A drunk driving arrest is not just a frightening experience - it also places a suspect’s constitutional rights at stake. By knowing what to do during and after a drunk driving arrest, suspects can protect their rights under state and federal law. The legal advice of a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney can also help DUI suspects protect their constitutional rights during the criminal case process.
Some Things to Know About a Drunk Driving Arrest
First, it is important to remember that suspects have the right to remain silent, and should use it, too. Even such simple questions as “have you been drinking tonight?” can elicit incriminating information which will later be used to prosecute the suspect. Politely decline to answer any incriminating question without an attorney present.
Second, many DUI suspects are surprised to learn that they have already given legal consent to alcohol tests. Florida’s implied consent law is codified at Section 316.1932 of the Florida Statutes. Like other implied consent laws, this statute creates a legal presumption that drivers who exercise the privilege of operating a motor vehicle within the state give consent to a chemical test to determine the presence of alcohol or controlled substances in their bodies. Such testing must be performed incidental to a lawful arrest, and the officer must have reasonable cause to believe that the driver was in actual physical control of the motor vehicle while under the influence of alcoholic beverages or controlled substances. Once these criteria are met, the driver’s consent to blood or breath tests may be presumed by law. If the driver refuses, his or her driving privileges will be suspended for one year. A second refusal results in driving privileges being revoked for 18 months.
Third, it is important to realize that no one - not even law enforcement officers - is immune to the temptation to drink and drive. The Daily Commercial reports that a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Deputy was the tenth employee of that Office to be arrested in 2017. Shortly after the Office’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month campaign, the deputy was charged with domestic battery for biting his wife. He had also been suspended from the Office for 20 days in 2010 after a drunk driving arrest. Records showed he had a blood alcohol level of .12 after his 2010 arrest.
The Demographic Makeup of Jacksonville DUI Arrests
News 4 Jax analyzed data on 2015 drunk driving arrests in Duval, St. Johns and Clay counties, including Neptune, Atlantic and Jacksonville Beach. The investigation revealed that men were three times more likely than women to be arrested for DUI. Men between the ages of 30 and 39 made up the largest group of arrestees. These arrests were most likely to occur near the beaches. They were also most likely to occur between 9:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m.. Saturdays and Sundays were the days of the week with the most drunk driving arrests.
Contact a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after any DUI arrest. The sooner a criminal defense attorney becomes involved on a case, the better he or she will able to protect the defendant’s legal rights.