The Miami Herald reports that an off-duty Miami-Dade police officer has been arrested for DUI involving property damage when he allegedly struck another car at the intersection of Southwest 107th Avenue and Kendall Drive around 3:30 a.m. Thursday, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
There were no injuries reported. The officer is alleged to have been driving his personal car, not his patrol car.
An FHP spokesperson said that the accused off-duty officer refused a breath test.
Unfortunately, since he was involved in an accident, the officer will not be eligible for Miami-Dade County's "Back On Track" DUI diversion program. This program permits first-time DUI offenders to enter into a diversion-like program for a period of six months to one year. Upon the completion of the program, your DUI charge will be reduced to a reckless driving charge and you will be given a withhold of adjudication. If eligible, you may then seal the arrest record.
Since the mandatory minimum sentence for a first DUI is so harsh, many first-time DUI defendants choose to take their cases to trial. Without a breath reading, the only evidence against this officer will be the observations of the trooper who arrested him.
Officer observations include bloodshot watery eyes, slurred speech, flushed face, and an odor of an alcoholic beverage. In fact, if you read a couple of DUI arrest reports, you will realize that police officers almost always list the same signs of impairment, as if they are specifically trained on what to write.
A DUI has consequences, such as the loss of your driving privilege, increased insurance premiums, huge fines, a mandatory criminal conviction, lots of community service hours, and the possibility of jail. For this officer, a DUI conviction would mean the loss of his job.
Eric Matheny is a criminal defense attorney serving Miami-Dade and Broward. Call today to discuss your DUI case. Remember - when you get a DUI, you only have 10 days to set your formal review with the DHSMV. If you do not, you may lose the opportunity to keep your driver's license. Call a DUI attorney as soon as you are released from jail.