The recent tragic death of Donna Chen has raised concern about police officer’s role in preventing DUI accidents from happening. As recently as today, the family of Donna Chen issued a statement blaming the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Department for not stopping the alleged drunk driver before he got behind the wheel of his car. The family claims that deputies knew the driver was intoxicated and should have taken measures to prevent him from driving away from Siesta Key Beach. The family plans to petition to ban all alcohol from Siesta Key Beach.
Although a criminology expert was quoted by the Sarasota Herald tribune as saying that deputies could have stopped the driver by offering him a cab, seizing his car keys or talking him as he walked down the beach, Sarasota DUI criminal defense lawyer Darren Finebloom states otherwise. “Without knowledge of a crime having occurred, police officers are not permitted to detain a person on a ‘hunch’ that they may do something illegal in the future,” says Mr. Finebloom. Doing so, he states, would allow police officers to bypass the 4th Amendment, which provides the right of people to be free from unreasonable search and seizure.
Mr. Finebloom is a partner with Finebloom & Haenel and can be reached at Darren@fightyourcase.com