Once I became a Jacksonville criminal lawyer, I immediately started working at the Duval County Public Defender Office. As a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney and assistant public defender, I was assigned J-1 duty. That means that I was the criminal attorney in first appearance court for bond hearings. Under Florida law, defendants go to a bond hearing within 24 hours of their arrest in Jacksonville. On holiday weekends, the jail courtroom would be packed. People had been arrested for disorderly intoxication, disorderly conduct, assault, battery, possession of marijuana, underage drinking, and other crimes.
Most of these arrests center around Florida’s alcohol crimes. Jacksonville driving under the influence is one of the most popular criminal charges on holidays and holiday weekends. The 4th of July is no different. Downtown Jacksonville has fireworks and a lot of people gather in the area for the festivities. Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, Jacksonville Beach, and Ponte Vedra in St. Johns County are also popular places to go on the 4th of July.
When I am involved in a DUI case or a leaving the scene of an accident charge, I am the criminal lawyer defending the person arrested for the Jacksonville driving offense. A week ago, I was on the other side of a hit and run case. On the 4th of July, a drunk driver hit me in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. He did not hit my car. He physically ran into an entire bike rack and myself. Afterward, her fled the scene of the accident. If the police would have found him and pulled him over, he would have been charged with driving under the influence. He was extremely intoxicated. He would also have been charged for the hit and run. This is known as leaving the scene of an accident in Jacksonville. If the police did not find him until later, he will only be charged with leaving the scene of an accident. DUI and leaving the scene accident are both criminal charges in Florida. A drunk driving arrest is much worse and carries harsher penalties, including a mandatory Florida probation sentence.
The reason that a DUI charge will not stick unless the driver is found soon after driving or the accident is due to a lack of evidence. In Jacksonville driving under the influence cases, the police need evidence to prove that you were driving under the influence to the point that your normal faculties were impaired. If the driver leaves the scene of the accident, the “driving” element can be proven with witnesses that were at the scene. The rest of the elements are going to be much more difficult for the Duval County prosecutor to prove. Although witnesses can testify to how drunk the driver was, there is no evidence to prove it. There is not a breath test, blood test, urine test, DUI video, or any police investigation.
If you are given a ticket for a traffic violation, you should talk to a Jacksonville traffic lawyer. If you have been contacted by police to talk about a possible Florida hit and run charge, talk to a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney first. If you are arrested for a criminal traffic charge, the sooner you hire a Jacksonville DUI lawyer, the better. Call 20 Miles law at (904)564-2525 to speak to a lawyer in Jacksonville.