Friday, September 2, 2016

DUI Video Saves the Day


A Florida DUI case was reversed following the Second District Court of Appeals conclusion that the circuit court had applied the wrong standard of review.



A Sarasota man was arrested and charged with DUI.  Law enforcement made the arrest for DUI based on their assessment of the man’s level of intoxication during the traffic stop.  The officer testified that the defendant smelled of alcohol, was slurring his words, and had bloodshot and glassy eyes.  The defendant admitted to have been drinking, but advised that he had only one beer and one shot.



A Motion to Suppress was filed on the basis that law enforcement did not have probable cause to make the arrest for DUI.  The key piece of evidence was a dash camera that recorded the encounter.  The county court judge agreed that the video contained no indication that the defendant had slurred speech or was impaired and granted the motion.  The State appealed to the circuit court which reversed the lower court’s order after re-reviewing the evidence.



The Second District Court of Appeal reversed concluding that the circuit court applied an erroneous standard of review as they went beyond determining whether the video on which the county court relied presented competent, substantial evidence to support their conclusions.  It was improper for the circuit court to reweigh the evidence and choose to believe a state witness which the county court chose not to believe. Malone v. State, Case No. 2D15-4460 (Fla. 2nd DCA July 8, 2016).