Everyone has lapses in judgement and law enforcement officers are no exception. Earlier this month a hero cop, named police union “Officer of the Year” in 2015, was arrested in Florida for driving under the influence.
Sheriff's deputies pulled over the off-duty officer's pickup truck just before 2:30 a.m. after seeing him driving erratically and running a red traffic light in front of the police station. The officer told deputies he had stopped at a bar on his way home and had three drinks between 9 and 10 p.m. He later said he could not remember how much he drank.
The deputies who stopped the officer said his eyes were bloodshot and he was slow to follow instructions. Because they suspected the officer of being intoxicated, they requested he submit to a field sobriety test to determine his blood alcohol concentration (BAC). In Florida it is called the Blood/Breath Alcohol Level (BAL). The officer refused and was taken to a sheriff's department DUI testing center where three breath tests registered .220, .195 and .213. Under Florida DUI law, a person is considered to be impaired if their alcohol level is .08 or above.
Much like Washington State, Florida has an implied consent law, meaning anyone who drives a vehicle is deemed to have given consent to have their breath or blood tested. If the driver refuses to take the test, his or her license will be suspended and the refusal can be admitted at a criminal trial.
When the 26-year-old officer was searched, they found he was wearing a paper wristband from a bar and had a beer bottle cap in his pocket. In his truck they found a loaded handgun in the center console, as well as two empty beer bottles. The officer was taken to jail and has since been relieved of his duties with the police department while the investigation is ongoing. The officer has been with the department since early 2013.
If the officer is convicted of DUI, a first conviction can result in up to nine months in jail, a fine of up to $2000, and 50 hours of community service or an additional fine of $10 per hour of service not completed.
In 2015, the officer was named “Officer of the Year” by the local Fraternal Order of Police Union after providing first aid to a man whose throat was slashed while he slept on a public bench, saving his life. That same year he also disarmed a man with a gun.
Everyone makes mistakes. Regardless of the circumstances, anyone charged with driving under the influence deserves the best defense. If you have been arrested and face criminal charges, call the Seattle law office of Steve Karimi at (206) 621-8777 or contact him online.