A popular Jacksonville meteorologist was arrested last weekend, charged with a DUI at Jacksonville Beach. Tim Deegan, chief meteorologist for First Coast News, was arrested Saturday evening and released from jail the following morning, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Details of the arrest were not immediately available, but this is another example of how a mistake that many people make ends up being a news story when it happens to a public figure.
Unless his blood-alcohol is more than double the legal limit of .08, Deegan is likely facing up to six months in jail, though jail time is rare when a person is charged with their first DUI. Jacksonville DUI Cases, though, are in many cases reduced to reckless driving charges or even dropped outright because there are strict procedures in DUI arrests that in some cases are not followed. For example, for an officer to pull a driver over in the first place, he or she must see a traffic violation such as speeding or the driver swerving and failing to stay in his or her lane. Once the officer comes to the driver’s window, the officer must notice signs of impairment before opening a Jacksonville DUI investigation. Signs of impairment that police often cite in Jacksonville DUI cases include the odor of alcoholic beverages, slurred speech or red or watery eyes. If the officer believes the driver may be intoxicated, the officer will ask the person to perform field sobriety exercises.
The exercises are designed to determine if a suspect is too impaired to be driving. The officer typically asks the suspect to walk in a straight line and turn around; stand on one leg; stand with his or her legs together to test balance; move their arms to touch their finger to their nose and recite the alphabet or a series of numbers in order (Rhomberg Alphabet). Each phase of the test has various indicators of impairment and, if a suspect does poorly enough overall, he or she will be arrested on a Jacksonville DUI Charge. Drivers can also choose not to take the field sobriety test, but that will also likely lead to their arrest on a Jacksonville DUI Charge. The suspect will then be driven to the police station to be booked and to take a breath test. Suspects can also decline the breath test, but refusing to take it means the person will be spending the night in jail. That night is sometimes worth it because it takes one more piece of evidence away from the state in the prosecution of the case.
Jacksonville DUI Cases are very technical in nature and the officer must follow procedures precisely or the judge may have no other choice but to throw out the arrest, leaving the state with little to work with in its case. Our Jacksonville DUI Attorney has defended hundreds of DUI cases and will thoroughly investigate all aspects of the arrest to determine if every procedure was followed properly.
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 Jacksonville DUI Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.