ST. PETERSBURG, FL (November 17, 2019) — A Pinellas County sheriff’s deputy was hurt when a female, who was later determined to be driving under the influence, crashed into a patrol car. The injured deputy was a passenger in the vehicle. The incident happened at 1:10 a.m. near the intersection of 49th Street N and 38th Avenue N. That intersection lies within the unincorporated Lealman area of Pinellas County, according to The Tampa Bay Reporter. Deputies subsequently charged the 32-year-old operator with DUI and refusing to submit to a chemical test. The deputy who sustained injuries in the crash went to the hospital for treatment and was later released.

Pinellas County sheriff’s investigators reported that the 32-year-old female drove westerly on 38th Avenue N and entered the intersection with 49th Street N. The woman was driving a 2003 Mercury Marquis sedan. At that time, the 45-year-old female deputy sheriff who was operating a fully marked 2010 Ford Crown Victoria patrol car with her 33-year-old deputy partner attempted to make a left hand turn from 49Th Street N to head northerly on 49th Street N. The deputies were on duty at the time.

Reports from the scene indicated that the deputies had a yellow light on 38th Avenue N in both directions when the vehicle entered the intersection. The deputy operating the patrol car turned in front of the other driver. The front of the Mercury Marquis collided with the passenger’s side of the deputies’ car.

Neither driver sustained any injuries in the collision. There was no information concerning the court date for the arrested female.

DUI Charges in Florida

The legal limit in Florida is 0.08% blood alcohol concentration. However, the state imposes an enhanced penalty for drivers who register 0.15% or greater on the breath test even for the first offense. Similarly, when someone dies or sustains a severe injury in a crash with a person who is driving under the influence, then the penalties are enhanced as well.

The collateral consequences of a DUI conviction are substantial as well. The biggest concern for most people is losing their driver’s license. Having a driver’s license today is indispensable. We are nearly completely reliant on the ability to drive, even if we chose public transit when it is available. The loss of license after a conviction for DUI in Florida is at least six months. The license suspension period could be longer depending on whether the suspect took and failed a breath test or claimed to refuse to take a breath test.

Furthermore, a person convicted for a first-offense DUI cannot have his or her license reinstated until he or she attends a driving education class and pays the reinstatement fee. There could be a requirement that the person uses an ignition interlock device, as well.

Criminal penalties for a conviction for a first-offense DUI in Florida could result in a maximum six-month jail sentence, $1,000.00 fine, and 50 hours of community service. The offender could also be placed on probation for up to one year.

Convictions for subsequent offenses ratchet up the potential penalties, license loss, and monetary costs. Jail sentences could be extended to up to one year, with minimum sentences of at least ten days, along with license suspension for anywhere between five and ten years.

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