A strange story about an Ocala Florida arrest where a woman’s car is stopped on train tracks, forcing a train to stop. She was subsequently arrested for drunk driving.
One of the interesting parts of the story is that registered as under the legal limit on a breath test machine. According to the news report, she recorded a .077% on two different tests, which is just shy of the legal limit for intoxication of .08% BAC under Florida law.
A drunk driving prosecution can, and presumably will still be pursued despite this fact. According to Florida DUI laws, a breath test or blood alcohol level at .08 or higher is no the only legal standard of guilt for drunk driving. You can be arrested, charged, and convicted of drunk driving with any BAC level if there is sufficient proof that you are under the influence and/or impaired to a degree that your faculties are reduced.
However, the fact that she is technically under the legal limit is certainly evidence that she may well have not been impaired. The case will likely hinge on other behaviors, and evidence gathered at the scene.
The police say that she failed field sobriety tests, among other subjective assessments at the time of the arrest. Field sobriety tests can often be successfully challenged in court by a knowledgeable defense attorney. There are many reasons a person can fail a field test, and not be impaired. And police often administer them incorrectly, again their very training, which can cause the results to be completely invalid.
Other police statements in the news report are that she was unsteady on her feet, and her eyes were glassy and bloodshot. Again, there can be reasonable explanations for any of these conditions, and the question is also valid to ask – “Compared to what”? What are the normal conditions of her balance and eyes? Presumably the police have never met her before.
Again, this is all wild speculation based on a flimsy news report. But most any Florida DUI defense attorney would love to fight a case with a breathalyzer result under the legal limit. The result will be admissible in court, and may flip the balance and burden of proof. The prosecutors will have to establish legal intoxication despite evidence that she was under the legal limit.
After a thorough review of the actual evidence in the case, such as the police report, a smart DUI defense attorney will know what to expect in court, what the police officer will say, and how to challenge those claims with plausible explanations.
If the prosecutors and police witnesses can’t establish, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the individual was impaired and guilty of a crime, then she should be found not guilty.
If you have been arrested on a Drunk driving / DUI / DWI charge in Florida, please contact our statewide attorneys for a free consultation. You will get an opportunity to have a legal case evaluation with an experienced attorney in DUI defense, who knows your court, and knows the law. And there is no obligation for our advice. Talk to us, and talk to other attorneys if you need to. Whatever it takes to make sure you get the best attorney you can find.
But don’t delay, contact us today.
Umatilla crime scene cleaning says
I think you should be convicted of drunk driving even under the limit if it can be proven the alcohol did impair your judgment. We all need to be aware of what we can handle, and be safe. We are adults after all.
That is true, and that is the law as it stands in Florida. However, the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt is a bit higher when you have evidence collected by the police that proves she was under the legal limit.
So now, they have to prove that, though she was under the limit, her driving was impaired. It is certainly possibly, but a much tougher case to make.
Thanks for commenting.