Off-Duty Officer Arrested for DUI

November 29, 2022 Drunk Driving/DUI

Driving under the influence of alcohol or illicit substances can carry extensive consequences in Florida. A recent case in Florida shows the outcome of an off-duty officer who was driving while intoxicated by over three times the legal limit.

This article will provide details from the case, along with information on DUI offenses in Florida. 

What was the Case?

Leopold Louis, 42, was arrested in Hollywood, Florida after being involved in a hit-and-run accident. Louis has been a Miami-Dade police officer since 2017 and has since been suspended without pay.

According to the report, the crash happened at North 20th Avenue and Polk Street, but police later tracked Louis down and located him driving his marked patrol vehicle on a Federal Highway.

Carlos Diaz, one of the Hollywood Police Officers who caught up to Louis stated that the off-duty cop smelled of alcohol and had “watery, bloodshot eyes and was unable to maintain his balance.”

“[Louis] continued to state his friend in the marked unit was waiting on him,” Diaz wrote. “[But] the marked unit in the area was his.”

The responding officers had Louis complete a battery of field sobriety test, which he failed. A standard field sobriety test is a battery of three tests: (1) the horizontal gaze nystagmus, (2) the walk-and-turn, and (3) the one-leg stand tests.

Louis later gave consent for a breathalyzer test, which showed he had a blood alcohol level of .223%, which is close to three times the State’s legal limit.

Officer Louis was charged with a first-offense DUI, DUI with property damage, and leaving the scene of an accident with an unattended vehicle or property.

The following is a statement from Miami-Dade Police Director Alfredo “Freddy” Ramirez regarding the incident:

“This officer placed the public in danger in the same vehicle that the community has entrusted as a symbol of protection. I will not tolerate any representative of the Miami-Dade Police Department to jeopardize the community’s trust. We will allow the Hollywood Police Department to conduct their investigation with complete transparency and have faith in the judicial process.”

DUI First Offense in Florida

In Florida, it is unlawful for a person to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle if they are under the influence of alcohol or other substances. According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), driving under the influence (DUI) of an alcoholic beverage, chemical substances, or controlled substances is considered a criminal offense. To prove that an individual has violated Florida DUI laws, authorities must be able to prove the driver’s normal faculties were impaired, or their blood alcohol level was above the legal limit of .08.

Florida Statute section 316.193 states that a person is guilty of a DUI offense if they are in actual or physical control of a vehicle, and:

  • The defendant was under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substance in section 111, or any controlled substance under section 893, and caused the driver’s normal faculties to be impaired; or
  • The defendant had a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood; or
  • The defendant had a breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.

The following lists the various penalties for a DUI offense, depending on if it is a first or subsequent offense:

  • First-time DUI offense – A fine between $500 and $1,000, and imprisonment for up to six months; If the blood alcohol level was .15 or higher, or if the vehicle had a minor in it, the fine is between $1,000 and $2,000, and no more than nine months of imprisonment.
  • Second DUI Conviction – A fine between $1,000 and $2,000 and imprisonment for no more than nine months; If the blood alcohol level was .15 or higher, or if the vehicle had a minor in it, the fine is between $2,000 and $4,000, and no more than twelve months of imprisonment.

To learn more about the penalties for multiple DUI, follow our link here.

Leaving the Scene of a Crash

Florida Statute section 316.063 explains the duty that the law imposes on a person upon damaging an unattended vehicle or other property. Any driver who crashes or collides with another vehicle or property which is unattended, which results in any damage to the other vehicle or property, shall be required to immediately stop, locate, and inform the owner of the crash.

The driver responsible for the collision must provide the owner of the vehicle or property with their name, address, and registration number.

If the owner of the vehicle or property is not there, the driver must leave a notice in a conspicuous place and then notify the nearest office of authorized police authority.

Any person who fails to comply with the above law can be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor. A second-degree misdemeanor in Florida carries a penalty of up to a $500 fine or up to 60 days in jail.

To read more about the possible consequences and defenses available for leaving the scene of an accident, go to our informative page here.

Finding a Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida

Driving under the influence is a criminal charge that is harshly prosecuted in the state of Florida. Individuals convicted of a DUI offense may face expensive fines, imprisonment, and the possibility of losing their license. If you or a loved one have been accused of a DUI offense, we strongly advise speaking with a skilled defense attorney in your area.

Don Pumphrey and his team have years of experience representing clients accused of DUI offenses. Our attorneys vow to stand by your side throughout the length of the legal process. We’ll make it our top priority to fight for your future. Contact Pumphrey Law Firm today for a free consultation at (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message on our website.

Written by Karissa Key

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