Jacksonville Criminal Attorney Blog recently posted about an accident in Nassau that has left a 24-year-old woman with life-threatening injuries. According to News4Jax.com, Florida Highway Patrol troopers are awaiting blood testing to determine if the 41-year-old driver who they believe caused the accident was under the influence.
While the man hasn’t been charged with any DUI-related crimes, it is important to note that DUI charges in Jacksonville and throughout Florida are serious and require the advise and counsel of an experienced Jacksonville DUI Defense Attorney. An arrest proves no guilt and should be treated with skepticism and fought vigorously in court.
According to the news station, a vehicle ran a stop sign, hitting a second vehicle and causing extensive damage. A third vehicle was also involved. For now, the 41-year-old driver is charged with running a stop sign, careless driving, failing to stay in marked lanes and driving to fast for the conditions.
At this point, authorities don’t know if the man was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but they suspect alcohol was a factor.
While the effects of alcohol may be more obvious to law enforcement as well as to the lay person — bloodshot eyes, swaying while standing, slurred speech and other signs — the effects of drugs aren’t as obvious.
A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report recently looked at how many drivers are guilty of driving under the influence of drugs, rather than alcohol. The agency reports that the number of drivers with drugs in their system has increased, though not all drivers are tested.
Some drivers refuse to be tested, so the numbers are a bit skewed. Others involved in fatal accidents are not tested.
But according to the agency’s research, 18 percent of drivers involved in fatal accidents were under the influence of drugs in 2009, up from 13 percent in 2005. While that may seem significant, only 63 percent of those drivers were tested and only 56 percent in 2005.
So, while the government believes cases have increased, law enforcement is inadequately trained to examine these drivers. According to the Institute of Police Technology and Management, a Florida-based training facility says that there are only about 5,000 officers worldwide certified as a drug recognition expert, which is less than 1/10 of 1 percent of all law enforcement officers.
We take this “training” with great skepticism. Like field sobriety tests, you are likely to be found guilty until proven innocent; it’s an officer’s job to collect evidence of your guilt.
For instance, marijuana can stay in a person’s system for more than a month, so if a driver who has smoked marijuana gets into a car accident and is tested for drugs, that driver could face DUI charges even though they weren’t under the influence of the drug. And with so few law enforcement officers trained to detect how drugs effect a person’s ability to drive, you could see how a person could be wrongly stopped and arrested.
And that’s where hiring an experienced Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney comes into play. A lawyer will aggressively defend the claims that the suspect was under the influence of drugs at the time of arrest and seek to get charges dropped by the state. Call today so we can protect your rights.
The Forbess Law Firm has been helping clients facing criminal charges in Jacksonville for more than a decade and are here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one require a Jacksonville DUI defense lawyer, contact our firm today through our website. Or call us at 904-634-0900.