Memorial Day weekend was not that long ago, and many people gathered with friends and loved ones to honor the military. Get-togethers of all kinds often include the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Though there is nothing wrong with adults responsibly enjoying alcohol, there are times when people make the choice to drive after drinking. The criminal justice system takes driving under the influence offenses very seriously, with varying forms of strong punishment for conviction. Law enforcement all across the state of Florida report that they saw a spike in DUI arrests over the holiday weekend, but some say there was a drop in the expected rates.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office reports that its DUI arrests for Memorial Day weekend were more than twice as high as the rate for the same weekend just last year. Officials offered no clear explanation for this phenomena. Three other counties reported rise in DUI arrests made by the Florida Highway Patrol. The FHP says the rate went up by more than 23% compared to last year.
Pinellas County told a different story, however. Officers there say that their DUI arrests dropped compared to last year. The rate went down by almost 50%. Another county that saw its DUI rates fall was Pasco County, which says that only three people were arrested for DUI over the holiday weekend, whereas 11 arrests were made for the same reason last year.
Anyone arrested for a DUI here in Florida has specific legal rights rights and is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court. However, it is also important to note that conviction could mean jail time, a fine or even license suspension. Having a thorough criminal defense strategy will give an accused person the best chance at fair treatment by the judicial system, and working with an attorney may be the most effective way to accomplish that.