DUI & Criminal Division

On 02/ 20/ 2017 at 0050 hours, Tampa Police Officer observed a cream 2015 Toyota Highlander SUV to be driving SB on Armenia Av S, approaching the red light at Swann Av W. As it was driving, it had on the left turn signal ( it passed several streets but did not turn) and drifted over the broken lane divider line on it’ s right. It then pulled up to the red light, turned off it’ s turn signal and stopped with all 4 tires beyond the stop bar, running the red light and blocking the crosswalk. When the traffic light turned green, the Officer activated his emergency overhead lights and conducted a traffic stop. The traffic stop location occurred at Swann Av W / Moody Av S.

Upon initial contact with the defendant, the Officer requested his driver license, insurance and vehicle registration. He was not the registered owner of the vehicle; he said it was a ” company car”. While handing over his insurance and registration, he also handed an ” operating instructions manual”. The Officer then explained why he stopped him and asked him if he had anything to drink tonight before driving. He answered ” No,sir. I live right down the street.” While speaking to him, the Officer observed red/ glassy/ bloodshot eyes, a blank/ dazed stare, slurred/ mumbled speech, he moved lethargically, had fumbling fingers, he was disoriented ( he thought that he had been pulled over on MacDill Ave S) and a distinct odor of an alcoholic beverage stemming from inside the vehicle. When asked if the Officer could check his eyes, the Defendant agreed . The Officer then asked him to step out of his vehicle The Defendant expressed that he was very nervous ( said that his heart was racing) and that he ‘doesn’ t mean to cause any trouble’. While checking the Defendant’s eyes, his body swayed and the Officer again confirmed the distinct odor of an alcoholic beverage to be stemming directly from the Defendant’s breath. The defendant stated that he has not been diagnosed with diabetes, high blood pressure, any mental illnesses, or epilepsy and does not suffer from strokes or seizures. He is not currently sick or injured and is notseeing a doctor or physician for anything. He did not have any medications or any illegal drug use. When asked again about any alcohol consumption, he stated “Ya… I’ m not.. Uh, no, I’ m not going to do a DUI checkpoint”. When told that this was not a “DUI Checkpoint” he stated “Ya, it’s like I’m being arrested for like a DUI or something”. The Officer then explained that he had concerns that the Defendant was impaired and then asked if he would submit to additional FSE’s, The Defendant stated “Why do you feel that way? No, I’m not willing to do them. I’ m confused. Confused in the way that…” The Officer then explained that he suspected the Defendant of possibly being physically impaired and that is why he is being asked to do FSEs. The officer also explained that failing to do FSE’s could result in consequences. First, any refusal can be used against him in a court of law and secondly, the Officer would be forced to make a decision on whether or not to arrest him for DUI based only on what is known up until this point, including his driving patterns, any indicators observed while making
personal contact and the HGN exercise. After asking him again, the Defendant
said “No, I don’t.”

Based on the totality of all the circumstances, the defendant was placed under arrest for DUI. The Defendant stated that he was unsure whether or not he wanted to provide that sample. Ultimately, the Defendant refused to provide a breath sample.

Result: The state dropped the DUI charge.

Rolando A. Sanchez, Esq.

Originally from Miami , grew up in Central Florida.  After high school, he joined the U.S. Air Force where he worked on F-15E fighter jets as an Avionics Technician.  He was Honorably Discharged. Afterwards, he attended University of Central Florida and received a BSBA Finance Degree, cum laude.  Next, he attended Barry University for law school and among other things, served as V.P. of the Veterans Legal Society.  Since graduating in 2016, Mr. Sanchez has dedicated his career to helping those charged with criminal matters.  These cases include traffic, misdemeanors and felonies, including trials and post-conviction relief. Mr. Sanchez is the lead attorney in Ticket Clinic’s Kissimmee office, handling cases in Osceola, Polk, Hardee and Desoto Counties.