Last month, a Hollywood police officer was arrested by his own department when he was found to be intoxicated after getting into an accident with another vehicle. According to a report by the Sun Sentinel, the officer was driving south in the northbound lane of North 22nd Avenue at around 1:30 am when he collided with another vehicle.
The driver of the other car told police that the officer did not stop after colliding with her, but continued on down the road. The officer came to a stop about a half mile down the road, with a flat tire and significant front-end damage. Currently, the officer is on administrative leave while the accident is under investigation.
Driving Under the Influence in Florida
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a serious crime in Florida. The law is clear that no driver may operate a motor vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of more than .08. In the case of minors, there is a “zero-tolerance policy”, meaning that operating a car with any trace amount of alcohol over .02 BAC is considered in violation of the law.
While the law states that the driver may not operate a vehicle, the law actually proscribes a broader range of conduct including being in actual control of a vehicle. This means that, even if the car is turned off but the keys are in the ignition, an officer may arrest a driver for DUI if he determines the driver is in control of the vehicle.
DUI Punishments in Florida Courts
As in most other jurisdictions, a conviction for a DUI can result in jail time, fines, court costs, and the suspension of a driver’s license. In addition, depending on the facts of the case, a driver may be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in their car upon reinstatement of their driver’s license.
For example, a defendant who is convicted for the first time of a DUI can expect the following punishment:
- A fine between $500 and $1000; and
- A term of up to six months’ imprisonment.
There may be additional charges with more severe sentences if the driver’s BAC was especially high, there was a minor in the car, there was property damage or bodily injury caused by the accident, or if this was not the driver’s first offense.
The bottom line is that a DUI conviction can change the rest of your life, and anyone facing a DUI charge should take the situation very seriously.
Have You Been Charged with a DUI?
In addition to the penalties above, a DUI conviction can be a basis to deny you employment opportunities in the future. Therefore, if you have recently been arrested or charged with a DUI, you need to do all that you can to make sure that the charge stays off your record. If this is your first offense, you may be able to qualify for an out-of-court alternative to a conviction.
To find out what options you have, you should speak to an experienced Jacksonville criminal defense attorney today. The Forbess Law Firm has a successful record in getting cases settled out of court and keeping convictions off clients’ records. Click here to contact us online, or call 904-634-0900 today to schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced DUI defense attorney.
See More Blog Posts:
Couple Arrested For Killing Baby With Heroin Filled Baby Bottle, Jacksonville Criminal Attorney Blog, October 15, 2013.
Sunrise Police Officer Resigns After Being Charged With Marijuana Distribution, Jacksonville Criminal Attorney Blog, October 7, 2013.