Whenever a famous person or a public figure here in Florida beats a DUI charge, many people assume that the person got off easy because of his or her status and connections. A number of people have recently jumped to such conclusions about Kerry Kennedy, who has been found not guilty of drugged driving. As a member of the storied Kennedy family, many have said that she was treated like American royalty in the case.
The repercussions a drunk driving arrest can go far beyond fines and jail time. Your reputation is also at stake, even if the prosecution fails to prove its claims. In fact, under Florida law, even a DUI charge that was dismissed is still accessible to the public and remains on your record. That is, unless you take legal steps to have your arrest record sealed or expunged.
All drunk driving arrests are not treated equally under Florida state law. The unique circumstances of each DUI arrest determine how serious the resulting charges will be. There are a number of factors that can automatically result in elevated charges. For example, DUI arrests that follow car accidents or that involve children or drivers with criminal records all lead to higher level charges.
Last week, we discussed the extremely high-profile DUI arrest of pop star Justin Bieber. In an interesting turn of events, it has since been reported that a South Florida police officer is now under investigation for reportedly trying to take a photograph of Bieber while he was in police custody.