Our Palm Beach County criminal defense lawyers know this is a nightmare situation for any parent. Not only are you having to contend with the possible criminal sanctions, there are the sanctions you will face within your community, potentially from your employer and maybe even from the Department of Children and Families.
The outcome could very well impact the trajectory of your life, and the relationships you have with those in it. These are not cases you can afford to leave to chance with a public defender or with an inexperienced private defense lawyer.
In the state of Florida, if you are arrested for DUI and also have a minor passenger under the age of 18 in your vehicle, the state will enhance the existing DUI penalties by imposing additional sanctions of up to 9 months in jail and a $1,000 fine or 1 year in jail and a $5,000 for repeated offenses.
In this case, according to the arresting officer, the defendant was spotted swerving and hitting the curb as she traveled on Jog Road. Then the vehicle slowed – to 25 miles per hour in a 45 mile per hour zone.
The officer pulled her over, and as he approached the car, the officer noted she was looking in her mirror and grabbing some gum on which to chew. (This doesn’t necessarily mean anything from a legal standpoint, but of course the officer is trying to insinuate that she was nervous and trying to mask the smell of alcohol on her breath.)
The woman’s daughter was in the backseat.
The officer said the woman seemed confused. When the officer asked for her driver’s license, vehicle registration and insurance card, he said she simply stared at him for several seconds. She then handed him her insurance card and stared blankly again before loudly stating he still needed her license and registration. She then fumbled for those items in her purse.
At some point, the woman told the officer she had been sipping coffee, but had drank no alcohol. She then pointed to a foam coffee cup with a straw that was in the console. When the officer asked to see it, he said, he found a liquid that was clear and smelled strongly of alcohol.
The officer then requested that she perform several roadside sobriety tests, which she reportedly failed. At one point, she said she would not be able to close her eyes without falling.
She then agreed to submit to a breathalyzer test, where the officer reported a blood alcohol level of 0.238 percent. A reading this high is always a concern for us as attorneys for several reasons. To start, breathalyzers are notoriously unreliable and have been known in many cases to produce inaccurate and inflated results. A reading of 0.238 is approximately three times the legal limit. If this reading were accurate, this woman’s blood alcohol level was just a few percentage points shy of potentially lethal alcohol poisoning.
Contact the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert, a Palm Beach Partnership of Former Prosecutors, at1.888.5.DEFEND.
Greenacres woman, arrested while riding with teen daughter, now faces DUI charge, Jan. 24, 2013, By Toni-Ann Miller, Palm Beach Post
More Blog Entries:
Child Neglect Charges Filed Against Boca Raton Mom, Dec. 28, 2012, Palm Beach County Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog