By: Miami DUI Attorney Albert Quirantes
The State of Florida quite rightly devotes a large amount of money to apprehending and charging those that go out on its roads impaired by drugs or alcohol. If there were no penalties, reckless drivers may injure and damage other people’s property without the worry of being penalized. However, when someone is stopped that person expects to be treated fairly, too.
A recent incident reported in the local media described how a police officer who had received an award from the organisation called Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.) was caught wandering around in a hotel hallway in only his underwear. He was also described by a witness as “staggeringly drunk” at the banquet on Friday night where he was honored with a M.A.D.D. accolade. These incidents place into doubt the reliability of such a person when involved in arresting and charging DUI suspects.
Two T.V. stations in Tampa show Michael Szeliga, who is a deputy from Pinellas County, packing a Jameson Irish whiskey bottle into his patrol car and then drive to Fort Lauderdale to the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 Hotel, where the M.A.D.D. award ceremony took place, accompanied by two other deputies.
Szeliga had run courses on how to combat and tackle drunk driving and he was also reportedly to have received a M.A.D.D. decoration for the whopping 100 DUI arrests he had made. I guess he got somewhat stressed out in the process and turned to alcohol himself.
One would think that anyone as important and successful as Szeliga would at least show his respects to the M.A.D.D. conference and not turn up sloshed. He was advised not to attend by Robert Vincent, a local police chief in the Fort Lauderdale area, but apparently took no notice. This incident led to the compiling of a 274 page report.
Hundreds of arrests and convictions occur every year in Florida for DUI offences but if these arrests are being made by officers such as Szeliga how can anyone who is arrested for DUI expect to be treated fairly?
A series of events take place when a police officer arrests a suspected DUI offender and often suspects are intimidated into admitting the amount they have drunk before any tests have been carried out to confirm their level of intoxication. If the arrest goes as far as conducting sobriety tests how can the suspect be sure the tests are carried out fairly by officers such as Szeliga, who has been caught hammered in a public place? Being stopped by a police officer on a busy highway is an intimidating experience at the best of times let alone by someone like Szeliga. Often drivers feel they are forced to make confessions, even if they don’t believe they are guilty.
In Florida, as in all other states of the U.S., if you are stopped for suspected DUI you have the right to remain silent until your Miami criminal defense lawyer is present to direct the questioning and ensure you are treated fairly. If you don’t take advantage of your legal rights to remain silent and ask for an attorney, it will make it more difficult for your Florida criminal defense lawyer to defend you once you have confessed, whether you committed DUI or not. Don’t risk your freedom and future if you have been arrested for suspected DUI. Call an experienced Florida DUI criminal defense attorney to defend you.
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If you have any questions about this or any other DUI or criminal defense accusation, call Miami DUI Defense Lawyer Albert Quirantes at: 305-644-1800 or visit our homepage wwwDUIfirm.com for a direct link to the office or a text message or a map and directions to our office.