A Nassau County man was arrested and charged with DUI this month after he drove into the back of a police car. The driver hit the patrol car driving on Florida 200 about 7:35 p.m. one April evening, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The police officer and his passenger were both taken to the hospital for injuries that were not life-threatening, the newspaper reported. The driver in this Nassau County DUI Case is now facing a first-degree misdemeanor, with a maximum penalty of six months in the county jail.
The level of injury to the officer and his passenger are very important in this Nassau County DUI Case. Had either suffered serious injuries, the suspect would be facing a felony charge instead of just a misdemeanor. DUI Causing Serious Bodily Injury in Florida is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in state prison. In this Nassau County DUI Case, the two victims were taken to the hospital, but primarily as a precaution, the newspaper reported. According to Florida law, serious bodily injury is defined as “an injury to any person, including the driver, which consists of a physical condition that creates a substantial risk of death, serious personal disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.” If there is a crash with serious bodily injury, police can then test the blood of the driver to determine if the driver has alcohol in his or her system. That is not legal in an ordinary Nassau County DUI Case. In fact, if a person is stopped for suspicion of DUI, the driver does not have to submit to field sobriety exercises or to a breath test. Now, refusing the exercises will likely lead to the driver’s arrest and there are other specific penalties for refusing to take a breath test – which is typically done at the jail when a person is being booked. The other side of that coin is a breath test is often one of the biggest pieces of evidence in Nassau County DUI Cases, so that would be one less piece of evidence the state has in the case. The problem is that many jurors sometimes think that a refusal is done for a reason and could be taken as a sign of guilt.
Just as Nassau County DUI penalties escalate when a person is seriously injured, they also go up when a person has multiple DUI convictions on his or her criminal record. That can make it imperative to have a Nassau County DUI Attorney representing you. Many people choose to plead guilty at first appearance court to get out of jail and move on, but that is generally not in their long-term best interest. Our Nassau County DUI Attorneys can discuss the consequences of a plea versus fighting the charge, and will make sure you have all of the information you need at your disposal.
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 Nassau County DUI Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.