A man from Fort Walton Beach, Florida was stopped by an Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Deputy after nearly hitting a police car in the area. 

Local police arrest a suspect from Fort Walton Beach for DUI

Police said that an officer was stopped at a red light in the area of Mary Esther when the situation began. The officer noticed that the car approached from behind his vehicle at a high rate of speed, then suddenly braked so hard that the tires squealed to avoid hitting his vehicle. The dispatcher confirmed that they had received a call about a reckless driver in the area moments earlier. 

When the officer stopped the vehicle, he noticed that the driver appeared to be intoxicated. After physical exercises and a chemical breath test, the 29 year old male suspect was arrested. The breath results showed a .290 and .284 blood alcohol concentration, which is almost four times the legal limit in Florida. 

The suspect was charged for possession of an open container of alcohol in the car, reckless driving, and driving under the influence. 

Drunk driving charges and serious penalties

While DUI cases are some of the most common criminal charges in Florida, the penalties have become more and more serious over the years despite the fact that anyone can face a drunk driving charge. 

A first offense is a first degree misdemeanor includes a license suspension, fines, community service hours, probation, and other conditions that cannot be changed because these are set by a mandatory minimum in the state statute. Subsequent charges can include jail time and more severe driving restrictions, including a permanent loss of driving privileges. Due to the gravity of these penalties, it is important that an experienced lawyer is defending your interests and reviewing all of the state’s evidence. 

The news story above contains a situation where the defendant had a very high blood alcohol reading. In these situations, prosecutors in Florida are allowed to enhance the penalties against the defendant. This can include larger fines and more time under a supervision or counseling program for people with alcohol problems.

Potential gaps in the state’s case

Because a DUI case involves traffic law, chemical evidence, and many other complexities, it is common for police officers to make mistakes which can cause the state to reduce or dismiss the charges. The initial traffic stop must be conducted for a specific reason that is listed in the Florida traffic statutes. Any breath test or chemical evidence must be collected and preserved in a very specific way. The field sobriety exercises done at the scene should also be performed in a clear, well lit area to show that the defendant had a fair chance to complete them. A defense attorney may be able to get crucial pieces of evidence excluded if any of this was not done properly. 

Learn more about the possibility of a defense

Fort Walton Beach DUI attorneys can assist you with a defense against the state’s charges. To get more information about how a defense lawyer can help, contact ASG Legal

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