A Gainesville Police Department officer attempted to stop a driver for failing to yield to a pedestrian. When the officer approached the vehicle he knocked on the driver’s window to demand the driver pull over. The driver made eye contact with the officer, looked away quickly, and sped away. The officer requested assistance from other officers and the vehicle was stopped a few blocks away. The driver was placed under arrest and read his Miranda rights. The driver stated that he drove away because his wife had been kidnapped and he feared the same would happen to him. The driver stated he did not realize the officer was a police officer. According to arrest reports, the driver appeared to be extremely intoxicated and the arresting officer turned the DUI investigation over to another officer.
The driver had a strong odor of alcoholic beverage coming from his person and had bloodshot, watery, and dilated eyes. The driver’s speech was slurred. The officer conducted field sobriety exercises. During the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus exercise, the driver lacked smooth pursuit in both eyes and exhibited a distinct nystagmus at maximum deviation. During the walk and turn exercise, the driver stepped off the line, did not count out loud, and took an incorrect number of steps. The driver stated that he could not do the one leg stand test. The driver was able to successfully perform the Balance Alphabet exercise, but was unable to follow directions and complete the finger to nose exercise. The driver was read implied consent but refused to provide breath samples. The driver was charged with DUI and failure to yield to a pedestrian.
The driver retained Meldon Law and decided to pursue the case to trial. The attorneys filed several motions to exclude and limit evidence. Ultimately, the jury found the driver guilty of DUI. The court issued the minimum sanctions allowed by law and dismissed the citation for failure to yield to a pedestrian.