In February of this year Tiger's first baseman Miguel Cabrera was arrested on charges of DUI in Florida. Cabrera was in Florida for the Tiger's annual Spring Training sessions in Lakeland, Florida, just outside of Tampa, FL. According to NBC Sports Hardball Talk, "the 27-year-old player's car engine was smoking alongside a road late Wednesday when a deputy spotted the vehicle. According to the arrest report, Cabrera smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech and took a swig from a bottle of scotch in front of a deputy." Recently, attorney Barry Taracks, President and Senior Partner of Taracks & Associates, sat down to discuss some of the possible issues he sees in Cabrera's case.
"One of the key elements in every DUI case that the State must prove is actual, physical control" Mr. Taracks says. "This means that in order to be found guilty of DUI, the State Attorney's Office has to show that you, the defendant, were operating or in control of an operable vehicle. A broken down car on the side of the road will not suffice in many cases." Mr. Taracks went on to explain that this "might very well be a viable defense for Mr. Cabrera. It is important to remember that no matter how steep the evidence against you seems, there is almost always a defense - have you been read your rights? Are there any grounds to suppress evidence or have the case dismissed? These are things that a good attorney will know to look for when defending your rights."
The second issue Mr. Taracks spotted deals with the "swig from a bottle of scotch" portion of the report. "The State has to prove that you were impaired while you were driving. Taking a sip of booze after the fact has nothing to do with being charged with DUI." Mr. Taracks went on to explain that, while other charges might be appropriate for drinking along the side of the road, "the fact that he drank some scotch in front of the Deputy has no legal significance as far as his driving under the influence charge is concerned."
Not that Mr. Taracks would advise such behavior.
"If you are arrested for DUI, please, do not act like Mr. Cabrera did. Instead, you should respectfully inform law enforcement that you want to speak with your attorney. You have to act fast after you are arrested for DUI - your license will be automatically suspended after ten days if you do not take action."
Finally, "and perhaps most importantly" Mr. Taracks says, "the State must show that the defendant was the one behind the wheel - the driver, not just a passenger or bystander. A misdemeanor [DUI for example] must be committed in the presence of a law enforcement officer in order for a lawful arrest to be made. Did anybody see Cabrera behind the wheel? A Deputy merely showed up and saw him standing next to his vehicle. It seems to me like the State is going to have major problems proving this case."
"This is just one of those cases that seems open and shut at first glance, but has multiple problems for the State in the eyes of an experienced attorney. You have no idea how many people come to me and say, 'Barry, do I even need an attorney for my DUI case? They caught me under the influence, what more do they need to prove?' Well, in many cases, there are a lot more things that the State needs to prove. Many times we see charges reduced or dropped altogether because the State cannot prove all the elements of the case."
If you or a loved one has been charged with DUI, or any crime for that matter, do not hesitate to call Taracks & Associates. Act fast - your license will automatically be suspended if you do not take action within ten days! As Mr. Taracks explained, there are always potential defenses that can be raised to defend you and your rights. Taracks & Associates - The Advocate For You.