It is the job of police officers to enforce the laws in Florida. This means they are in charge of stopping people, conducting investigations, and then giving the evidence to prosecutors to charge people for the crimes they are suspected of committing. However, police officers are not above the law.
Recently an off-duty police officer found this out when he was arrested for a DUI. The officer was also charged with damage to property. The officer was arrested in the early morning hours on New Year’s Day. The reports available at the time did not detail the conduct of the officer which led to the arrest, but the officer was put on paid administrative leave while the criminal case was pending and an internal investigation into the incident was being completed.
This officer, just like any other person arrested for a DUI, has rights after being charged. He is not guilty at this time and is still innocent of the crimes. He may have criminal defense options available to him, just like other individuals who are charged with DUIs. The defenses usually start with whether the police had a valid reason to stop him. Police also need to have a valid reason to conduct field sobriety tests and administer them correctly. The tests used to determine his BAC must also be conducted correctly. So, there are many steps law enforcement must follow, leaving the door open for errors to be made. These errors, when spotted, can serve as the foundation of a strong criminal defense.
This DUI charge may be one of the first in Florida this year, but many more people will be charged throughout the year. People who are charged with DUIs face serious consequences such as driver’s license suspension, jail time, fines, and other penalties. However, these penalties cannot be implemented until prosecutors obtain a conviction. If the crime is not proven beyond a reasonable doubt, then an accused individual may be able to avoid the harsh penalties threatened. Consulting with an experienced attorney in order to understand one’s rights could therefore be beneficial.