Former Jacksonville Sheriff’s Officer Charged With DUI

A former Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office officer was recently arrested and charged with DUI, according to First Coast News.

Jacksonville DUI Defense Attorneys sympathize with people charged with DUI because it is such an easy crime to commit. In this case, a police officer, who was sworn to uphold the law, faces a potentially devastating charge because of a mistake. DUI in Jacksonville is a crime, but not one that people typically consciously commit.
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According to the news article, the former law enforcement officer was pulled over on Riverside Avenue on a recent Friday night around 10 p.m. The news station reports he was visibly drunk, just having crashed into two cars and a fence. Police reports of the incident state that as an officer attempted to stop his vehicle, he drove onto a curb and parked the vehicle at an angle.

According to News4Jax.com, when an officer attempted to stop his vehicle, he drove off and was eventually pulled over. The officer noted a “strong odor of alcoholic beverage” on the driver’s breath. He allegedly refused a breath test.

The news articles go on to detail previous allegations of abuse and a wrongful death case that happened months and years earlier that have no bearing on whether or not he is guilty of DUI.

The penalties for driving under the influence in Jacksonville has severe penalties, more so than other misdemeanor offenses in Florida. Many people charged with theft, making threats or other misdemeanor-class crimes can serve time on probation and go on with life. But a DUI charge, even a first-time offense, carries much more serious consequences:

  • $500 to $2,000 in fines
  • Mandatory 50 hours of community service
  • Up to 1 year of probation, combined with jail time
  • Up to 6 months in jail
  • 10 days vehicle impoundment
  • Minimum of 180 days driver’s license suspension
  • Completion of DUI School
  • Possible installation of ignition interlock device

While it’s possible a judge wouldn’t impose all those penalties for a first-time offender, it’s just as possible the prosecutor would push for a majority of the penalties to serve as a deterrent for the future.

But the good news is that a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney will stand by the side of the accused and fight all pieces of evidence, including field sobriety tests, blood testing, breath testing, probable cause for the stop, the officer’s observations, witness observations and anything else the state throws in as possible evidence.

All areas of a case must be scrutinized because just like anyone else, the police do make mistakes. A driver’s breath may smell like alcohol, but they may not have had anything to drink. It’s possible that a medical event and not drunkenness caused them to drive erratically, which led to an unwarranted investigation. An aggressive defense attorney will explore all possibilities all while forming a strong defense for the client.

If you need a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call Mussallem and Associates, PA at 904-365-5200 for a free consultation.

Additional Resources:

Former JSO Officer Arrested, Charged With DUI, by Len Kiese, First Coast News