We've all seen footage from police dashboard cameras that show drunk drivers acting very drunk. Police can use this footage later on in court, as evidence that the driver is intoxicated, and unfit to drive. But in some cases, the dash camera footage can help a driver, to show that the police officer's version of the facts were different than what the video demonstrated. However, for one Florida driver, it was what the camera didn't show, that led to his DUI charges getting dropped altogether.
P.J. Williams is a projected top round pick for the upcoming NFL draft. The cornerback from Florida State University was named defensive MVP of the 2014 BCS National Championship, and declared himself draft eligible after his junior year. The FSU police may not have wanted to let him go so quickly, as they placed him under arrest earlier this month for a suspected DUI.
According to the Florida State University Police report, Williams was pulled overaround 3 a.m., driving out of a McDonald's parking lot in Tallahassee. The officer observed the car stopping at a green light, then making an illegal left turn. The officer also indicated Williams was swerving over the lane divider several times.
When questioned, Williams apparently admitted to drinking several hours earlier, but stated he was not drunk when he got behind the wheel of his car. Williams refused both a breathalyzer and a blood test, but submitted to field sobriety testing. The police relied on his field sobriety tests to justify Williams' arrest. Unfortunately for the police, “significant portions of the DUI investigation werenot captured on video because of the positioning of the police car.”
According to Jonathan Simon, Williams' attorney, the Florida assistant state attorney chose to drop the DUI charges because there was not enough evidence to support their case, and the evidence they did have contrasted the police report. The officers claims that Williams showed impairment when he stepped out of the car could not be verified. The state said, that based on the video evidence they had, a jury would not be able to find beyond a reasonable doubt that Williams was driving under the influence of alcohol.
Williams said he does not want to put himself in that position again. In conversations he's had with prospective teams, Williams said, “this situation doesn't define me. I'm a great teammate, I'm a student of the game. I'm a good person, a good man, a family man. I'm not going to make mistakes that hurt the team or hurt the organization.”
In light of the number of NFL players charged with driving under the influence, the NFL recently revamped their substance abuse police. Before, when a player was convicted of a DUI, they would be docked pay but there were no game suspensions. Now, a DUI conviction carries a mandatory two-game suspension. In spite of the new policy, four NFL players have already been arrested this year for driving while intoxicated.
At the Gorelick Law Offices, attorney Lynn Gorelick has dedicated her legal career to defending people charged with driving under the influence in the East Bay. For more than 30 years, she has personally handled hundreds of cases, successfully defending people both in Court and in Administrative Per Se hearings with the DMV. If you have been arrested for a DUI anywhere in the East Bay, there is still time to keep the conviction off your record, and keep your driving privileges. You do not have to plead guilty just because you were arrested. Contact a local East Bay DUI defense attorney who will investigate your case, including gathering all video and audio dash cam evidence, and make sure you get the justice you deserve.