ARRESTED ON 4TH DUI, A DEATH, INJURIES, 24 CHARGES…BUT IT TOOK 70 DAYS TO ARREST

Blood Alcohol Level of .279, Crashed Doing 120 MPH in a 30 MPH Zone, Killed 12 Year Old Girl

Stanley Jefson, of Jacksonville, prior to his latest arrest for the above incident, had three local convictions for driving under the influence, the last being in 2009.  He was also, according to court records, a graduate of the county’s drug court program back in the nineties.  On April 4th of this year, according to News4Jax.com. Jefson crashed doing 120mph at a Jacksonville intersection, seriously injuring himself and others. Days later, one young victim died, 12 year old Savannah Pheiffer.  The date of Jefson’s accident was April 4, 2013.  Seventy days passed before he finally was arrested on June 13, 2014, and taken off the streets to face 24 separate charges ranging from, dui manslaughter, dui with serious bodily injury, vehicular homicide, dui with damage and reckless driving.  He is now in the Duval County Pretrial Detention Facility and despite all of the above, Jefson is presumed to be innocent and is entitled to a vigorous defense.

Why Wait 70 Days? Don’t Drunk Drivers Go Straight To Jail?

What occurred in Jefson’s case with the 70 day delay is because the State Attorney’s office had to wait on blood test results in order to obtain an arrest warrant. In a case with a death or serious bodily injury, the police will either have a paramedic draw the suspect’s blood at the scene or at the hospital.   In Jefson’s earlier dui arrests, as in almost all dui arrests, the person goes to the local county jail for a breath test.  The state threshold for a person’s alcohol content is a “.08 blow” but once arrested, even if a “triple zero” or “.000 blow”, the dui case proceeds and the state attorney will be seeking a dui conviction.    The county jail has certain corrections officers who are “breath test operators” sitting across from the recently brought in drunk driving suspect for twenty minute observation period and ascertain if the person is going to blow or refuse to blow.  The breath test operator also goes over forms informing the arrested that any refusal of the test results in a 12 months suspension of one’s license.  Here, Jefson remained out of jail while the police and the state attorney’s office awaited the blood test results from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Once his results came in a warrant was obtained, he was arrested and went to jail.  Bottom line here is that a guy as dangerous as Jefson(after all, he was out for 70 days after the accident, hopefully not drinking and driving…but who knows?) stays out of jail while the person who blows below a .08 stays in jail for the night of the arrest, goes before a judge the next morning and gets asked how they want to plead on their dui case.  If they plead out they are on misdemeanor probation.  If they don’t plead out the judge will sometimes ROR them but usually sets a bond with conditions of pretrial release established. If they blow or don’t blow, or blow below the ..08 state law threshold they are still not going home. They stay in jail and go before a judge on a pending dui charge.  Those are first time offenders, sometimes below the limit, who have injured nobody yet staying in jail.

No Judicial Oversight or Control Here 

The sportsfan who imbibes one too many tailgate drinks and is stopped on his way home, the young military member out drinking with his buddies or the housewife realtor who had too much free wine at an open house; all will go to jail after their  traffic stop if officers have indicators of impairment.  They are going to leave jail either by bonding out and having conditons of pretrial release or pleading out and going on probation to complete specific conditions. If they don’t resolve their case and have limited funds, they will sit in jail until their next court date. This is on their first dui. This is with nobody hurt or killed.  This is for the safety of the community.  A judge can order a condition of zero alcohol as a condition of probation or a condition of pretrial release.  A SCRAM monitor can be placed on the ankle of the released. The SCRAM monitor measures any amount of alcohol leaving a person’s body through their perspiration.  No judge had any jurisdiction or oversight over Jefson in the 70 days from accident to arrest. No state attorney could establish probable cause for arrest without FDLE’s results.  This writer has seen FDLE take up to four months on blood draw results in dui manslaughter cases.  The accused in these cases where someone died stayed out of jail for 70 days( as in Jefson’s case) up to four months.  The tailgater, the young member of the military and the housewife realtor mentioned above all go instantly to jail and have a case assigned to a prosecutor.  Prosecutors are fond of saying that the choices of the defendant bring the consequences.  Terrible choice here by this driver.  Seventy day lag in any consequences.  Nothing but an anomaly in the law created by a bureaucracy(FDLE) most probably hampered by budget cuts and understaffing or,  just working at its own pace.

Warrants

Once a warrant is obtained by law enforcement a person should turn themselves in.  The Forbess Law Firm has assisted hundreds of clients on resolving warrants.  Many times a warrant or capias can be recalled and court date set. This allows the accused to attend the court date as opposed to being jailed and attending the court date.  A very serious case with high bonds is not going to get this treatment.  Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer Ray Forbess, Sr., at 904 -634-0900 is very experienced dealing with warrants.  A no charge, no obligation consultation is always offered.