DUI Prosecutions in Florida

I have seen the methods and tactics of law enforcement in Florida in driving under the influence cases greatly improve over the last ten (10) years or so. Now, there are special units within almost all law enforcement agencies who’s job it is to specifically detect DUI (drunk driving) drivers. These roving units are sometimes called “DUI Task Forces.” Officers of these units are sometimes given awards based on the number of arrests they make. Both the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office and Pensacola Police Department have these units.

Most of the squad cars belonging to a DUI task force officer have video cameras that film the driving pattern which may give an officer probable cause to make a stop. Once stopped, and while the officer is at the window of a person’s vehicle, everything being said is also being recorded. The officer wears a wireless remote microphone on his uniform that will record everything the driver says. Many jurisdictions also have a mobile breath testing unit that will respond to the scene where the officer has arrested a suspect. This way, there can be no argument that the person’s blood alcohol was not over the legal amount while he was driving even though an hour later when given the breath test at the jail the alcohol content had risen over the legal amount. Also, after the arrestee is placed in the back of the squad car everything he or she may say is also being recorded. Once case my young lady client, who was so demur and nice to the officer up until the time he arrested her, cut loose with some of the most profane and vulgar language I have ever heard while the officer was searching her car. Her sweet, demur image was tarnished to say the least.

The bottom line: people should not drink and drive. If you don’t, you don’t have to worry about these roving squads of well trained specialists just waiting for a drunk driver to make a wrong move. Different studies have indicated somewhere between 40% to 60% of the drivers on the road after 1:00 a.m. are legally under the influence of alcohol.