Jacksonville police had some extra help hunting a suspected intoxicated driver last month, and an internal investigation has been launched to see if the dispatcher did too much to help the citizen investigator. A motorist called 911 to report a driver “all over the road,” according to the Florida Times-Union. The dispatcher is supposed to take the information, tell the driver to keep a safe distance and let the police do their job, the newspaper reported. But this dispatcher stayed on the line with the caller, who appears to have even run a red light to tail the alleged Duval County DUI driver. The caller even jokes about crashing into the car to stop it, the way police sometimes do to end a chase, and the dispatcher just remains silent, according to the newspaper report.
The driver has pleaded not guilty to driving under the influence in Jacksonville and failure to obey traffic signals. The internal investigation into the 911 call is due back in 45 to 90 days. All 911 calls are recorded and this 19-minute conversation will likely be a major factor in this DUI case. Every detail matters in an arrest and that internal report could be crucial to her case.
Was the citizen investigator tailing her closely and influencing her driving? If so, that could have been avoided if the 911 dispatcher had followed policy and told the man to back off. There is a very specific protocol that must be followed in all Jacksonville DUI arrests and, many times, the case hinges on whether those procedures were followed correctly. When a citizen calls the police to report a bad driver, the first officer on the scene must verify what the caller is reporting. The police officer has to observe, independent of the citizen informant, the car’s movements. The officer must also verify that the car he or she tails is the car in question. In most Jacksonville DUI cases, the whole case starts with the police pulling a suspect over. The officer has to have probable cause to believe that the suspect is impaired or committing some Florida traffic infraction.
Our Jacksonville DUI Attorney knows how to look for potential problems with the arrest. We can help assess the strength of the case against you or your loved one and advise you of the best options going forward.
If you need a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call Mussallem and Associate, PA at 904-365-5200 for a free consultation.