Prosecutors have reduced a DUI charge against country star Michael Ray, known for his hit singles such as “Kiss You in the Morning” and “Real Men Love Jesus,” to reckless driving after concluding Eustis police didn’t conduct field-sobriety tests properly.
Eustis police failed to give correct test instructions to Ray. Police also failed to inform him of their criminal investigation or provide corroborating body camera footage.
Ray, who turns 30 on April 29, is charged with one count of reckless driving and one count of felony marijuana possession after the singer admitted THC “hashish” oil found on him during his arrest belonged to him.
Eustis police responded to a call 4 a.m. Dec. 20 at the McDonald’s on Bay Street and discovered Ray driving an orange 2012 Jeep Wrangler that had bumped into a blue Scion in front of it in the fast-food restaurant’s drive-through.
Officers claims he had bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, and stumbled while walking and smelled of alcohol. But officers failed to tell Ray they were switching from an accident investigation to a criminal investigation, making all of Ray’s comments made at the scene inadmissible in court.
They also failed to give the proper instructions for field-sobriety tests, two of which Ray failed.
No police body cams recorded Ray performing the field tests because the footage cuts off the lower half of his body and does not provide a stable view.
Mistakes can certainly be made during any arrest, and that includes a DUI arrest. When defending a DUI charge, exposing police errors can have the most successful results, as this case shows.
A police officer must have a reasonable suspicion of misconduct in order to pull a car over. Once the driver is stopped, the officer must suspect that the individual is intoxicated before administering a field sobriety test, otherwise any test administered is considered unjustified. A further investigation of the police report could show flaws in how the tests were administered or allude to any discrepancies.
A DUI is a crime and beating the charge requires legal help. Our Lake County DUI Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton are here to assist you with your DUI matter. We can help you take charge of the situation and establish a powerful defense strategy with the hopes of achieving the most successful outcome.