A man who was driving the wrong way on a Jacksonville freeway and refused to stop for police is now facing several charges, including a felony. The man was arrested this month after leading police on a four-mile chase before finally exiting the interstate, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The man was driving on the grass inside the emergency lane and narrowly missed being hit by a police officer, the newspaper reported. Once he finally stopped, police reported the man smelled of alcohol and was unsteady on his feet when asked to perform field sobriety exercises, the newspaper reported.
The man was charged with fleeing or eluding police when asked to stop, DUI, driving with an open container of alcohol and driving on the wrong side of a divided highway. Though it might not appear this way on the surface, the man’s biggest problem is the fleeing and eluding charge. That charge is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in state prison. The DUI charge is a misdemeanor and while there is potential jail time, serious fines and a driver’s license suspension, there is not a possibility of time in state prison. The other two charges are civil infractions and, while they could create points and fines in terms of the man’s driving record, they are not criminal charges. When police pull a driver over for suspicion of DUI, there are numerous policies and procedures they must follow, including having a reason to pull the driver over in the first place. Clearly that condition would be met in this Jacksonville DUI Case. Once the traffic stop is made, police must have a reason to suspect the person is intoxicated. Some common reasons in Jacksonville DUI Cases include the driver having glassy or watery eyes; the driver emitting an odor of alcoholic beverages; or the driver having slurred speech. Once that determination is made, the officer can asked the person to take field sobriety exercises. Those will be tested that can include asking the driver to walk a straight line; asking the driver to recite the alphabet; or asking the driver to stand on one leg.
If the officer believes the person is impaired, he or she will be arrested and taken to jail. At the jail, the driver will be asked to take a breath test. The driver does not have to take it, but there are penalties that can kick in immediately if a person refuses. But, by not taking the exam, there is not a record of the blood alcohol content, so it can cut both ways. Our Jacksonville DUI Attorney knows the strict rules and regulations that must be followed in Jacksonville DUI Cases and will thoroughly investigate you case to make sure all of them have been adhered to.
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.