A Gainesville Police Department office observed a vehicle in front of him stop his entire vehicle in the crosswalk at a red light. When the light turned green the driver turned left and during this turn, the vehicle veered to the far left side of his lane with the tires on the double yellow center line. The driver continued to drift to the far left of his lane and the officer initiated a traffic stop. The driver continued with no indication that he knew the officer was trying to make a traffic stop. The driver finally made an abrupt stop after traveling several blocks and making another turn.
Upon making contact, the officer immediately noticed that the driver had bloodshot, glassy, and watery eyes and a dazed look on his face. The driver claimed to have not stopped sooner because he was looking for a safe place to stop. The driver had an odor of alcohol emitting from his breath when he spoke. The driver admitted to consuming one or two drinks earlier that evening. The officer requested that the driver complete field sobriety exercises and the driver agreed to comply. During the horizontal gaze nystagmus the driver had a lack of smooth pursuit in both eyes with a distinct and sustained nystagmus at maximum deviation. During the walk and turn the driver stopped to steady himself, missed steps, stepped off the line, and incorrectly turned. During the one leg stand the driver used his arms to balance, put his foot down, and counted multiple numbers twice. The driver was arrested and refused to provide a breath sample.
The driver retained Meldon Law and we were able to negotiate with the State Attorney’s office. Originally, the state wanted the driver to plea to DUI and receive the typical fines associated with a first offense and an added 50 hours of community service (for 100 hours total). After further negotiation the driver was allowed to plea to the reduced charge of reckless driving with alcohol. The court withheld adjudication and the driver received the minimum penalties for this charge.