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Deputy arrested for drunk driving refused breath test

Most residents of Orange County are likely aware that sometimes severe consequences go along with a drunk driving conviction. People may not be aware however that depending on the circumstances surrounding an arrest, penalties may be assessed even without a conviction. A woman recently arrested in nearby Volusia County is experiencing this first hand.

The 37-year-old, who was a deputy for the county, was arrested last month for DUI. At the time of her arrest, though not on duty, the 14 year veteran of the force was in her patrol car. Upon being asked to submit to a breath test, records indicate that she refused. It is not clear what prompted the initial traffic stop.

When someone suspected of driving drunk refuses to submit to a breath test, it is possible that refusal could translate into a 12 month driver's license suspension. This is in addition to any consequences that could arise as a result of a criminal conviction. The license suspension is addressed at an administrative DMV hearing where it is possible that a lawyer who handles drunk driving cases could build a defense that prevents a license suspension from occurring.

The woman in this case faced another consequence as a result of her arrest that is not tied to a criminal case. She lost her job after an internal investigation into the arrest was completed. The investigation determined that the drunk driving arrest constituted a violation of the department's policies. While this does not happen to everyone arrested for DUI, depending on one's occupation, it is a possibility.

The outcome of the criminal case against the woman has yet to be determined. She pled not guilty to the drunk driving charge.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, "Volusia deputy fired after DUI arrest," Susan Jacobson, Nov. 21, 2013

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