Southwest Florida State Representative Arrested for Drunken Driving

hand-cuffsOn Monday April 21, Southwest Florida state Representative Dane Eagle was pulled over after running a red light and striking a curb.  Eagle, 30, was accused of drunken driving and subsequently arrested after refusing to submit to a field sobriety test, according to news articles at Naples News.  The incident occurred in the area near Florida State University.

Eagle had just left a Taco Bell near the university when Tallahassee police noticed him driving in a manner that made them suspect he was intoxicated.  After pulling Eagle over, the police report indicated that Eagle exited the vehicle, then stumbled before falling against the rear passenger side door.  He claimed that he had not been drinking.  When the police officer noticed a strong odor of alcoholic beverages, Eagle said that the reason for the smell was that friends who had been at a bar had been riding around with him.  After refusing to perform a field sobriety test, Eagle told the officer that he was “good to get home.

Eagle filed HB 1435 earlier this year; this legislation would require that elected officials be drug tested within 60 days of being re-elected or taking office.  HB 1435 won’t pass this legislative session, as it did not receive a committee hearing.

Eagle made a statement following his arrest, saying that “While there are some decisions that I would have made differently, I do not believe there is a complete and accurate picture of the events.” The state representative maintained that he had not been drinking.

In Michigan, drivers who are pulled over on suspicion of DUI are not required to submit to field sobriety tests; in fact, a defense attorney would advise motorists to decline these tests in a polite manner.  Even for someone who is sober, standing on one leg or performing a walk-and-turn test may not be easy, and considering that most people who have been pulled over are nervous it is fairly common to fail these tests.  Medical conditions may affect coordination as well.

Driving under the influence is a serious charge, regardless of the state you may reside in.  In the state of Michigan, a conviction for a first drunk driving offense may result in jail time, substantial fines, driver’s license suspension, and more.  Even worse, you may have a criminal record that impacts your career, reputation, and future employment opportunities.  Repeat offenders often face criminal penalties that include years behind bars, driver’s license revocation, vehicle seizure, community service, and more.

Michigan DUI defense attorneys advise that you refuse field sobriety tests and request the presence of a lawyer before answering questions or providing any information.  This is vital in protecting your freedom and reducing the chance that you will further incriminate yourself.  If pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence, call an experienced defense lawyer right away.