You may have seen commercials sponsored by police and other law enforcement agencies warning people that they will be arrested for DUI if they drive drunk. The slogan for the advertisement is, “Over the Limit, Under Arrest.” Of course, in Florida the legal limit for DUI is 0.08.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently announced that they are beginning their annual drunk driving (DUI) arrest campaign. More than 11,000 police and law enforcement agencies all over the country will take part in the effort to make driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) arrests. That means there will be more DUI checkpoints, and police officers will be more inclined to conduct DUI investigations and make DUI arrests after traffic stops. The NHTSA pointed to a survey which showed that approximately 8% of all drivers polled admitted to driving drunk when they thought they were over the legal DUI limit last year.
Obviously, we can all agree that preventing drunk driving is important. However, the issue arises as to who is considered a drunk driver. As criminal defense lawyers in Jacksonville, Florida who have handled many DUI cases, we know how subjective DUI arrests can be. Basically, if a police officer pulls a driver over and believes the driver is intoxicated, the officer can make an arrest. Ninety nine times out of a hundred, that arrest report will say the officer smelled a strong odor of alcohol, was slurring his/her speech, had bloodshot, watery eyes and was swaying. Once a police officer draws the conclusion that the driver is drunk, that assumption will cloud all of the police officer’s observations during the DUI investigation. If the police choose not to have a video camera at the scene, the police officer’s observations cannot be verified objectively. The arrest is completely subjective. And when there are quotas or specific campaigns to arrest drunk drivers for DUI like this one, the line between a drunk driver and a driver who may have just had a couple of drinks with dinner and feels fine is blurred.
Of course, there are many ways to defend against a DUI charge that is based on the subjective opinions and statements of the police officer. If you have questions about DUI law in Florida or have been arrested for DUI, feel free to contact the law office of Shorstein & Lasnetski for a free consultation 24/7.