A Jacksonville man was arrested this month after speeding away from police in what appears to have been a stolen car. Police started looking for the driver after someone called 911 saying the car was speeding and almost hit a motorcycle, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The chase reached speeds of 70 mph and went through multiple stop lights, but finally ended miles later when police ran the vehicle off the road near downtown Jacksonville, the newspaper reported. The man was arrested at gunpoint, the newspaper reported.
The 19-year-old suspect is charged with DUI, possession of marijuana, auto theft and a handful of traffic violations for laws he is accused of breaking during the chase, the newspaper reported. Some of the traffic violations can be criminal, including fleeing or attempting to elude law enforcement in a patrol vehicle with lights and siren activated. Media reports did not specify if police were in a patrol vehicle or an unmarked car, but it’s more than likely it was a patrol car. If so, the defendant can be charged with a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in state prison. Theft of a motor vehicle is also a third-degree felony with a maximum penalty of five years in state prison. Other charges in this Jacksonville Traffic Case are misdemeanors, but the cumulative effect can be an issue for the defendant. Even though DUI and possession of marijuana are misdemeanors, the fact that the driver is accused of being impaired while leading police on a high-speed chase is likely to be a factor in any plea negotiations or in sentencing if the man is convicted of or pleads guilty to the court.
While the felony charges in this Jacksonville DUI Case have prison time attached, misdemeanors do not. A first conviction for DUI is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana has a maximum penalty of one year in county jail. A DUI on its own, or marijuana possession on its own, would likely be seen differently without the police chase and the stolen car. Prosecutors and judges look at the entire situation when evaluating cases for plea agreements or sentences, respectively, and driving away from police is one way to accumulate a bunch of charges very quickly. Our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney will conduct a full investigation into the charges against you or your loved one and then advise you of the consequences and key elements of the state’s case so you can make an informed decision.
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.