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Clay County sees increase in Sunday DUIs

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Updated: 11/04/2013 8:47 pm
FLEMING ISLAND, Fla.-- It's been nearly a year since Clay County has expanded the amount of time alcohol can be sold. Last November, the taps at Whitey's Fish Camp in Fleming Island couldn't flow until after 2 p.m. on Sundays.

"We would miss a lot of the 12 games and stuff because people wouldn't come to Clay County, they'd go to Duval," said Whitey's owner William Ham.

Now the law has changed so alcohol can be sold as early as 7 a.m. on Sundays.

Whitey's can now serve up suds as soon as they open the doors. Ham said the change has been a major boost for business.

"We've actually created more jobs because of it. We've created two more bartending shifts throughout the week," he said.

But the Clay County Sheriff's Office said it has a new concern: DUI arrests are skyrocketing.

"I went from 56 DUI arrests last year compared to 95 this year in that same time period," said CCSO spokeswoman Mary Justino.

While there's been a definite increase in Sunday arrests related to alcohol, the Sheriff's Office is working to figure out if they correlate with expanded sales hours.

"Keep in mind, we don't know when the alcohol was purchased that the person consumed that lead to the arrest," said Justino.

The Sheriff's Office is digging further into the issue to see if it needs to change any of its patrols on weekends.

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