Wellington is the Equestrian Capital of the World. Every winter, over 250,000 visitors come to Wellington for its Winter Equestrian Festival. The Winter Equestrian Festival attracts more than 2,600 riders from over 40 states and over 30 countries, and over 7,500 horses. The horse community has become a world-renowned staple in Wellington, and this trend will only continue to grow. Equestrian events have evolved into more than just horse shows. They have evolved into social events and parties. The close proximity to the Palm Beach International Airport allows visitors and part-time residents easy access to and from Wellington.
Whether you are at a horse event or another local establishment in Wellington, the increase in the number of people has led to a stronger police presence for DUIs. In December 2018, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office began a campaign to halt drunk driving and stop underage drinking. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office operation led to twenty-eight (28) DUI arrests in less than two months’ time, along with hundreds of traffic stops. Operations like this are well-intentioned, and a lot of resources are expended for them. As well-intentioned as an operation like this may be, they sometimes cause unanticipated results. Reach out to a Wellington DUI Lawyer for help when you are changed with drunk driving.
WHEN CAN YOU BE ARRESTED FOR A DUI?
Florida Statute 316.193 defines what constitutes a DUI. In short, it states that a DUI is when a person drives a car while under the influence to the extent their normal faculties are impaired or their alcohol level is above .08. There are two ways to prove a DUI. However, when the officer makes an arrest on the side of the road for a DUI, the officer does not know your alcohol level. Under Florida law, a police officer cannot ask for a breath sample until you are under arrest for a DUI. This means that when the officer makes an arrest for DUI, he believes that you are under the influence to the extent your normal faculties are impaired.
This illustrates how DUI is an opinion-based crime. It is the police officer’s subjective opinion that at the time he makes an arrest for DUI, the person is under the influence to the extent their normal faculties are impaired. The field sobriety tests that are given are not tests and are highly subjective. You can read more about the field sobriety tests here.
When a crime such as DUI is opinion-based, an operation designed to net DUI arrests can result in unintended consequences. During the planning of a police operation, the officers involved are repeatedly stressed the goal of the operation. The goal of a DUI operation is to net DUI arrests. The operation would be a failure if it did not result in more DUI arrests than normal. This does not mean that at any given time during an operation designed to net DUI arrests, there are actually more people committing DUIs.
Police officers looking for DUI arrests have confirmation bias. This means that they are looking at every person they encounter as a potential DUI arrest. The instant an officer smells alcohol, they think a person is DUI. Everything the officer observes, they use as evidence to confirm their belief that the driver is DUI (confirmation bias). This has been studied by psychologists since back in the 1960s. These studies have shown that this influences the decisions we make and can lead to poor or faulty choices.
At Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh, our DUI attorneys in Wellington have seen and represented innocent people who have been wrongfully arrested for DUIs. We have represented multiple people who have blown .000/000, meaning they have no alcohol in their system and have had negative blood or urine tests, meaning no intoxicants in their system. This does not mean that officers intentionally arrested innocent people. However, their own confirmation bias can lead to these horribly unintended results.
HOW IS A DUI ARREST IN WELLINGTON DIFFERENT?
Generally, a Wellington DUI arrest is made by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office or the Florida Highway Patrol. It is possible another police agency could make an arrest for a DUI in Wellington, but this would be under very unusual circumstances, as an arrest in Wellington would be outside of their jurisdiction.
Even though you are arrested for a DUI in Wellington, you would be transported to the Palm Beach County jail. Depending on where you are arrested in Wellington, you may be transported to the county jail, which is in West Palm Beach on Gun Club Road, or the county jail in Belle Glade, which is on Southern. The majority of the time, after a DUI arrest in Wellington, you will be transported to the Gun Club jail facility. After release from jail, your first court date would be an arraignment that would occur at the Gun Club Courthouse. The Gun Club Courthouse is attached to the jail facility on Gun Club Road.
Your DUI attorney in Wellington has the ability to move the case from the Gun Club Courthouse to the downtown courthouse in downtown West Palm Beach on Dixie Hwy. There are strategic reasons why your lawyer would keep your case at the Gun Club facility or bring your case to the main courthouse in West Palm Beach.
The rest of the process for a Wellington DUI is similar to other DUIs in Palm Beach County, depending on if it is your first DUI, second DUI, third DUI, or fourth DUI or more.
Contact a Wellington DUI Attorney Now
A DUI has serious penalties from the criminal court system, but just as importantly has far-reaching collateral consequences that can affect your daily life. The collateral consequences can include driver’s license issues, professional license issues, car insurance issues, and work-related issues. An experienced Wellington DUI lawyer can help guide you not only through the criminal court system but also through the unchartered waters in your personal life that are affected.
An experienced Wellington DUI lawyer knows which pitfalls of a drunk driving case to avoid and which loopholes to exploit. A DUI lawyer knows all of this inside out. A lawyer can be the difference between a favorable result and an undesirable outcome. Do not go at it alone and end up on the wrong side of justice.
Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh has three former DUI prosecutors who have litigated thousands of DUI cases. When your life is on the line, you need skilled and experienced advocates fighting for your rights. Call us for a free consultation and find out how we can fight for you.