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Florida DUI Defense Attorney > Blog > DUI Defense > Did a Florida Police Officer Open a Bottle of Liquor to Charge a Tallahassee Man with DUI?

Did a Florida Police Officer Open a Bottle of Liquor to Charge a Tallahassee Man with DUI?


After the arrest of a 56-year-old Black man in Tallahassee, Florida on DUI charges, leaked body camera footage appears to show an officer opening a sealed bottle of alcohol. Whether or not the officer opened a sealed bottle of liquor is important to the man’s case. The officers are alleging that the container was opened by the driver in violation of the law.

The driver was pulled over during a routine traffic stop in May 2023. Officers determined that the driver was driving on a suspended license. In Florida, officers can decide whether to ticket or arrest a driver who is driving on a suspended license. However, if they discover a second offense, such as driving under the influence, they are required by law to make the arrest.

Body cam footage shows a female officer speaking to the man before calling another officer for backup. The officer alleges that the man smelled like an illegal substance. The two officers discussed asking the man to perform a voluntary sobriety test. He refused. The officers then placed the man in the back of the patrol car while they searched his vehicle.

The ensuing search yielded no marijuana. However, one of the officers discovered a small sealed bottle of liquor that she then opened. The sound of the seal cracking is audible. Then, you can hear the sound of the officer pouring out the liquor from the bottle. She is also visible on the other officer’s body cam dumping the liquor from the bottle. She then throws the bottle into the back of the defendant’s car.

Body cam footage appears to show the officer implying that the bottle was open and the contents were in a thermos inside the defendant’s vehicle. This would trigger the second offense that required the officers to issue an arrest.

The two officers then called a third to the scene to assist with the arrest. The third officer is told that there was “a bunch of alcohol stashed” in the car and that the container was open. The arrest report cites the open container as the reason for the DUI charge. The arrest report also indicates that the defendant told the officer he had a couple of drinks at an area bar before he was pulled over.

The defendant was arrested for driving under the influence. He says that the incident cost him work and forced him to surrender his car after missing several payments.

During a pre-trial hearing, the officer who dumped the liquid testified that she opened the bottle herself and poured the alcohol out citing a police department policy against the impounding of liquids as evidence. However, no such policy exists and, in the arrest report, the officer accuses the defendant of opening the bottle himself.

Talk to an Orlando, FL DUI Attorney Today 

FL DUI Group represents the interests of Orlando-area residents who are facing DUI charges. If you’ve been charged with DUI, give our Florida DUI lawyers a call as soon as possible. We can help you fight the charges, negotiate a plea, or get the charges dismissed.



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