Police departments around the country now making detection of drunk drivers a priority. This is often done through checkpoints and other operations that are specifically aimed at catching impaired people while they are on the roads. People who are charged will face serious consequences, which is why it is so important to retain the right DUI defense attorney. 

The Fort Walton Beach Police had planned to conduct roadside safety checkpoints to look for drunk drivers and other traffic offenses. 

Local checkpoints to look for drunk drivers

The initial plan was for officers to establish a presence on the city’s roads throughout the holiday weekend. The comprehensive roadside safety checkpoint will check for valid driver’s licenses and other possible violations of the Florida statutes, which regulate traffic and drivers. They also believe that their operations will function as a deterrent to keep motorists off of the road if they have been drinking and know that law enforcement is actively looking for impaired drivers.  

This was partially done as a response to drunk driving statistics from 2017 that show nearly 11,000 people died in alcohol related fatalities. The Driver Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign has also been a priority for NHTSA. The government agency has invested public money into advertising and awareness to try to make the roads safer. About 10,000 people die each year in drunk driving accidents, which is the equivalent of about one person every 48 minutes. There are also growing concerns about drivers who are under the influence of drugs, even if they have not consumed any alcohol before driving. National statistics show that about half of all young people who die in car accidents on holiday weekends such as Labor Day and the Fourth of July had been consuming alcohol.  

Penalties for driving under the influence 

In the state of Florida, a charge for driving under the influence is a first degree criminal misdemeanor. This means that someone convicted will have to serve a sentence that includes fines, a driver’s license suspension, and other penalties including up to 364 days of jail time. While jail time on a first DUI charge is rare, it is always a possibility. When a drunk driver causes an accident or property damage, they may also be ordered to pay restitution or face civil lawsuits to pay for the victim’s injuries.   

Many people also find that having a DUI conviction on their record has long term consequences regarding their ability to find employment, along with increased car insurance rates for several years. 

Possible defenses after charges are filed

Keep in mind that after an arrest, the state still needs to prove that a person was actually drunk through a valid traffic stop, chemical test, and other forms of evidence. If a defense attorney can establish that any element of the crime has not been proven beyond all reasonable doubt in this manner, their client cannot be found guilty. 

Talk to a local DUI attorney

To get more information from a Fort Walton Beach lawyer who focuses on DUI defense, contact ASG Legal. They can provide advice regarding the penalties associated with your case and possible defenses.