DUI charges can happen to anyone, even those who are employed by police departments or in other important government positions. However, an experienced defense attorney can help the accused person in a number of significant ways.
A former employee of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office was arrested north of St. Petersburg near the intersection of U.S. 19 and Countryside Mall and charged with driving under the influence.
Pinellas County police employee suspected of drunk driving is terminated
Officers with Pinellas County had spotted the suspect driving on U.S. 19 and instructed her to pull into a parking lot to begin taking a field sobriety test. She admitted to drinking wine at a bar earlier.
After the traffic stop, the dash cam footage showed the woman acting erratically and becoming verbally combative with the officers on the scene. She made comments about serving the department for several years. She also was not able to keep her balance or follow basic verbal commands. The suspect’s breath test revealed a blood alcohol concentration that was approximately triple the legal limit. She asked the officers on the scene to not arrest her, implying that they should make some kind of deal based on her position. The arresting officer reminded her that the department has a zero tolerance policy for DUIs and any officer who is charged will immediately lose their job.
After the incident, the woman was fired from her position with the Pinellas County Sheriff when the DUI charges were formally filed against her. She had worked as a child protection services supervisor before the arrest.
What can a defense lawyer do with such strong evidence against the driver?
While this video evidence mentioned in the news story may seem like a guaranteed conviction for the state, DUI charges are not always easy to prove and there are a number of things a skilled defense attorney can do to have the charges reduced or dropped. This can be significant because, as this story shows, a drunk driving charge can lead to job loss, as well as fines, license suspension, probation, and other serious consequences. Drivers who cause accidents and injuries while drunk may even face felony charges and civil lawsuits.
Keep in mind that despite a suspect being clearly intoxicated, police must still follow proper procedures to stop their vehicle and conduct a breath test and physical exercises, otherwise all of this evidence can be excluded. There are constitutional protections that prevent the government from using information and evidence against citizens in criminal cases unless it was collected properly. This is the purpose of the Fourth Amendment.
Some of these errors can only be discovered after a careful analysis of arrest records, the implied consent forms used before the breath test is taken, and other documentation related to the incident. This is why it is so crucial to retain an experienced DUI defense lawyer and maximize your chances of getting a favorable result.
Get help defending against the state’s drunk driving charges
To learn more about defending against DUI charges in St. Petersburg and throughout Pinellas County, Florida, contact Baby Boomers’ Barrister. You will receive advice and guidance related to your charges and relevant court procedures.