Dancing for Sobriety Test? Woman Accused of DUI Breaks out in a Folk Dance

September 3, 2022 Criminal Defense, Drunk Driving/DUI

Getting pulled over by the police is no joking matter. If the authorities believe that you have been operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, you could face a DUI charge. This charge can come with harsh consequences such as expensive fines, jail time, or getting your license revoked.

In one recent DUI case, a woman attempted to dance for the police rather than following directions for the field sobriety test. Regardless of how skilled someone’s dance moves can be, it is not a valid defense or response to getting pulled over for an alleged DUI. We will cover the details of the case, along with information on DUI charges in Florida.

What was the Incident?

Amy Harrington, 38, was arrested on April 27th for a DUI charge after crashing into the back of another car in Pinellas County, Florida. When police approached Harrington, they recorded that her speech was slurred, her eyes were bloodshot, and she had a difficult time following their instructions. After inspecting her vehicle, the police also found a white foam cup in the cupholder, which contained alcohol.

The deputies requested that Harrington complete a sobriety test in which she was directed to walk and turn. However, footage from the body camera shows Harrington struggling to stay upright on her feet.

The arrest documents state that Harrington was having issues following the officers’ orders and was unsteady to the point of almost falling. “Do you want to pay attention so I can give you the instructions?” One of the officers asked her.

“Look, if you’re going to arrest me, just do it now,” Harrington said to the officers directing the sobriety test. “I already told those people that I would pay for all of that.” After having difficulties completing the walking sobriety test, Harrington began to break out in a dance. She allegedly broke out into “multiple ballet and Irish folk dance moves” with video footage of her waving her arms.

When requested to do the next exercise—a one-legged stance—Harrington is heard in the body cam video saying, “you sound like my ballet coach.” The police officer appeared unfazed and unimpressed, responding, “that wasn’t good.”

Harrington then refused to complete any more testing. She was arrested and charged with a DUI with property damage, along with charge for her refusal to submit to testing. The affidavit also states that she previously refused to submit to a field sobriety test in 2019.

DUI Charges in Florida

Florida Statute Section 316.193 defines driving under the influence as when an individual has “actual physical control” of a vehicle while being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If the individual is assumed to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs that disrupts their vision, hearing, or mental process to the point of impairment, they could be charged with a DUI.

It is important to note that the legal limit in Florida is .08, and if a police officer believes that you are under the influence of alcohol, they can complete a field test to check your blood alcohol content (BAC). If your BAC is anything above .08, you can get charged with a DUI.

For an individual’s first DUI, it is considered a second-degree misdemeanor. The penalties for a first-time DUI include a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail. If the BAC level is above .15, then the individual can face up to nine months in jail. In addition, you could be forced to complete 50 hours of community service, up to one year of probation, attend a DUI school, and have your driver’s license revoked for a minimum of 180 days.

To find out about the penalties for consecutive DUI charges, or to learn about the potential defenses to a DUI charge in Florida, read our informative page here.

Finding a Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida

If you or a loved one has been accused of a DUI in Florida, prioritize seeking out a strong defense attorney in your area. A guilty conviction can lead to harsh consequences, and the best way to build a defense for your case is to work with an experienced attorney. Don Pumphrey and his team at Pumphrey Law Firm have experience representing clients all across the state for various charges. We vow to stand by your side throughout the entire process and fight for your freedom. For a free consultation call (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message today.

Written by Karissa Key

Back to Top