The Federal Bureau of Investigation is currently developing a system that Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers believe could have a far-reaching impact on DUI law. The Law Enforcement National Data Exchange, known as N-DEx, will aggregate information about individuals arrested throughout the United States. Currently operating in only a few locations, the FBI intends to expand the program to the rest of the country, including south Florida, within the next two years. The shared information could lead to higher bail or enhanced penalties based on previous arrests in other cities or states. By the same token, DUI attorney, William Moore Criminal Defense, claims that such data may be used to combat unconstitutional practices employed by law enforcement. “DUI Road Sobriety Checkpoints will especially come under fire. Particular DUI investigator practices will be brought to light by the system as well.”
Law enforcement officials can share detailed information about crimes and arrests through N-DEx. The details of a DUI arrest, such as the name of the driver, the car he was driving, his home address, and his blood alcohol level would be available. Police can post pictures of the scene, property damage, or people who are arrested. All criminal history will be shared between police departments from Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco. N-DEx will provide investigators will links between people, property, and geographic locations that would not otherwise have been available. The system will provide real-time information to law enforcement agencies only insofar as the information is submitted in a timely fashion. The agency requesting data about a person or arrest need not contribute information in order to access information posted by other agencies. There is no requirement that the police departments update their information regularly, so outdated information may appear current to other users who are unaware of new developments.
Police will be able to search by the location, type of crime, property or vehicle, specific characteristics of the crime, and the people involved. The system will show information about an individual’s prior arrests, incarceration, and other criminal penalties or contact with the police. While users will have the option of controlling how much information about a specific arrest or incident is shared, the default mode of the N-DEx system is to share all available information with every law enforcement agency using the system.
Some criminal defense attorneys are concerned about the privacy and the potential for misuse of the N-DEx system. Right now, there are no penalties at all if a law enforcement official misuses the system, although the FBI could elect to revoke that user’s access in the future. Because each agency can have an unlimited amount of users, the information on the N-DEx system may not be tightly controlled within an agency’s office. The system also typically keeps the data indefinitely, rather than discarding personal information after a period of time. The indefinite retention is an issue particularly concerning to nonviolent and one-time offenders, including many people arrested for DUI. For instance, if you are arrested for DUI and the charges are later dismissed or a jury finds you not guilty, the information about your arrest could be stored forever – and the law enforcement agency may not update it to reflect the outcome of your case or your innocence.
This is just an example of a consequence of a DUI arrest. If you have been charged with DUI in Florida, contact William Moore Criminal Defense, P.A., which has experienced south Florida DUI lawyers with offices in Fort Lauderdale-Dade, Broward, and Fort Lauderdale Counties.
See the N-DEx website.
Article contributed by Mallory Shipman, Attorney-at-Law.