Kenny Stabler was a star quarterback in the NFL for many years, many years ago. Apparently, he was arrested on drunk driving charges in Alabama (also referred to as a DWI; in Florida, referred to as DUI or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs). According to an article on Sportsline.com, he was recently acquitted, or found not guilty, of those DUI charges.
The article notes that Stabler refused the request from the police officer to submit to the breathalyzer (the breath test that attempts to estimate blood alcohol content (BAC)). Normally, when this occurs, the state will attempt to use that refusal against the DUI defendant at trial by saying that he/she refused to submit to the breathalyzer because he/she knew the results would show that he/she was impaired or over the legal limit (0.08 in Florida). However, in Stabler’s case, the judge did not allow the state to use Stabler’s refusal of the breathalyzer as evidence to support the DUI charge and found that the state did not meet its burden to prove that Stabler was driving under the influence.
The reason the judge did not allow the refusal of the breathalyzer into evidence at the DUI trial was because the officer did not observe Stabler the entire time prior to requesting that he take the test. In Florida, if a person is stopped and the police officer performs a DUI investigation which results in a request to take the breathalyzer test, the officer must watch the suspect for twenty minutes prior to taking the test. This is because certain things the suspect may do, such as vomit or burp, may affect the accuracy of the breathalyzer tests.
If a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Officer officer or other police officer has investigated you for DUI and there is some question about the validity of your breathalyzer test or refusal to take the test, it is important to speak to a lawyer to make sure all of the rules were followed regarding the breathalyzer test and the request to take one.