Former UF Baseball Player Brings Lawsuit Against Gainesville Police for 2009 DUI Arrest :: Whittel & Melton

June 20, 2012

A 26-year-old former University of Florida baseball player has sued the Gainesville Police Department for more than $75,000 in damages over a January 2009 DUI arrest that was later thrown out due to lack of evidence.

The man alleges that the two arresting officers created false information in their report in order to increase their number of DUI arrests.

In a federal lawsuit, the man claims his arrest resulted in his suspension from the baseball team which caused him to fall in the Major League Baseball draft.

The two former Gainesville police officers that arrested the man are named defendants.

According to the arrest report, the man was arrested on Jan. 24, 2009 after his vehicle allegedly crossed the double yellow line on University Avenue and into oncoming traffic nearly causing a head-on collision.

The report also indicated the man had slurred speech and trouble maintaining his balance once he exited the vehicle.

The case was dropped by the State Attorney’s Office in 2009 because the footage from the police-car video did not validate any of the allegations against the man.

The lawsuit argues that the two arresting officers “prepared false incident reports,” including information about the man crossing into oncoming traffic and having trouble standing when exiting his vehicle.

Unfortunately, there are numerous people arrested and subsequently convicted of crimes that they did not necessarily commit due to overzealous police officers. Wrongful arrests can negatively impact a person’s life in many ways, so it is extremely important for law enforcement officials to be entirely certain an actual crime has been committed before making an arrest. It is important to be aware that a person wrongfully arrested for DUI has legal rights. In fact, they may be able to recover for any damages that the wrongful arrest caused.

Wrongful arrests by police officers usually occur due to lack of probable cause. When a person is detained for committing an alleged crime and there is not sufficient proof that can support the arrest, this may establish that a false arrest was made. Police can and do make false arrests, which is why you should contact a Florida DUI Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton if you believe that you were falsely arrested for DUI. In order to best protect yourself, no statements of any kind should be made until you have retained legal counsel.

In many DUI cases, video footage can corroborate whether a DUI suspect’s behavior matches what was written in the actual arrest report. If the actions displayed on the video tape of the arrest contradict what was written in a police officer’s report, prosecutors will likely dismiss the DUI case entirely. However, even if the charges against you are thrown out, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. If a false arrest is proven, police personnel may be required to pay financial compensation to the victim for damages such as the value lost from a tarnished reputation and punitive damages such as ill will and malice.

If you believe you were the victim of a wrongful DUI arrest in Gainesville or throughout the state of Florida, contact the Florida DUI Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton online or call our Alachua County office at 352-264-7800. You can reach us statewide and toll-free by dialing 1-866-608-5LAW (5529).

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