Driving Under the Influence Enforcement
Injuries and deaths resulting from people operating vehicles under the influence of alcohol or drugs are one of the most preventable tragedies in our society today. In Florida alone, 1,169 people were killed in 2008 due to alcohol-related traffic crashes, which was 42 percent of all accidents. Nationwide, more than 11,773 people were killed in alcohol-related traffic crashes in 2008, 31 percent of the total traffic fatalities for the year.
This is unacceptable. Although drinking and driving is a societal problem, law enforcement agencies are often the last line of defense when it comes to preventing the worst from happening. We, however, cannot do it alone. It is not possible to catch every driver under the influence who may be on the road at any given moment. The Florida Legislature has toughened DUI laws over the years, which has helped to reduce the number of first-time and repeat offenders. Cultural awareness of the problem has also helped. Organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving have helped to spread the word about lives ended too soon due to someoneís decision to get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol. The Pasco Sheriffís Office works with students in schools to understand the consequences of making bad decisions, including drinking and driving.
The enforcement of DUI laws is, of course, imperative and it is a responsibility that our agency takes very seriously. The deputies in the Selective Traffic Enforcement Patrol, or STEP, are dedicated solely to the enforcement of these laws, and unfortunately, they stay very busy. In 2009, we arrested 912 people for driving under the influence in Pasco County.
I seriously doubt that most adults can claim ignorance about the dangers of drinking and driving. Donít find out the hard way. At the least, an arrest can cost you up to $8,000 in fines, lawyer fees, towing fees, and the costs associated from lost work hours. At the most, it can cause serious injury or loss of life to you or your loved ones. If you are going to be drinking, DONíT DRIVE. If you might have to drive, DONíT DRINK. If you will be visiting a bar or having some drinks at a restaurant, call a taxi or choose a designated driver who will not drink and will be able to drive everyone home. There is no excuse for driving under the influence. It is our duty to protect everyone on the road. We will be watching.
The Selective Traffic Enforcement Patrol Unit (STEP) uses six deputies supervised by a sergeant to actively enforce traffic laws in Pasco County. STEP focuses efforts on DUI and aggressive driving along with traffic violations that have been shown to be the leading causation of traffic crashes. The STEP Unit also provides additional support to other Operations Command Division units during major events and calls for service.
In 2006, with the addition of a Traffic
Statistician, STEP along with the
Motor Unit and Patrol Operations increased the use of Strategic
Traffic Accident Reduction Tactics (START) which
concentrates additional enforcement efforts at or near high crash intersections.
In addition to their focus on traffic and
DUI enforcement, STEP is also involved with several national and state traffic
safety programs such as "Drunk
Driving, Over the Limit, Under Arrest ;" "Click It Or Ticket;"
and "Stop Light Red Running." Members of the STEP Unit also attend and participate in
the Pasco County Community Traffic Safety Team.
MOC = DUI Mobile Operations Center
of the operation.
Local law enforcement agencies and the Florida Highway Patrol
participate in regular DUI Checkpoints
of the operation. Local law enforcement agencies and the Florida Highway Patrol participate in regular DUI Checkpoints
Traffic Citations Online
Florida DUI Information
(Driving Under the Influence of
Alcoholic Beverages, Chemical Substances or Controlled Substances). s. 316.193,
DUI - DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE PENALTIES
Amounts listed do not include attorney fees.
Pleas: 316.656 (effective 10/1/08), Florida Statutes is amended to read:
Probation: All offenders MUST be placed on reporting probation for at least 6 months. However, you may give up to 12 months. 316.193(5) and 316.193(6)(a)
DUI School: All offenders MUST be ordered to complete a substance abuse course conducted by a DUI program licensed by the department which shall include a psychosocial evaluation of the offender. Any recommended counseling must be completed at the defendants expense. Level I shall be imposed for all first offenders only and Level II for all repeat offenders. 316.193(5)
Community Service: First time offenders MUST be ordered to complete a minimum of 50 hours of community service. The hours may be bought out at a rate of $10 per hour, however you should consider limiting the buyout to no more than half of the hours. 316.193(6)(a)
Court Costs: All offenders MUST pay court costs.
Victim Awareness Program: Although not statutorily required, all offenders SHOULD be ordered to complete the program.
Costs of Investigation: Although not statutorily required, all offenders SHOULD be ordered to pay costs of investigation.
Costs of Prosecution: $50 for MM, $100 for felonies.
No Alcohol: Although not statutorily required, all offenders MAY be ordered to refrain from possessing or consuming alcohol during the period of their probation.
Random Testing at Defendant's Expense: Although not statutorily required, all offenders MAY be ordered to undergo random drug and alcohol testing at the defendant's expense.
FELONY DUI - the following DUIs quality for felony upgrade