The New Year is here, and as did folks across the country, Sarasota County residents celebrated on New Year's Eve. As we discussed around Halloween of last year, police tend to gang up on holidays in an effort to issue an increased number of citations for DUI and traffic offenses. The arrest statistics may make good press for them in the post-holiday news cycle, but for defendants charged with driving while intoxicated, the consequences can last a lifetime.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gathers statistics on traffic accidents, and included in the information they maintain is data sorted by age group. The statistics related to teenage drivers aged 16 to 19 are troubling.
It may come as a surprise to readers of our Sarasota County criminal law blog, but it is possible to be charged with DUI when one is not inside, or even necessarily anywhere near, a motor vehicle of any kind. DUI and traffic offenses can be charged in unconventional situations, but their potential consequences are no less dire.
There are many misconceptions surrounding the famous DUI charge. From consenting to a BAC test to an arrest on personal property, there are no shortages of issues surrounding the DUI. Surprisingly, even the penalties for a DUI can be confusing. It is important for the public to understand the penalties for a DUI so that they can appreciate the severity of the crime and hopefully drive more responsibly. Florida divides the punishment for a DUI into different categories.
At certain times of the year, police take an increasingly aggressive stance toward suspected incidents of drunk driving. New Year's Eve is expected, but the weekend before Halloween this year was another occasion in which the Florida Highway Patrol announced they would target more Sarasota drivers for DUI and traffic offenses.
When a Florida law enforcement official pulls over a driver for suspected drunk driving, that officer may ask the driver to submit to various forms of sobriety testing. The Standardized Field Sobriety Tests are a collection of roadside tests that are nationally accepted to judge a driver's coordination and capacity to drive. The results of such tests can be used as the basis of a driver's arrest for drunk driving, as well as evidence of their impairment once the matter goes to trial.
In Florida, people may be considered guilty of driving under the influence if they meet one of several criteria. If their blood alcohol concentration is or is in excess of .08 grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or .08 grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath they may be considered intoxicated while driving. The use of certain controlled substances also may impose DUI sanctions on a driver found to have them in his or her system.
Like the courts in many other jurisdictions throughout the country, Florida courts may mete out serious penalties when the DUI suspects who appear before them are convicted of their drunk driving charges. While it is not possible to guarantee that one's hiring of a DUI defense attorney will result in an acquittal of their criminal drunk driving charges it can be helpful to a drunk driving suspect to discuss his or her case with such a legal professional so that he or she can understand just what can be at stake.
Accusations of drunk driving are serious legal matters that, if not properly managed, may impact the future of a Sarasota resident. Although legal outcomes can never be guaranteed, and every drunk driving or DUI case must be assessed based on its own unique facts, many individuals who face arrest based on alleged drunk driving charges can benefit from reviewing their cases with criminal defense attorneys.
In Florida, driving while intoxicated is a serious offense. DUI and traffic offenses can be aggressively prosecuted, leaving a defendant to face prison time and high fines, along with other penalties. Drivers should therefore be aware that a crackdown on impaired drivers is happening in the Sarasota area.