A Gainesville Police Department officer stopped the driver for driving without headlights at night. The officer observed the driver’s watery eyes and detected the smell of alcohol. The driver claimed he had consumed 1 1/2 drinks that evening and that he takes Lortab to alleviate back pain. He agreed to perform field sobriety exercises and exhibited great difficulty exiting his vehicle.
During the HGN test, the driver exhibited lack of smooth pursuit in both eyes and failed to keep his head still. He failed to maintain the heel-to-toe pattern and made an improper turn during the walk-and-turn exercise. He did not raise his foot sufficiently high during the one-leg stand and had to use his arms for balance. Additionally, during the finger-to-nose exercise he did not point forward as instructed and he forgot to remove his finger from his nose after pointing. The final test was the Rhomburg balance exercise, during which the defendant estimated a 30-second period at approximately 16 seconds.
He was arrested for DUI and searched. Officers uncovered a receipt in the driver’s pocket, indicating that he had purchased 10 alcoholic beverages that evening. He agreed to provide breath samples, and blew .085 and .080. He was charged with DUI, but pled to the reduced charge of “Reckless Driving with Alcohol” after hiring Meldon Law.