A Gainesville Police Department officer clocked a vehicle traveling 48 mph in a 35 mph zone. The officer stopped the vehicle and made contact with the driver.
The officer detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the driver’s breath and the driver had bloodshot and watery eyes. The officer conducted an HGN exercise and detected all indicators of impairment. The driver then refused to submit to field sobriety exercises. The officer placed the driver under arrest. The officer then made contact with the vehicle’s passenger and noticed two cups with liquid in them in the console. The passenger stated, post Miranda, that her cup contained a mixed drink and the driver’s cup contained beer. The driver declined to provide breath samples and was charged with DUI.
The driver retained Meldon Law and during a formal review hearing, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles determined that the officer lacked probable cause to believe that the driver was under the influence of alcoholic beverages while operating a motor vehicle and set aside the suspension for failing to provide a breath sample. Following this decision, we were able to negotiate with the State Attorney’s office. The State’s initial plea offer was for a DUI conviction, but we were able to bring that charge down to reckless driving with alcohol, which has significantly lower penalties than a DUI conviction.