Florida Man Tests Limits of What it Means to “Drink and Drive,” Fails

According to a report published at Tampabay.com, a 69-year old Vero Beach man decided to take the law’s prohibition against drinking and driving literally—only taking pulls from his bottle of Jim Beam bourbon during stops at stop signs and traffic signals.

Earle Stevens Jr. was arrested in late June after a woman reported him to local authorities because he kept bumping into the back of her car in the McDonald’s drive-through line. Stevens allegedly informed law enforcement that he had been drinking while not driving during his 40-mile trip from Port St. Lucie to Indian River County and that he “felt pretty good.” Stevens also allegedly stated that he has never had a valid driver’s license. Police arrested Stevens for DUI after failing a field sobriety test and blowing a 0.153 on a Breathalyzer exam.

The facts of the case described above are certainly out of the ordinary, and Stevens’s defense will probably not hold up in court as the law prohibits drunk driving, not the act of drinking while driving (although doing so violates Florida’s open container law). That said, an attorney can often raise valid defenses in Florida DUI cases.

Here are some of the most common:

  • The police did not have sufficient justification to stop you – The United States Constitution requires that police have reasonable suspicion that a crime is being or had recently been committed to stop, search, or arrest you. If they cannot articulate the reasons for which they stopped you, any evidence gathered during the stop could potentially get thrown out.
  • The Breathalyzer device was improperly calibrated – Many DUI cases rest heavily on the results of Breathalyzer testing. If your lawyer can show the police officer who administered the test lacked adequate training or did not properly calibrate the device, it can cast doubt on the reliability of the evidence.
  • Alternative explanations for signs of intoxication – The police are trained to look for signs of intoxication, including glassy eyes, slurred speech, poor balance, and the odor of alcohol. Importantly, medical issues that have nothing to do with alcohol intoxication can cause all of these things. For example, slurred speech is often the result of fatigue, and allergies can often cause glassy eyes. In fact, diabetes can even cause a breath odor that smells a lot like alcohol.

Call Meldon Law Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with an Ocala DUI Defense Attorney

If police arrested you for drunk driving, call an attorney as soon as possible. A conviction could result in significant consequences, including substantial fines, probation, community service, the loss of your license, mandatory drug and alcohol testing, and even jail time. The representation of an attorney, however, can often mitigate the penalties you are facing and could even result in an acquittal or the prosecution dropping its case against you. To schedule a free case evaluation with one of our lawyers, call Meldon Law today at (800) 373-8000 or contact us online.

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