A Gainesville Police Department officer observed a vehicle that had a dim passenger headlight which was not illuminating the roadway. The officer conducted a traffic stop for the headlight and upon making contact with the vehicle immediately observed a strong odor of alcoholic beverage emitting from the driver’s person and breath. The driver had glassy, watery, bloodshot eyes and slurred his speech. The driver had extremely dilated pupils. The officer requested that the driver perform field sobriety exercises and the driver complied.
During the horizontal gaze nystagmus exercise, the driver lacked smooth pursuit in both eyes and his eyes jerked at maximum deviation and prior to 45 degrees. During the walk and turn, the driver missed many steps, took the wrong number of steps, and didn’t count out loud as directed. During the one leg stand, the driver was swaying and approximately 15 seconds off the required count. During the finger-to-nose exercise, the driver missed the tip of his nose on every attempt except for one. During that exercise, the driver fell backwards, almost falling down.
The driver was arrested and following implied consent agreed to provide breath samples, which were 0.088g/210L and 0.088g/210L.
The driver retained Meldon Law and we were able to work with the State Attorney’s office to allow the court to withhold adjudication of the reduced charge of reckless driving with alcohol. The driver was able to receive minimal sanctions as a result of the reduced charges.