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Fewer people being charged with drunk driving, driving high

In Florida, Miami Beach is one area where curbing driving under the influence has traditionally been a high priority. In fact, nearly 1,300 people were arrested and charged with drunk driving or driving high on drugs in 2010. Since then, however, the figure has dropped significantly.

New statistics from the Miami Beach area show that police recorded only 138 arrests for DUI in 2015. Furthermore, across Miami-Dade County, a little over 3,600 DUI arrests were made last year, as compared to a whopping 6,300-plus were made in 2010. The Florida Highway Patrol also arrested fewer than 400 individuals -- a drop of 30 percent compared to the previous year. One reason that arrests for DUI have been dropping in the past few years is reportedly due to the fact that DUI enforcement has virtually become nonexistent.

There is not one particular reason for the decrease in DUI-related arrests. Some police officers have blamed a lack of necessary support, manpower, and training. Meanwhile, others believe that ride-sharing programs, including Lyft and Uber, have caused a drop in the number of intoxicated drivers on the road. In addition, the police chief in Miami Beach said a lot of his manpower has been dedicated to dealing with heavy traffic versus arresting drunk drivers. Still, a state grant of $100,000 will enable officers in the Miami Beach area other areas to saturate the streets and arrest DUI offenders.

When people are charged with drunk driving or driving high, they have the right to fight the charges at trial. They may also be given the chance to negotiate a plea deal with Florida prosecutors, which could potentially lead to lighter charges and thus a lighter sentence than would be imposed where a guilty verdict be returned after a trial. Defense counsel will fight to protect the client's individual rights and focus on achieving a favorable result.

Source: Miami Herald, "DUI arrests plummet in Miami Beach, across Miami-Dade County", David Ovalle, Jan. 31, 2016

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