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Hillsborough law enforcement officer arrested for drunk driving

Across Florida, law enforcement is on the lookout for drivers who might show the signs of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. When a traffic stop is made, anyone can face drunk driving charges -- even fellow members of law enforcement. For these individuals, it is just as important, if not more so, for them to understand the potential penalties they will face, if they are convicted.

An off-duty deputy for the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office was arrested for suspected DUI. The man's vehicle was stopped in the early-morning hours after 2 a.m. As the case was investigated, the driver did not take a breath test. He was placed under arrest for probable cause.

The deputy, 32, has been an employee of the Sheriff's Office for four years. He posted bond and was released several hours later. After the arrest, internal affairs started an investigation. He will be on administrative leave and will not be paid as the case is investigated.

A conviction for DUI can have long-term consequences in myriad ways. The person can face jail time, fines, have a driver's license suspension and need to place an ignition interlock device on the vehicle.

Other consequences that might not be immediately considered are personal and professional. Insurance rates can be higher. If the person has certain jobs, the DUI could result in a dismissal. If they need their driver's license to work, the DUI could lead to them losing the job or not being able to perform it for the duration of the suspension. A defense of the drunk driving charges is vital to avoid these problems.

Perhaps, the investigation was not conducted according to legal protocol. The driver may not have been under the influence at all and a reasonable explanation could justify the perception that he or she was intoxicated. Or there might be alternatives to avoid the worst penalties.

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