A 63-year-old Florida man has been charged with cocaine possession and driving under the influence of alcohol after allegedly stopping a Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputy to ask for directions to an auto parts retailer. The deputy says that the sequence of events that led to the man being taken into custody began when he noticed flashing headlights on the southbound lanes of U.S. Route 441 near Belleview on the night of Feb. 8.
The deputy pulled his squad car over after seeing the flashing lights, and he says that he became suspicious when the motorist who approached him seemed unsteady on his feet. The deputy also claims that the driver smelled of alcohol and had watery and bloodshot eyes. The man is said to have agreed to take a standardized field sobriety test after telling the deputy that he was disabled. He allegedly failed the test and provided a breath sample that revealed his blood alcohol concentration to be approximately .0136%, far higher than the state’s drunk driving legal limit.
According to the MCSO police report, the man admitted to consuming bourbon before getting behind the wheel. The drug charge was added after a bag containing a white powdery substance was discovered in the man’s shirt pocket. The substance was identified as cocaine by a drug-testing kit. Reports also suggest that an open bottle of liquor was found in the man’s vehicle.
Experienced criminal defense attorneys may question the validity of narcotics possession and drunk driving charges in situations like this one. Field drug-testing kits are notoriously unreliable and have been known to identify harmless substances like sugar as dangerous illegal narcotics, and individuals with certain disabilities may find field sobriety exercises extremely challenging even when completely sober.