Despite an increased police presence and some crowd control issues in recent years, police did not make more arrests than usual over the recent 4th of July holiday weekend. Ten people were arrested in Atlantic Beach over the weekend, mostly misdemeanor crimes involving alcohol - DUIs or public drunkenness, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Exact figures from Jacksonville Beach and Neptune Beach were not reported in the story but, anecdotally, officials said the weekend was a typical holiday weekend from an arrest perspective.
Generally speaking, police aren't out to make a ton of arrests on holiday weekends, especially the 4th of July when thousands of residents and visitors pack the beaches for a day and stay for a fireworks show at dusk. Police are more in the mode of controlling the crowd and making sure things do not get out of hand - similar to at other large events such as a the Florida-Georgia football game in downtown Jacksonville. But Jacksonville Misdemeanor Arrests do happen at these larger events, mostly related to alcohol. Often, it can be a person who hasn't been in trouble before, had a few too many drinks and then finds themselves in jail and before a judge the following morning.
The immediate inclination is to plead guilty, take the slap on the wrist punishment, get out of jail and move on. Unfortunately, in Jacksonville Misdemeanor Cases, that is a short-term decision that can have long-term consequences. It can never hurt to initially plead not guilty and then consult with a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney to examine the case and look at possible options. A guilty plea in first appearance court will not go away. And, instead of potentially working out something where adjudication is withheld as long as certain conditions are met, the plea stays on the person's record. And in some Jacksonville Misdemeanor Crimes, the penalties immediately increase if it is a person's second conviction of the same crime.
That is especially true in Jacksonville DUI Cases, where fines are doubled for a second conviction, maximum jail time jumps from six months to nine months, and a driver is required to have an ignition interlock device installed and the car will not start until the driver blows an alcohol-free breath into the system.Pleading guilty to seemingly minor charges can have lasting consequences. Our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney can help you navigate the criminal justice system, fulfill your obligation after your arrest and move on with your life.
If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Duval County Violent Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.