Florida DUI Arrests on Limited Resources
The number of DUI arrests in any jurisdiction is a reflection of how the law enforcement agencies in that community allocate their resources. Since 2004, DUI arrests have been down in Sarasota County and Manatee County. DUI arrests increased in Pasco County and Hernando County during the same period.
DUI investigations require that law enforcement agencies divert additional officers from responding to emergency and non-emergency calls. DUI officers must spend more time at the scene, completing paperwork, and in court hearings and trials than non-DUI officers.
Florida law enforcement agencies are forced to make increasingly difficult decisions about allocating limited resources.
DUI Arrests Down in Sarasota County
According to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, only 579 DUI arrests were made in 2007, compared with 1,158 DUI arrests in 2004. DUI arrests in Sarasota County dropped 40% in that three-year period. Officials in Sarasota County attribute the drop to a reduction in nighttime DUI and traffic enforcement units that make the majority of DUI arrests.
The DUI enforcement units typically work more overtime hours and are required to spend more time completing arrest paperwork, attending hearings and trials, and completing continuing education classes and DUI training seminars.
DUI Arrests Down Statewide
Throughout Florida, DUI arrests dropped six percent from 2004 to 2007. Estimates show that the number of DUI arrests may drop another 5 percent in 2008. DUI arrests in Manatee County dropped by 9 percent from 2004 to 2007.
DUI arrests in Hernando County increased by 23 percent from 2004 to 2007. DUI arrests in Pasco County, Florida, increased by 25 percent from 2004 to 2007.
DUI Arrests Up in Hillsborough County
The number of DUI arrests in Hillsborough County was 6,760 in 2004. In 2005, the number of DUI arrests in Hillsborough County grew to 7,134. Hillsborough County has the dubious distinction of having more DUI arrests than any other county in Florida, even though Hillsborough County is only the state’s fourth-largest county.
Part of the reason for the shift in DUI arrests across the state since 2004 can be attributed directly to the change in how DUI and criminal traffic fines were collected.
Follow the Money
Between 2004 and 2005, the City of Tampa lost nearly one million dollars as a result of a change in the law that now allows the Hillsborough County Clerk of Court’s Office to collect criminal traffic and DUI fines, which previously went to the City of Tampa. The change resulted from legislation from 2004 that required the state to administer Florida’s criminal traffic cases, including DUI cases.
Municipalities did not realize the impact those changes in the law would have on their budget. The City of Tampa reports that its revenues from those DUI and criminal traffic fines have fallen between 16-45%.
The Florida League of Cities reports that Tampa lost nearly $950,000.00 last year from DUI and criminal traffic fines. The City of Tampa officials are considering cutting expensive and time-consuming DUI enforcement units since the city is not now receiving any compensation for those DUI cases.
The City of St. Petersburg lost nearly 16% of its DUI and criminal traffic revenues, or nearly $260,000 in 2004 after the change took effect. The City of Clearwater lost 45% or almost $370,000 after DUI fines and court costs started going directly to the Pinellas County clerk’s office.
If you have been arrested for DUI in Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, or any of the surrounding areas, contact an experienced DUI attorney in Tampa, Florida, to discuss the particular facts of your case.
Call 813-250-0500 for a free consultation.
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