Hoecherl, 62, faces a DUI charge. He was booked into Palm Beach County Jail and was released on his own recognizance. It is unclear if he has acquired the services of an attorney.
According to the arrest report, a Florida Highway Patrol trooper found Hoecherl’s department-issued vehicle stopped on the shoulder of southbound I-95 near Gateway Boulevard in Boynton Beach. The vehicle matched the description of one that was reported for traveling with a flat tire on the interstate.
The trooper noted that the vehicle was missing a rear tire and was sitting on the rim. The driver, identified as Hoecherl, smelled of alcohol and had slurred speech, the report said. He agreed to take, and allegedly failed, a series of field sobriety tests. He was taken to jail, where he reportedly refused to submit a breath sample.
Hoecherl has been a fire rescue division chief since May 2018. He was previously the Fort Lauderdale Fire Department fire chief for five years.
Cases of driving under the influence aren’t uncommon in South Florida, but they can sometimes lead to injury. Last month, Miami Police Officer Mario Gonzalez suffered injuries after being struck by Belkis Salgado, who was reportedly intoxicated at the time.
Salgado, 33, was charged with DUI causing serious bodily injury and DUI. Her bond was set at $10,000. The press did not name an attorney for her.
According to Miami police, the alleged incident occurred at around 3 a.m. September 12 at NW 14th Street and NW Third Avenue. Gonzalez was sitting in an unmarked patrol car, blocking access to a construction site, when Salgado allegedly crashed into him.
Gonzalez was off-duty at the time. He was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital with head trauma and a broken shoulder blade. He was released later that day.
It is unclear if Salgado was injured in the crash. She reportedly had slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, and an alcoholic odor. She wasn’t cooperative when taking field sobriety exercises and reportedly refused to take a breathalyzer test, the arrest report said. She was taken into custody on suspicion of driving under the influence.
Florida has some of the toughest DUI laws in the U.S. because of all the deaths, particularly of youth, that were the result of drunk drivers. Law enforcement agencies are required to enforce those laws with a zero tolerance standard, and as a result, the state prosecutes a large number of DUI cases every year.
A DUI conviction will have a combined sentence that includes several requirements, such driver’s license suspension, vehicle impoundment, drunk driving classes, psychosocial evaluation, community service, court costs, fines, and restitution if appropriate.
First-time DUI offenses that don’t involve any injury or death might be charged as a misdemeanor, which is why it is important for anyone charged with DUI to hire an attorney to guide them through the legal system and help them obtain the best possible outcome.
South Florida DUI Attorney