A Gainesville Police Department officer observed a vehicle speeding and drive through a stop sign. While following the vehicle, the officer received word that a hit-and-run had just occurred. The vehicle he was following matched the description of the vehicle that had caused the crash. The officer then initiated a traffic stop and made contact with the driver. The driver had glassy eyes, slurred speech, and smelled of alcohol. The driver admitted to consuming one beer that evening. He also claimed that he had pulled into a restaurant parking lot when two people “jumped” on the hood of his car and since they did not appear injured, he left the scene. The traffic crash investigation revealed that the driver had struck a pedestrian who was waiting to cross the road.
A responding officer conducted a DUI investigation. A near-empty Bud Light bottle was found in the back pocket of the front passenger seat and a clear plastic bag containing alcohol was located on the floorboard behind the front passenger seat. The driver consented to field sobriety exercises and performed poorly.
He displayed lack of smooth pursuit and distinct nystagmus at maximum deviation in both eyes and could not keep his head still during the HGN test. He also miscounted and failed to maintain his balance during the walk-and-turn exercise. Further, he used his arms for balance, miscounted, and put his foot down during the one-leg stand. He also failed to keep his eyes closed and head titled back and forgot to point forward during the finger-to-nose exercise. Officers arrested the driver for DUI and subsequently determined that the driver had been driving with a business purposes-only driver’s license. The driver refused to submit to a breath test.
The driver retained the services of Meldon Law. Attorneys assisted the driver with securing a plea bargain with the State, which required probation, community service hours, and fines.