Hollywood City Attorney Jeffrey Sheffel was arrested on DUI charges on March 12 after he allegedly crashed his vehicle onto a sidewalk on the Hollywood Boulevard bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway.
The city official faces two DUI charges that include DUI with damage to property or person, DUI with alcohol or drugs, and a citation for driving on a sidewalk. He was held overnight and was released on Monday after posting $1,500 bond.
According to news sources, the crash occurred a little before 6 p.m. on Sunday. Sheffel, 57, purportedly ended up with his 1998 Lexus pinned between an inner guard rail and concrete wall along the bridge. He had to climb out through the driver’s side window to exit the vehicle.
Sheffel allegedly told the first police officer to arrive on the scene that he had “too much to drink” and had drunk “too many beers,” the arrest report says. He reportedly smelled of alcohol, had watery eyes, and appeared confused. Sheffel declined to take a breath test twice but agreed to perform voluntary field sobriety tests. He failed the tests and was placed under arrest.
Because of Sheffel’s position, the Hollywood police who arrived at the scene of the crash asked officers from Broward Sheriff’s Officer to handle the investigation and prevent any appearance of conflict. Sheffel has worked as Hollywood city attorney since May 2008. It is still unclear if his arrest will affect his job as city attorney.
Sheffel reportedly told the press that he had “fallen asleep at the wheel but was not drunk.” He said his drowsiness was caused by lack of sleep, being out in the sun all day at Hollywood city’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, and missing his dose of diabetes medication. He intends to fight the charges.
Hollywood City Commissioner Debra Case told news sources that she believes Sheffel is “an awesome attorney” and that she doesn’t think “he should lose his job over this.“ She told the press that she had some beers with the city attorney after the St. Patrick’s Day parade but she didn’t know where he went after that.
Former Mayor Peter Bober and current Mayor Josh Levy have also offered their support to Sheffel, sources say. Levy told the press that this is “an occurrence of first instance for him” and he hopes Shefell seeks help if he needs it. Both men hope that Sheffel will get to keep his job.
Sheffel isn’t the first Hollywood city official to be arrested on DUI charges. In April 2012, former City Manager Doug Hewett was charged with a DUI. Hewett resigned after less than four months on the job.
The Florida Legislature has passed some of the most stringent DUI laws in the U.S. because of all the fatalities in the state that have been caused by drunk driving. Jail time usually varies depending on the type of DUI case, but as a minimum requirement, drivers convicted for driving under the influence usually receive a combined sentence that includes community service, fines, vehicle immobilization, driver’s license suspension, classes on drunk driving, psychosocial evaluation, court costs, and restitution where applicable.
Source: 3.13.17 Sheffel DUI Arrest.pdf