Drunk Driving in Florida – Strangest DUI Cases
August 27, 2022 Don Pumphrey, Jr. Drunk Driving/DUI, News & Announcements Social Share
Drunk driving is illegal in any state—but Florida has especially strict laws to prevent people from getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol. However, it still tends to happen, and people need legal assistance to deal with a DUI charge. To avoid paying hefty fines and potentially going to jail, the best way to build a strong defense against a DUI case is to work with a skilled defense attorney in your area.
One thing to note is that you can get charged with a DUI even if you are not behind the wheel of a car and even if you’re not currently moving in the said vehicle. The following is a list of some of the strangest DUI charges in Florida.
DUI in Florida
Florida Statute Section 316.193 defines driving under the influence as when a person is driving or is in “actual physical control” of a vehicle while being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is the percentage of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream. The police can use several types of tests to determine whether someone is above the legal BAC limit of .08.
Florida’s definition of a “vehicle” is broad, meaning that you do not have to be operating a car in order to get charged with a DUI. Anything that is used to transport someone or something from one location to another can be considered a vehicle. With that being said, a person can get charged with a DUI while on a scooter, golf cart, bicycle, lawn mower, and other moving vehicles.
If it is your first-time DUI offense, you could face a second-degree misdemeanor conviction with a penalty of up to $1,000 and six months in jail. For a second offense, you could face a first-degree misdemeanor conviction with a penalty of up to a $4,000 and up to nine months in jail. A third DUI offense is considered a third-degree felony, which means a conviction could lead to a fine of $5,000 and up to one year in jail. For a fourth offense, it is considered a Felony DUI. The penalties for a felony DUI can be up to five years in jail. In addition to fines and jail time, a person could potentially lose their license, attend DUI school, and complete hours of community service.
For more information on DUIs and the various penalties for each offense, read our informative page here.
In October 2011, Matthew Falkner, 30, was arrested for DUI at a local Taco Bell in Jensen Beach, Florida. Falkner drove to the fast-food restaurant after drinking to get food. After receiving his food, Falkner fell asleep at the wheel with his foot pressed down on the gas. The managers of Taco Bell had to call the police since Falkner was holding up the line and was creating huge clouds of smoke from his foot on the accelerator while his truck was in park.
When the police arrived, Falkner’s truck had caught fire. After putting the fire out with an extinguisher, police requested Falkner’s driver’s license. Falkner did not comply, but instead pulled out one of his tacos to offer to the police instead. The officers checked Falkner’s BAC level, which was between .227 and .225, which is three times the legal state limit. Falkner was arrested for a DUI charge and taken into custody.
Drunk Lawnmower Rides
In August 2020, Paul Burke was arrested for driving drunk on his lawnmower. Burke took his lawnmower out on Highway 316 in Marion County, where he was driving much slower than the speed limit of 55 MPH. According to the Orlando Sentinel, a bodycam video from the police show them pulling Burke over and asking how much he had to drink.
“I have had maybe a little too much to drink tonight,” Burke admitted to the police. He proceeded to tell them that he didn’t have a driver’s license anymore since he had previously been arrested for three other DUI cases, after which his license was revoked. After refusing to participate in the field sobriety tests, Burke told the cops he was unable to walk. “Just take me to jail,” Burke said finally. He was arrested and charged with another DUI.
In another DUI lawnmower case, 68-year-old Gary Wayne Anderson was arrested for a DUI after taking his John Deere lawnmower to a shopping mall. Anderson wrecked his vehicle and trailer by driving into the back of a Haines City Police Department cop car. The officer heard the crash and found Anderson at the front of his lawnmower, who claimed there was little to no damage done from the crash.
The police officer said Anderson admitted to being drunk, and during the field sobriety tests his demeanor ranged from “laughing to aggressive.” His BAC level was recorded at .241, which is over three times the legal limit in Florida. There were also traces of cocaine in Anderson’s system. Anderson claimed that the police poisoned him and put the cocaine in hid body. He then requested to be taken to a hospital instead of jail. Anderson was arrested for a DUI and for refusing to submit to a DUI test. He had two prior DUI convictions and has had a suspended license since 1978.
Coffee and a DUI
Charles Tackaberry, 40, started his morning off with a coffee from the Starbucks drive-through on Route One in Delaware. After he pulled out of the drive-through around 7:30 a.m., a caller told the police that Tackaberry drove off with a flat tire and appeared to be under the influence. He also had a bicycle hanging off the back of his car.
When police pulled Tackaberry over, they noticed he was trying to hide something in his shirt. He was attempting to hide a 10-inch knife. Police also uncovered a machete, three grams of marijuana, and drug paraphernalia within his car.
Tackaberry was arrested and faced the following charges:
- 2 counts of carrying a concealed weapon
- Possession of drug paraphernalia
- Possession of marijuana
- Driving under the influence
Stop Sign Sips
Earle Stevens, 69, was arrested for a DUI after police were called to a McDonald’s in Vero Beach. The Indian County Sheriff’s Office was called to the scene after Stevens allegedly kept driving into the back of the vehicle in front of him while waiting for his food from the drive-through.
After arriving at the scene, police found a bottle of Jim Bean in Stevens’ passenger seat. When questioned about bumping into the car in front of him, Stevens denied any fault. The defendant also claimed he had never had a valid license in the state of Florida, and only gave the deputies his Florida ID card.
When police asked if he had been drinking Stevens responded, “I’m feeling pretty good.” Stevens then proceeded to tell the police that he was not technically drinking while driving, since he was only taking sips of the Jim Bean while he was stopped at traffic signals and stop signs. When his BAC level was checked, he blew a .153 and a .147, much higher than the state’s limit of 0.08. Stevens was arrested and charged with a DUI, along with driving without a valid license.
Golf Cart DUI
Alfred Constant Mathieu, 52, was arrested and charged with a DUI after getting pulled over in his golf cart. A deputy from Sumter County Sheriff’s Office pulled Mathieu over in his Yamaha golf cart early on a Friday morning. When asked for his driver’s license, Mathieu gave his gate card instead.
Mathieu refused to participate in the field sobriety test, and then finally admitted to being under the influence of alcohol. Three bottles of 100ml of vodka were found unopened in the back of the golf cart. When the officer was finally able to check his BAC level, Mathieu blew a .339 and .334, which are extremely dangerous levels. Mathieu was arrested and charged with a DUI, along with driving without a valid license.
Finding a DUI Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida
Getting accused of drinking and driving can lead to serious consequences. Florida is very strict on its laws for driving under the influence, and a guilty conviction can lead to harsh penalties such as expensive fines, jail time, getting your license revoked, car impounded, attending hours of community service, and DUI school. If you or a loved one has been accused of driving under the influence, your first step should be contacting an experienced DUI attorney in your area. Don Pumphrey and his team at Pumphrey Law Firm have represented clients all over the state for various criminal charges. We vow to stand in your corner and fight for your freedom. For a free consultation call (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message today.
Written by Karissa Key