Florida Soccer Coach Arrested On DUI Charges
Police say that a soccer coach at an area boarding school failed multiple sobriety tests before they relieved him of his vehicle. According to police, they pulled the vehicle over for failing to maintain a lane. The deputy who pulled the vehicle over said that he immediately smelled alcohol on the driver’s breath. The deputy said that the driver’s eyes were bloodshot and watery with dilated pupils. When asking the driver whether or not he had any drugs or alcohol, the driver responded that he was taking an antibiotic for a toothache. The deputies asked the man to perform several field sobriety tests, none of which they claim he passed. He was charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Alcohol and pupil dilation
Alcohol causes a number of effects on the bodies and your eyes are not exempt from those effects. Nonetheless, you have to be pretty drunk to have these symptoms. Too much alcohol makes it difficult for the muscles in your eyes to focus properly resulting in blurred or double vision. Dilated pupils are a telltale sign of inebriation because muscles in the iris expand causing pupil dilation. Those who have had (way) too much to drink can have difficulty focusing their eyes as they lose control of the muscles. None of this is good for driving and would result in having a great deal of difficulty maintaining a lane.
What makes matters worse is that since our pupils are dilated, it becomes that much more difficult to handle brighter lights. Those who are very drunk are slower to adapt to changes in lighting. In high-contrast situations like night driving, it takes an extra few seconds for your brain to process what’s happening. We need that reaction time to make split-second decisions.
Why no breath test?
It’s unclear from the article whether or not the police officer administered a breath test. In cases like these, it would be typical for an officer to do so, especially after making a suspect do several field sobriety tests. Nonetheless, you don’t need a blood or breath test to prove that a defendant is drunk. You can be convicted on the word of the police officer alone.
As an example, states that have legalized marijuana don’t have what’s called a per se statute for marijuana intoxication. That means that scientists can’t agree on how much marijuana is intoxicating or a standardized test that can determine how high someone is at the time. In those cases, the police will not rely on forensic tests to convict a DUI suspect, they will rely on the officer’s accounting of the events to determine if the elements of DUI are met.
In those sorts of cases, the police officer needs to prove that the defendant was operating their car unsafely. Then they need to prove that the defendant was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A per se DUI prosecution need only show that the defendant has a BAC above or at .08. However, the prosecution can still pursue charges if the per se criteria are not met. So, even without a blood or breath test, the police officer’s accounting of events would likely be quite damning.
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FL DUI Group handles cases involving DUI defendants. Call our Florida DUI defense attorneys today to discuss your situation in more detail, and we can begin preparing a strong defense to the charges.