Marion County, Florida – A 68-year-old Marion County man was arrested and charged with his fifth DUI Tuesday after a deputy stopped him for allegedly driving a lawnmower in the opposite lane of traffic.
A dash camera allegedly captured the man driving his lawn mower in the wrong direction. The man apparently told the deputy that he thought that was the way he was supposed to drive the lawnmower; however the deputy told the man he was not supposed to drive a lawnmower on the street at all.
The deputy claims that after asking the man for his license, he responded that he had not had a license since 1985 due to a DUI.
The deputy asked the man to submit to a field sobriety test. However, the man told the officer he could not perform the test due to his equilibrium being off balance from a brain surgery he had.
The man allegedly told the officer he could not count to 10 because of his equilibrium.
Deputies claim the man failed the sobriety test and then pleaded with the arresting officer to let him go home.
Deputies allege the man had an open beer in the cup holder of the lawnmower, and four unopened beers in the back of the lawn mower.
While this DUI charge may seem strange, the prosecutors representing the State of Florida will argue a riding lawnmower is considered a motor vehicle in pursuit of this DUI, and anyone suspected of operating this type of vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol can be arrested for driving under the influence.
Following a stop for DUI, you will likely be asked to submit to a field sobriety test. It is important to understand that these tests are not very accurate, but can still be used against you as evidence in court. You can fail a field sobriety test for numerous other innocent reasons than simply being intoxicated. In fact, a medical condition, poor balance, vertigo, fatigue, fear, stress, age and most commonly, incorrectly administered tests can result in a “fail.”
It is important to understand that an officer will ask you to submit to a field sobriety test because he or she believes you are impaired. Any mistake or error you make on these tests could serve as an indication to the arresting officer and the prosecution that you were drinking and driving. To make matters worse, seldom will an officer in Florida inform you that these field sobriety exercises are voluntary and you cannot be forced to perform them.
If you choose to consent to a field sobriety test, the officer will likely ask you to perform one or more of the following tests: Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, Standing on One Leg, Walk and Turn, Finger to Nose or they may simply ask you to recite the letters of the alphabet (forwards and/or backwards). Remember, unlike the breath and/or blood tests you have the legal right, with no legal consequences, to refuse these roadside tests. When refusing a field sobriety test, the best way to do so is to tell the arresting officer no thank you and that you wish to speak to an attorney first. Whatever your decision, the Florida DUI Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton will work aggressively on any DUI case, especially those based on an officer’s opinion as opposed to scientifically reliable evidence.