The state of Florida routinely makes the news for all kinds of strange crimes. A drunk driver made local headlines when a lemur escaped from his vehicle onto the highway during a traffic stop and several other wild animals were found.
The man from Cocoa, Florida was eventually arrested for DUI and charged with other crimes for transporting exotic animals that were kept on his property while drunk.
DUI stop uncovers wild animals
When the man was pulled over on Interstate 4 near Sanford for suspicion of drunk driving, he was transporting a lemur, a wallaby, and other animals in his trailer. The police on the scene had to chase the lemur along the highway to catch it, and the wallaby eventually died from injuries sustained during the incident.
Apparently, a woman who owned a farm in Illinois had entered into an agreement to lease the animals to the suspect a few months earlier. They were being kept on a property he owned in Cocoa. Rescuers went to the property to seize the animals after the suspect was charged, several of them were missing or otherwise unaccounted for.
When the state attorney assigned to the case finished reviewing the incident, the driver was charged with over 10 different crimes including DUI, leaving the scene of the accident, reckless driving, driving with a suspended license, and several crimes related to endangering the animals on board.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission stated that they were actively investigating the suspect and that he will not be allowed to possess any animals while the case is pending.
What are the penalties for a DUI in Florida?
A standard DUI charge is a first degree misdemeanor in the state of Florida. This means that the defendant can potentially spend up to 364 days in jail. In addition to the possibility of jail time, a conviction or no contest plea will include a license suspension, fines, probation, and other sanctions. If the drunk driving incident involves an accident, property damage, a high breath alcohol reading, or injuries to other people, the penalties may be enhanced. DUI cases that include injuries or fatalities are charged as felonies that can result in a sentence of several years in prison.
License suspensions are a civil penalty, which is handled through a separate process with the department of motor vehicles, and it is possible to fight the suspension with the help of a lawyer. It may be possible to obtain a hardship license to be used for transportation to work and other essential functions, even after a license suspension.
Why are a defense attorney’s services important?
Because of the gravity of these penalties, anyone facing DUI charges needs to have an experienced lawyer on their side. Having to serve a jail sentence or long license suspension can have life changing consequences, including loss of employment and professional licenses. The consequences of a DUI will usually affect someone’s job prospects and finances for several years.
Local lawyers can assist after a DUI charge
To learn more about Florida’s DUI laws and the possibility of a defense, contact Templeton Law, P.A. They can provide expert advice about how to best deal with charges related to driving under the influence in Cocoa and surrounding areas.