The star receiver the Jacksonville Jaguars picked to catch passes ended up catching his second DUI in two years last weekend in Oklahoma. Justin Blackmon, who went to college at Oklahoma State University, was charged with aggravated DUI (also referred to as Driving Under the Influence) early Sunday morning after police stopped him for going 60 mph in a 35 mph zone, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. In Oklahoma, a person can be charged with aggravated DUI if their blood-alcohol content is above .15, the newspaper reported. Blackmon blew a .24, three times above the legal limit of .08.
State laws vary on DUI charges and the state of Florida does not have a similar law elevating the charges based on blood-alcohol level, though the penalties do increase when a defendant has a "double blow," meaning .15 or higher. The most common escalators in terms of charges in Florida occur when there is an accident involved and property is damaged or people are hurt, or even killed.
Penalties also increase based on how many prior DUIs a person has. In Blackmon's case, he now has two - the first in Texas in 2010, the newspaper reported. While many defendants sometimes think the first one doesn't count because it is in the different state, that is not true. Convictions cross state lines, at least in Florida, so it doesn't much matter where his first crime occurred, it will almost certainly be treated as a second DUI.
This drunk driving arrest has sparked some concern from fans about Blackmon, whom the Jaguars traded up to pick during April's National Football League draft. And it brought back memories of four or five years ago when nary a month seemed to go by without a Jacksonville Jaguar getting arrested - mostly for DUI charges. Blackmon has not yet signed his contract, so it is not known if he will be suspended or fined in accordance with the NFL's personal conduct policy. The courts play by different rules than employers do. But, if the news reports are accurate, things don't bode well for Blackmon. Officers have a very detailed and specific set of rules they must follow in DUI arrests. First, an officer must have a reason to pull someone over to start a DUI arrest. In Blackmon's case, police said he was speeding and not able to stay in his lane, the newspaper reported. To keep the stop going, the officer must then detect a reasonable sign of impairment. Police said Blackmon smelled of alcohol and had glassy eyes, the newspaper reported. The next step is field sobriety exercises, where an officer may ask you to walk in a straight line and turn around; stand on one leg; stand with your legs together to test your balance; move your arms to touch your finger to your nose and recite the alphabet or a series of numbers in order (Rhomberg Alphabet). In Blackmon's case, officers said he was not steady on his feet and had slurred speech. The newspaper also reported that Blackmon admitted to drinking alcohol before driving. Consenting to take the breathalyzer test certainly doesn't help Blackmon's case, especially given the results. That combined with this being his second offense and the publicity driven to the case because of Blackmon's sport celebrity could make it very difficult in negotiations. That is assuming the state is even willing to talk.
But there may be issues with the stop, or the tests or something involved with the arrest. An experienced DUI attorney would be the one to have a look. Our Jacksonville DUI Lawyer has represented hundreds of clients accused of DUI and knows exactly what to look for in police reports and what to ask in depositions that could bring out potential issues with the case. If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm, PA at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our Duval County DUI attorney is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.