Case Number: 2013CT006149
Location: Polk County
Result: Reduced to Reckless Driving
Defendant was stopped by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office for failure to maintain a single lane. Once he was stopped, Polk County Sheriffs observed an open container in the vehicle and signs of impairment including bloodshot, watery eyes, slurred speech and an odor of alcohol coming from his breath. On video, defendant performed the field sobriety exercises and indicated to the officers that he wasn’t familiar with the area but he had been drinking earlier that evening.
During the HGN, the walk and turn and the one-legged stand, the officers determined that the defendant exhibited signs of impairment. Upon review of the video by defense counsel Stephen Higgins of the law firm of Finebloom, Haenel & Higgins, the negotiations with the State Attorney indicated that the observations of Polk County Sheriff’s Office were not as strong as the officer’s subjective opinion included in the police report. Over the course of several months of negotiations, Stephen Higgins was able to get the charge amended from a DUI to a reckless driving, preventing the client from having a court- imposed license suspension and keeping the DUI off his record.