HCSO’s DUI Enforcement Squad

If you were arrested for DUI in Hillsborough County, FL, then you probably got a tour of the Central Breath Testing (CBT) Unit at the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO). After a DUI arrest, suspects are taken to the CBT Unit for processing before being booked into the Orient Road Jail.

The Central Breath Testing (CBT) Unit is also home to several Intoxilyzer 8000 machines maintained by HCSO. These breath test machines are used for the vast majority of breath test cases in Hillsborough County (even when the DUI arrest is made by a different agency).

HSCO employes a team of civilian breath test operators who are certified by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) to conduct breath testing. The sheriff’s office also employs an agency inspector who maintains the Intoxilyzer 8000 machine maintained by HSCO.

Each month, the agency inspector conducts an “agency inspection” on each machine. The sheriff’s office also employs an agency inspector who maintains the Intoxilyzer 8000 machine maintained by HSCO. Each month, the agency inspector conducts an “agency inspection” on each machine.

At least in Hillsborough County, FL, most of the local police departments do not maintain their own Intoxilyzer 8000 machines. Instead, these other agencies rely on the HCSO CBT unit to conduct the breath test.

In some cases, the Florida Highway Patrol will bring an Intoxilyzer 8000 machines to the scene of the DUI arrest so that it can be used for roadside breath testing. Even in those cases involving breath testing at the roadside, the FHP officer will still take the person to CBT for processing before booking them into the jail.

Attorney for a DUI Arrest by HCSO

If you were arrested for a DUI in Hillsborough County, then contact a criminal defense attorney in Tampa, FL, at the Sammis Law Firm. We are experienced fighting DUI cases involving a breath test on Florida’s Intoxilyzer 8000. We also fight DUI cases involving a blood test, urine test, or the refusal to submit to testing.

For more than a decade, the attorneys at Sammis Law Firm, P.A., have been fighting DUI cases involving the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. We have attended hundreds of formal review hearings to question the breath test operators and agency inspectors. We have taken these cases to trial to fight for the “not guilty” verdict.

We are familiar with the standard operating procedures used by HCSO to process a person at central breath testing after a DUI arrest. We are also familiar with the problems with the Intoxilyzer 8000 machines maintained by HCSO. Let us put our experience to work for you.

Let us put our experience to work for you.

Call 813-250-0500.

Number of HCSO DUI Arrests Each Year

The number of DUI arrests by HCSO has decreased steadily since 2010. According to the HCSO Intranet (Dashboard) Central Breath Testing Reports Dashboard, the number of DUI arrests per year were reported as follows:

  • 2010 – 2,235
  • 2011 – 1,798
  • 2012 – 1,519
  • 2013 – 1,432
  • 2014 – 1,715
  • 2015 – 1,517
  • 2016 – 1,498
  • 2017 – 1,589
  • 2018 – 1,523

Breath Test Cases Involving HCSO’s CBT Unit

Since August of 2012, Mr. Roger Skipper has been the Central Breath Testing (CBT) Unit Supervisor at the Hillsborough County Sheriffs Office. Mr. Skipper supervises the operations of the central forensic breath alcohol testing unit. His responsibilities include conducting training and maintenance on the breath test machines.

Before the prosecutor with the State Attorney’s Office can move the breath test affidavit into evidence at trial, the prosecutor must call the breath test operator and agency inspector to testify at the trial about how the breath test was conducted and how the breathalyzer is maintained.

Alternatively, the HSCO breath test operator might be a witness to the refusal to submit to breath testing, if the refusal occurred at CBT. If you were accused of refusing the breath test, you might have been taken into a room with video and audio recording equipment so that the reading of implied consent could be recorded.

In addition to running the Central Breath Testing (CBT) Unit, officers with Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office make about half of the DUI arrests in Hillsborough County. Most of those cases involve DUI enforcement officers that respond when dispatched or during self-initiated traffic stops.

The sheriff’s office has standard operating procedures that govern how breath tests must be administered and how DUI suspects are processed through their facility.

When a person refuses to submit to breath testing, the reading of implied consent should be recorded on video. The arresting officer will sometimes use the video equipment at CBT to record the reading of implied consent and the refusal to submit to testing.

Investigations by the HCSO DUI Enforcement Unit

Visit the HCSO website page on Hillsborough County DUI Enforcement. Find out more about the DUI Enforcement efforts of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, including the time and location of all upcoming DUI roadblocks including information about whether a BAT Unit and transport will be provided.

The mobile testing unit is used by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office during DUI roadblocks or checkpoints.

Alcohol Breath Testing Unit Supervisor at HCSO

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office employs an Alcohol Breath Testing Unit Supervisor (also known as the Central Breath Testing Unit Supervisor). The supervisor works in the Central Breath Testing (CBT) Unit and performs technical and supervisory work analyzing the content of breath samples.

