Star defensive player Carlos Dunlap was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) this week just days before the SEC championship game, according to an article on Gatorsports.com. The article indicates that Gainesville police received a call of a reckless driver and found Dunlap stopped at an intersection where the light was green. The police officer approached Dunlap in the vehicle and saw that he appeared to be sleeping at the wheel. The police officer indicated that Dunlap’s breath smelled of alcohol and he had bloodshot, watery eyes. Once Dunlap exited the vehicle, the officer said he had difficulty maintaining his balance and did poorly on the field sobriety tests. Dunlap was then arrested for DUI.
There are a few issues that are raised by this kind of traffic stop and DUI. Police officers are not permitted to stop a driver based on an anonymous tip that the driver is violating the traffic laws. However, the police officer can investigate further and locate the suspect. If the police officer then corroborates the tip with his own observation of a traffic violation, he can make a traffic stop on the driver. Being stopped at a green light is not necessarily a traffic violation, however, if the driver remains stopped after the light turns red and green again a few times, the police officer may have a right to investigate further. Additionally, in this case, Dunlap was not driving when the police officer found him. However, the keys were apparently in the ignition and the car was on. Under these circumstances, the state could legally charge Dunlap with DUI even though the car was not actually moving.