A Jacksonville man who had been out on bail on a Duval County DUI for an accident that killed a man at the Jacksonville Landing is now back in jail after being arrested for Driving Under the Influence again. The judge revoked his bond and Brian Patterson, 32, is not expected to be released until the Landing case is resolved, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Patterson was arrested last week for a DUI in Baker County after police pulled him over just before 3 a.m. for driving erratically and the officer smelled alcohol, found a beer bottle in a cup holder and saw an empty beer can inside the car, the newspaper reported.
Legally, the two cases are not connected. In the Landing case, Patterson was being beaten after leaving a nightclub in August and tried to flee in his truck. Taylor Evans was on the hood of the truck, fell off and died in a local hospital days after Patterson ran him over and drove away, the newspaper reported. One of the men beating Patterson was charged with murder and Patterson was charged in October with a misdemeanor DUI charge in Jacksonville, Florida. Since it was Patterson's first Duval County DUI, his maximum penalty is six months in jail. Even with the second arrest, that maximum penalty cannot legally increase.
But make no mistake, the second arrest will almost certainly play a role in Patterson's sentence, if he is convicted in the Landing case or decides to plead to the Drunk Driving charge. Signs of remorse and that a defendant has learned his or her lesson go a long way for judges in determining a sentence. Picking up another DUI just three months after drinking and driving in a case where a person was killed will not sit well at all in the mind of the court. Rarely does a person receive any jail time for a first conviction on a DUI in Jacksonville, but the circumstances of Patterson's case - most notably that Evans was killed - may have made it more likely for his sentence to include time behind bars. This latest arrest would seem to increase the likelihood that Patterson's sentence will include some sort of jail time.
The second DUI could be the one that sends Patterson to jail for little longer, if the cases run separately. When a person is convicted of a second DUI in a five-year span, he or she could be sentenced to up to nine months in jail, but must serve at least 10 days. In many cases, those days are split up so a person serves their time over several weekends in Jacksonville weekend jail. Another option for Patterson could be getting prosecutors for both cases involved to reach a plea that includes both Florida drunk driving charges. Perhaps he pleads guilty to one, even both, and a sentence is negotiated between the two Assistant State Attorneys and his Jacksonville DUI Attorney. Even though the cases are in different counties and even in different judicial circuits with different elected state attorneys, it is not uncommon for a defendant to reach a global settlement on the various charges he or she is facing.
Our Jacksonville DUI attorney has represented hundreds of clients facing DUI charges - some on their first charge, others who had been through the system before. DUI charges are often difficult for the state because there are specific rules officers must follow in a DUI arrest and, if they are not followed correctly, much of the evidence in the case can be suppressed by the judge.
If you or a loved one needs a DUI attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our Duval County DUI Lawyer, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.