An Ocala man was arrested Wednesday morning and charged with DUI, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, grand theft of a motor vehicle, grand theft of a firearm and driving while license is suspended or revoked because police claim he was driving a stolen vehicle while intoxicated.
When officers with the Ocala Police Department stopped the 62-year-old man allegedly driving a stolen truck they claim there was a loaded .50 caliber black powder rifle beside him in the front seat.
According to an OPD report, a law enforcement officer received a tip that a man who was drinking was driving a black GMC pickup within the city limits in the early morning hours of Wednesday. The officer apparently observed the truck speeding and swerving across the westbound lanes on East State Road 40 near Northeast Eighth Avenue. The officer was able to stop the truck as the driver turned left and headed south the wrong way on Southeast First Avenue.
The report alleges that as the officer approached the man, he started to drink from an open container of Santa Margarita.
Two other officers arrived at the scene for backup. They claim they detected a strong odor of alcohol coming from the man’s breath. The officers asked the man to perform a field sobriety exercise, which he allegedly failed. He was arrested and charged with DUI.
The man apparently told the officers the truck and gun were his, but police claim records show that both items belong to an 83-year-old man who was staying overnight at a hotel in Micanopy. According to the arrest report, he was unaware his truck and loaded rifle were missing. He claims he does not know the accused and left the keys inside the truck when he went to bed at 8 p.m.
Police said the accused has nine felony convictions for retail theft dating from January 2007 to May 2012. His driver’s license has apparently been suspended indefinitely.
He was transported to the Marion County Jail shortly before 8:30 a.m. with bail set at $15,500.
If you are facing a DUI charge in Ocala or elsewhere in Florida, you are probably feeling confused and scared about what has happened to you and are worried about the consequences you face. The penalties associated with a DUI conviction are quite serious, and you could possibly lose your license, be forced to pay hefty fines, have your insurance costs skyrocket and even be required to install an ignition interlock device on your car. You could even go to jail.
A DUI charge can affect your family, career, reputation and freedom, which is why you cannot afford to sit around and wait for these charges to go away on their own. You need the best DUI lawyer you can get, and you may need that lawyer quickly because depending on the circumstances of your arrest, you may only have 10 days to request a hearing regarding the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license. An Ocala DUI Attorney at Whittel & Melton can begin helping you file the appropriate documents to protect your rights and defend your ability to drive in Florida immediately. If you have been arrested for or charged with DUI, feel free to contact us in Ocala at 352-369-5334 or dial us statewide and toll-free at 866-608-5529 to discuss your case free of charge.