My client was headed through the drive-thru at Wendy’s in St. Petersburg. As he pulled out onto Dr. MLK Jr St, he was surrounded by SPPD officers. When they smelled marijuana on him, they gave him field sobriety tests and arrested him. He contacted us to represent him on the case.
There were two issues in the case. The first was why did they stop him? It said on his arrest affidavit that the employees of McDonald’s across the street reported that he was sleeping in his car in their parking lot. The second issue was whether he was even impaired.
My client denied that he had been to the McDonald’s that night. I sent out a subpoena to McDonald’s, but the cameras did not catch anything. So, we had to wait for the police reports and their video.
We eventually got the 911 call too. In it, the employees of McDonald’s said that the person who was passed out was driving a black car and had a black shirt on.
To our surprise, the dash cam video from SPPD showed that our client was driving a gray car and wearing a white shirt. The police clearly made a mistake and stopped the wrong car. Also, our client looked pretty good on the video.
There was just one hiccup. The SPPD officers claimed that our client didn’t come to a complete stop after he left the Wendy’s drive through. So, technically, that could have been a reason for the stop even if he wasn’t the guy sleeping in the McDonald’s parking lot.
But, even with the hiccup, we felt very good about our chances. We wrote a letter to the prosecutor. They offered a reckless driving charge. We didn’t agree and called the prosecutor in charge of all misdemeanors in Pinellas County.
After looking at the case, the prosecutor agreed to drop the charge down to a careless driving. That is a civil infraction. The fine was $166.
Our client was thrilled with the work and we were proud to be able to deliver these results.