DUI Charge Dropped for Former Florida Gator

Gainesville state attorneys have dropped DUI (driving under the influence) charges against a University of Florida basketball player in Gainesville, Florida. Dan Werner was arrested in Gainesville for DUI in April of this year. Officers pulled Werner over because of a tag light being out. There was no driving pattern. When police made contact with Werner in his vehicle, they said they smelled alcohol on him. Officers said he did not do well on the field sobriety exercises and arrested him for DUI in Florida. When he blew into the breathilizer, he blew .07 and .065, both under the legal limit in Florida. The Gainesville state attorney’s office said there was not enough evidence to convict Werner of the DUI.

In Jacksonville, people are arrested for DUI every day. When police suspect you of driving under the influence in Duval County, they will make initial observations about the suspect’s appearance, smell, and demeanor. Many times, when someone is arrested for DUI in Jacksonville, the police will notice the odor of an unknown alcoholic beverage on the suspect’s breath. They also note whether or not the suspect has red, bloodshot, or watery eyes and impaired speech, such as slurred, stuttered, or thick-tongued. JSO is also looking for balance issues, such as weaving or stumbling. Once they have two or three of these indicators of impairment, police can ask you to perform field sobriety exercises. Field sobriety exercises are taught to all police officers and they practice them extensively. They are the horizontal gaze nystagmus, walk and turn, one leg stand, Rhomberg Alphabet, and finger to nose. Officers note “clues” of impairment on their reports. Such clues could be not following directions to something as small as stemming 1/2 an inch off of a line in the walk and turn exercise. If, after completing the exercises, the officer determines he or she has probable cause to believe you are driving under the influence, you will be arrested for DUI. Only after you are arrested are you afforded the opportunity to blow into the breathilizer. Even if you blow below the legal limit, which is .08, you will still be facing a DUI charge in Jacksonville.

In Werner’s case, he blew .065 and .07, just below the limit. There was a video of his performance on the field sobriety exercises. Apparently, Werner did well. In Jacksonville, even though you blow below the limit, the state attorney’s office does pursue some low blow cases. They argue that by the time the suspect is transported downtown to blow, time has passed for the alcohol to burn out of the person’s system. The prosecutors look for other evidence of the suspect’s impairment to prove their case.

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