By Caleb Robinson

The Orlando Police Department recently arrested an Apopka police offer for allegedly driving under the influence. 31-year-old Sara Muni was arrested after crashing into another driver. She also allegedly pushed the other driver and blocked his path and opened his car door while stating she was a police officer.

She reportedly smelled of alcohol, was swaying and unsteady on her feet, and refused to take a breathalyzer test. Muni was not on duty at the time of her arrest. She now faces charges of driving under the influence, false imprisonment, burglary, and battery. She has been placed on administrative leave while the investigation is ongoing.

Sara Muni apopka police officer arrested for dui in orlando

Under Florida law, driving under the influence is a misdemeanor charge. Because Muni was involved in a car crash, she will likely face enhanced DUI penalties. These include a maximum sentence of 6 months in jail or 12 months on probation, a fine of $500, DUI school, as well as vehicle impoundment, a vehicle interlock device, and 50 hours of community service. Damaging another person’s vehicle in a car accident also exposes Muni to civil liability.

The additional charges she faces of burglary, false imprisonment, and battery likely arose from Muni’s behavior of blocking the other driver in, refusing to let him leave and opening the car door without the other driver’s permission. Entering another person’s car does qualify as a burglary under Florida law. Burglary of a conveyance, a third-degree felony, occurs if a person enters or stays in a conveyance (in this situation, another person’s car) with the intent to commit a criminal offense inside it, except when the conveyance was open to the public or you were licensed or invited to enter the conveyance. Because Muni was not on duty while this incident occurred, she did not have a legal reason to enter the other driver’s car. If convicted, Muni faces up to 5 years in prison for this offense.

False imprisonment, a third-degree felony, is defined under Florida law as forcibly, by threat, or secretly confining, abducting, imprisoning, or restraining another person without lawful authority and against her or his will. If Muni is found to have committed this offense, she will face a maximum of 5 years in prison. The prosecutor will likely argue that because Muni refused to let the other driver leave after the crash, she committed the crime of false imprisonment.

The final charge Muni faces is battery. Simple battery is a first-degree misdemeanor. Because of that, Muni faces up to one year in jail for this charge. The offense of battery occurs when a person: actually, and intentionally touches or strikes another person against the will of the other; or intentionally causes bodily harm to another person. If Muni has been previously convicted of simple battery, she will face a third-degree felony for the crime of battery, because Florida law imposes harsher penalties for a second misdemeanor conviction. This would increase her exposure for this crime to 5 years in prison.

Because Muni faces several serious charges, she will likely need the assistance of a skilled criminal defense attorney. A defense attorney will likely review all the evidence from OPD’s body-worn camera, as well as any statements made by any witnesses to the incident, including those of the other driver involved. Motions to suppress can be filed if Muni’s rights were violated during the DUI investigation. Additionally, depositions can be taken of any witnesses to create a record of each witnesses’ account of the incident and to determine if they differ at all from the police’s reports.

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