to “stop” the car. Because his vehicle was partially in the road, the police can investigate. Furthermore, even if he had pulled off the road and parked, police officers can conduct welfare checks. Once they lawfully approached Woods, police can then start to make “observations” about a person. While police observed “extremely slow and slurred speech,” they did not smell alcohol on Woods. Consequently, this could still just be an exhausted driver stopped in the road guilty of only a traffic offense. But not a DUI yet.
Just as in North Carolina, you are not required to perform field sobriety tests in Florida. Furthermore, if you show any signs of impairment, you’re probably going to be arrested no matter what you do. Hence, if you’re going to be arrested either way, then why provide additional evidence that will be used against you? In addition, the use of the dash cameras has removed a lot of ambiguity about field sobriety tests. While defense attorneys still challenge them if improperly administered by police, a video cuts to the chase. So in the Tiger Woods DUI case, dash cam video shows him staggering and aimlessly wandering away from officers. As a result, how the test was given is no longer important now.

Consent to Testing

While most folks start with breath testing, it usually stops there. And in the Tiger Woods DUI case, he “blew” a 0.0. So he is definitely not impaired from alcohol. However, the cops then asked him to give a urine sample, and he agreed. Big mistake here because breath tests are different from urine tests. Even though breath tests only detect alcohol, urine tests show other substances. Furthermore, unless an officer has “probable cause,” a request for a urine test is improper. However, in Woods’ case, he told police he was taking Vicodin which provide the legal basis right there. Oops.
So what if Woods had refused all testing and refused to cooperate with the arresting officers? Certainly, he would be charged as a “refusal” but there would be no real evidence to convict. And in addition, there would be no admission about specific drugs. As a result, an otherwise difficult case for the State is now complete. Because it is your right to remain silent, please exercise that right. Otherwise, you will learn how fish are caught – by opening their mouth.