Off-Duty officer injured after being rear-ended by drunk driver

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JSO Accident

According to the Florida Times Union, an off-duty officer was sent to the hospital after the back of his patrol car was hit from behind by another vehicle on Jacksonville’s Southside last weekend. The off-duty officer was headed eastbound on Baymeadows Road when he stopped at a red light near the 8700 block. Another eastbound vehicle struck the back of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office patrol car, causing extensive damage and neck and back pain for the officer. The driver of the other vehicle was arrested for several DUI-related charges. Both the off-duty officer and the passenger from the other vehicle were taken to the hospital. JSO said the other vehicle was moving at a “considerable” speed, with the force of the crash pushing the patrol car into the intersection.

Drunk Driving Penalties in Florida

If you drink alcohol and drive you dramatically increase your chance of being in a crash. In addition, if you are pulled over and the officer asks you to take a blood, urine or breath test you are required to comply. Florida has the “Implied Consent Law”. When you sign your drivers license you have agreed to take these tests upon request. Refusal to take any of the tests will result in an immediate suspension for one year. A second refusal will result in an 18 month suspension.

2011 DUI Statistics

According to Florida DMV records there were 33,625 DUI convictions in Florida in 2011. Of the 55,722 DUI tickets issued in Florida in 2011 – 9,328 were issued by the FHP, 23,649 were issued by police departments in Florida, and 21,868 were issued by Florida Sheriffs departments.

2010 Florida DUI Convictions in the large Florida Counties:

  • Hillsborough County (Tampa) – 3,256
  • Miami-Dade – (Miami) – 2,274
  • Duval County – (Jacksonville Area) – 2,222
  • Pinellas County (St Petersburg) – 1,824
  • Palm Beach County (West Palm Beach) – 1,561
  • Orange County (Orlando) – 1,383
  • Brevard County (Melbourne) – 1,072
  • Broward County (Fort Lauderdale) – 985 

Ignition Interlock

Florida law mandates that any driver convicted of a second DUI have an Ingnition Interlock device installed in their vehicle. A judge may order an Interlock installed on first convictions depending on circumstances.

No one can drink alcohol and still drive safely. Drinking and driving causes accidents and deaths every day and therefore the penalties in Florida are very tough. If you drink and drive the result may be jail time, loss of your Florida drivers license, heavy fines, and much higher auto insurance rates. And a conviction will stay on your Florida driving record for 75 years.

Zero Tolerance for Drivers under 21

Florida has a Zero Tolerance law for drivers under 21. This means that any driver under 21 that is stopped by law enforcement and has a blood alcohol level of .02 or higher will automatically have their Florida drivers license suspended for 6 months. The .02 limit really means that you cannot have a single drink and drive. And that’s the idea.

For drivers over 21 the legal limit in Florida is .08. Regardless of your age be aware that drinking and driving is considered a serious offense. Below we have summarized the penalties in the state of Florida for a first offense DUI, but the average cost including legal defense, fines, and auto insurance increases is $8000.

Florida Penalties for DUI First Conviction

  • Fine – $250 to $500
  • Community Service – 50 Hours
  • Probation – Not more than 1 Year
  • Imprisonment – Not more than 6 Months
  • Imprisonment with BAL of .08 or higher with a minor in the vehicle, not more than 9 months
  • License Revocation – Minimum of 180 days
  • DUI School – 12 Hours

Addtional DUI Convictions

The penalties listed above are for a first DUI conviction. With each additional DUI conviction the penalties in Florida are more severe.

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a drunk driver, contact us at Edwards & Ragatz for a free consultation (904)399-1609 or toll free (800)366-1609.  You can also contact us through our website https://www.edwardsragatz.com or email us at info@edwardsragatz.com.

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