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For DUI Stops in Jacksonville, What is the Most Important Factor in Determining Whether the Police Officer Will Make an Arrest?

It may be the personal characteristics and personality of the police officer that determine whether you will be arrested for DUI (also referred to as DWI, drunk driving and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs) in Jacksonville, Florida. Much of the evidence that a police officer uses to support a DUI arrest is subjective- i.e., slurred speech, strong odor of alcohol or marijuana, bloodshot eyes, swaying, behavior consistent with being drunk or otherwise intoxicated, inconsistent answers and of course, the results of a field sobriety test. If a particular police officer decides that you failed the field sobriety test or are exhibiting signs of intoxication, he/she will likely make an arrest.

A study of DUI arrests by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration confirmed that the difference in characteristics among police officers is a very important factor in determining whether a DUI arrest will be made or not. The study showed that a police officer’s age and experience are important factors in DUI arrests. Younger, less experienced police officers make more DUI arrests than older, more experienced police officers. Not surprisingly, police officers who do not drink are much more likely to make a DUI arrest than those who do drink. A police officer nearing the end of his/her shift is less likely to make a DUI arrest than one early in the shift. If the police officer perceives the driver as uncooperative, the officer is more likely to make a DUI arrest. Specialized traffic enforcement police officers are more likely to make DUI arrests than police officers with general duties. The less a police officer has been educated about how much alcohol consumption is required to cause a driver to be over the legal limit, the more likely the officer will sympathize with the driver.

In Jacksonville, Florida, a DUI arrest has serious potential penalties and ramifications from jail time to a prolonged license suspension. Given the serious nature of a DUI charge, it is disturbing to see a study that shows the many arbitrary factors that would lead one police officer to make a DUI arrest while another may not that have nothing to do with whether a driver actually committed the crime. As it turns out, maybe the last police officer you want to see after having a couple of drinks at dinner is a young, new police officer in the DUI enforcement unit who does not drink and is just starting his/her shift.

However, it is important for your criminal defense attorney to understand these different characteristics of police officers and their significance as they relate to a DUI arrest for when it comes time to cross-examine the police officer at the trial.