The primary duties include supervising a staff of technicians, maintaining the documentation and monitoring the accuracy of the analysis. Duties are performed under the general supervision of an immediate supervisor who evaluates performance through observation of work, periodic conferences, critiques, and/or records and reports.

The supervisor of HCSO’s alcohol breath testing program also arranges work schedules and supervises the activities of the assigned breath test technicians. The supervisor prepares personnel and payroll documents and statistical reports, orders supplies, maintains inventories, and trains breath test technicians in the preparation and maintenance of logs, the operation of breath testing machines, and the use of cameras and recorders in sobriety tests.

The supervisor of HCSO’s breath testing program also maintains a liaison with assistant state attorneys to stay current with applicable statutes, administrative rules, and court procedures. The supervisor reviews tests for accuracy, ensures evidence chain of custody is maintained, and testifies in court about basic alcohol physiology and testing procedures.

According to a recent job posting explaining the requirements of the position, the follow knowledge, skills, and abilities were needed for the Alcohol Breath Testing Unit Supervisor (W2778) 072415:

  • Working knowledge of:
    • state and county laws, ordinances and regulations governing alcohol breath analysis.
    • court procedures and actions.
    • safety measures in the use of alcohol breath analysis equipment and supplies.
  • Skill in:
    • the use of and care of alcohol breath analysis equipment and supplies.
    • making presentations to groups.
  • Ability to:
    • follow established procedures.
    •  communicate effectively both orally and in writing.
    • handle difficult situations involving hostile individuals.
    • handle confidential information.
    • collect, organize, and evaluate data and develop logical conclusions.
    • organize information into a logical presentation format.
    • maintain work-related records and prepare reports.
    • lift and carry up to 50 pounds.
    • use a computer and related software.
  • Ability and willingness to:
    • work outside in a subtropical climate under adverse weather conditions.
    • work rotating shifts to include nights, weekends, and holidays.

According to the job posting, applicants for the position as an HCSO Alcohol Breath Testing Unit Supervisor must meet the following minim requirement(s) to be considered minimally qualified for the job:

  • Graduation from a high school or possession of a GED Certificate; and
  • Four years of experience in alcohol breath testing or related procedures;
  • Possession of a current State of Florida permit to conduct chemical analysis; and
  • Additional Requirements include:
    • Depending on the area of assignment, incumbents may be required to possess various licenses or certifications at time of hire or within the probationary period or obtain them within a specified period of time after hire or appointment to the classification.
    • Possession of a valid Florida driver’s license at the time of employment. Driving history will be thoroughly reviewed and may be grounds for disqualification.
    • No illegal drug sale within a lifetime.
    • No illegal drug use within the past 36 months.
    • No illegal drug use after 30 years of age.
    • No felony convictions within a lifetime.
    • No misdemeanor convictions involving perjury, false statement, or domestic violence within a lifetime.
    • Prior military personnel must not have a dishonorable discharge from any branch of the United States Armed Forces, the United States Coast Guard, National Guard, or Reserve Forces.
    • Successful completion of a criminal background investigation or update including polygraph, reference/employment/neighborhood checks, and medical evaluation.

HCSO’s High Visibility Enforcement Details (HVE)

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office will conduct High Visibility Enforcement Details (HVE) from September 4, 2018, through May 17, 2019. The goal of this enforcement effort is to increase awareness and compliance with traffic laws that protect the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists.

Enforcement efforts focus primarily on education for drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists. However, violations may result in warnings or citations depending on the circumstances.

The HVE details will focus on the following four corridors:

  • Brandon Blvd. between Gornto Lake and Valrico Rd.
  • Sheldon Rd. between Hillsborough Ave. and Linebaugh Ave.;
  • Waters Ave. between Himes Ave. and Sheldon Rd.; and
  • Fletcher Ave. between Bruce B Downs Blvd. and Nebraska Ave.

These locations are over-represented in traffic crashes resulting in serious and fatal injuries to pedestrians and bicyclists.

The HVE details protect the safety of these most vulnerable road users. Recent statistics show that Hillsborough County ranks in the top 25 counties in Florida for traffic crashes resulting in serious and fatal injuries to pedestrians and bicyclists.

HVE details are funded through a contract with the University of North Florida in partnership with the Florida Department of Transportation FDOT).

FIRST ARREST! Deputy Steven Hutcheson is newly assigned to the County-wide DUI Squad. Overnight he made his first impaired driver arrest. For #TeamHCSO, that earns you the DUI pin. Thank you Dep. Hutcheson for keeping our streets safe at night. #DUIarrest #sheriffchadchronister pic.twitter.com/sL8FzPq5Vp

— HCSO #teamhcso (@HCSOSheriff)

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Leslie M. Sammis

Leslie M. Sammis

Jason D. Sammis

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Dominique Celerin

Dominique Celerin

Katherine A. Aranda

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