A West Palm Beach man has been arrested on charges of not only DUI, but also child neglect after a motorist reported a drunk driver with a child inside the vehicle, The Palm Beach Post reports.
This has become a new trend in Florida and nationwide that is slightly troublesome. Law enforcement officers are leaning on drivers who are untrained in what constitutes driving while intoxicated to be extra sets of eyes on the road.
While there are some instances where it may seem obvious that a person is driving while intoxicated — if they’re swerving heavily or starting and stopping abruptly — there are also often explanations for these poor driving habits. There have been examples of bees stinging drivers or medical problems that have led to them appearing drunk.
So, officers are being sent out on calls from drivers who don’t have the real training to detect drunken driving in West Palm Beach. This is setting a scary precedent for drivers everywhere.
Being falsely accused of DUI may be one of the worst things that can happen to a person. West Palm Beach DUI defense lawyers have represented many clients who were falsely accused and had to fight the stigma of being arrested for years after a not-guilty verdict or when charges were dropped. Sadly, people take a police officer’s word over their own friend’s sometimes.
In this case, a motorist called police after they suspected a man was driving drunk with a child in the car. When police arrived, they found a 50-year-old man driving in a car with his 12-year-old son.
The man allegedly told the deputy his son was sick and needed medical attention, but when asked, the boy shook his head no “with a look of embarrassment on his face,” the officer’s report states. The boy said he was fine.
The man then said his son was going to help him install a raccoon trap. The arresting officer noted in a report that the man didn’t smell like alcohol, but had slurred speech and appeared to be “sluggish” and “dazed.”
The man told the deputy that he takes several medications, yet he was arrested. The boy’s mother came to pick up the child.
It’s possible that despite doctor’s orders, the medications the man was taking could have caused an adverse reaction without his knowledge. DUI can not only apply to alcohol, but also drugs. But the man clearly hadn’t had any alcohol, since the deputy noted specifically that he didn’t smell like alcohol.
While people may see this story and scoff and get offended by the man’s alleged actions, this could be explained as simply a mistake. There is often more to the story than just what the initial police report states and that’s why the criminal justice system provides a checks-and-balance to these cases. That’s why every defendant is entitled to a fair trial. No one should be subjected to arrest without all of the facts coming out.
If you are arrested in West Palm Beach or elsewhere in South Florida, contact Leifert & Leifert at 954-523-9600 or 561-988-8000 for a free consultation.
More Blog Entries:
Florida DUI Penalties Can Be Stiff; Fort Lauderdale DUI Attorney is Key: May 16, 2011
West Palm Beach man arrested for allegedly driving intoxicated with son, 12, in car, by Cynthia Roldan, The Palm Beach Post