As a Jacksonville DUI Attorney, I have represented hundreds of people arrested for DUI in Duval, Clay and Nassau Counties. Many DUI arrests in Jacksonville occur over the holidays. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office steps up DUI enforcement and the officers look for any reason to pull someone over.
To pull you over legally, the police officer must have probable cause to believe that you have committed or are committing a traffic infraction or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. To justify their stop, officers will cite many common factors. They will say that you were speeding, weaving outside your lane or ignoring a traffic device such as a traffic light or stop sign. Once you are pulled over, the officer is looking for other “signs of impairment”. Common signs of possible impairment are red and watery eyes, the smell of alcohol coming from your body or mouth, fumbling while getting your registration, insurance card or driver’s license, and slurred speech. If the officer observes any of these things, he or she will ask you to exit your vehicle. When you step out of your car, the officer is looking to see if you stumble or weave while standing. He or she may or may not have a video camera in their car.
The police officer will then ask you to perform Field Sobriety Exercises, which are tests to determine if you are too impaired to drive. In order to sustain a conviction for DUI in Jacksonville or anywhere in Florida, the prosecutor must prove that you were driving a car or in actual physical control of a car while under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the extent your “normal faculties” were impaired. Normal faculties include your ability to walk, see, hear, talk, judge distances, drive a car, make judgment calls, or any other thing you must perform in your daily life. These abnormal tests are used by the state of Florida to test your normal faculties. The tests include the walk and turn, one leg stand, reciting the alphabet and finger to nose test. The tests are inherently unfair because the police officer administering the exercise had performed and practiced them hundreds of times in their training. If you are under suspicion of driving under the influence, you are being judged on your first attempt.
If the officer determines you failed the tests, you will be arrested for DUI in Jacksonville. You will then be transported to downtown Jacksonville and asked to blow into the breathalyzer. Even if you blow .000 or below the limit of .08, you will still be facing a Jacksonville DUI charge and will have to bond out of jail. If you have been arrested for DUI in Duval, Clay or Nassau County, call Victoria “Tori” Mussallem at The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our Jacksonville DUI Law Firm is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.