Florida DUI Crack Down is Underway


Many of you in Miami and South Florida have seen the commercials touting “Over the Limit, Under Arrest” depicting police pulling over drunk drivers with alcohol pouring out of their cars. These commercials and other initiatives are part of a nationwide effort to crack down on DUI.

As part of this initiative law enforcement has “vowed to arrest everyone found ‘Over the Limit.'” However this statement is misleading and hides the real problems faced by local law enforcement. A suspected drunk driver is not given a breath test until after he is arrested. There are not hand held breath machines used in Miami-Dade or Broward Counties. Instead police officers rely on their observations of an impaired suspect and the extremely complicated field sobriety exercises.

In Florida, DUI officers receive an enormous amount of highly skilled and technical training. These officers, once trained are required to maintain logs of their observations to be compared to breathalyzer results to determine the accuracy of their conclusions. In fact, a truly competent DUI officer can determine a suspects breath alcohol level with out any equipment at all, by performing the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. Unfortunately, officers of this level of competence are few and in high demand.

When a traffic cop who has not had DUI training pulls over a suspected impaired driver, they will radio for a trained DUI officer to appear on the scene to perform the field sobriety exercises. If the results indicate impairment, the suspect is arrested and taken downtown for a breath test. However, if no DUI officer is available then the untrained or undertrained traffic cop must do the exercises himself and make a decision to arrest on only his opinion.

The very real fear caused by this “crackdown” is that as a result of the increased arrests, untrained officers will be left without assistance and encouraged to err on the side of arrest.

Wellington County News- Florida Law Enforcement to Launch Statewide Crackdown on Impaired and Unsafe Driving. Officers Vow to Arrest Everyone Found Driving ‘Over the Limit.’