Six weeks after reports that a police detective crashed into another vehicle and kept going before flipping her unmarked police car, the detective was charged with DUI and three other charges. The detective turned herself in to St. Johns County police last week to face a DUI, along with two counts of DUI causing property damage and another count of leaving the scene of an accident, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The detective is accused of bumping the back of another vehicle and continuing to drive, while people called 911 to report her swerving in and out of lanes, the newspaper reported. The detective eventually flipped the car and rescue crews were called to the scene.
The DUI and the leaving the scene of an accident are both misdemeanors. The DUI causing property damage charges are first-degree misdemeanors with a maximum penalty of one year in jail on each charge. When the crash was first reported, the Florida Highway Patrol said it did not suspect alcohol was a factor, but the detective did give a blood sample at the scene. The case is generating more than normal media attention for a couple of reasons. First, it’s a police officer and, like it or not, stories of officers getting arrested are always going to be of interest to the media. Secondly, the detective is accused of driving drunk in her department vehicle outside the Jacksonville police jurisdiction. Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office employees are allowed to drive their patrol or detective vehicles when off duty. But, when it is outside Duval County, it is supposed to be only to and from work. So there are clearly internal procedures to be looked at in this case, on top of any legal issues the detective is now facing, and the newspaper reported she has been assigned to desk duty for now.
On the St. Johns County DUI itself, the blood test appears to be plenty of evidence for the state. The detective apparently submitted to the test voluntarily, the newspaper reported. Had there been a serious injury in the case, the blood test is mandatory. The reason for the delay in charges in this St. Johns County DUI Case was the wait in the results of the test. Another media report from News4Jax reported it came back more than twice the legal limit of .08. Breath tests and the interpretation of field sobriety exercises are often challenged in court, but blood testing is generally deemed to be more accurate, so it will be interesting to see where the defense goes from here. Our St. Johns County DUI Attorney knows the specific process police must follow when making a DUI arrest and will investigate your case fully to determine if all of the laws were 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 St. Johns County DUI Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.