Tampa Native and Baseball Legend Tony La Russa Charged with DUI | Tampa DUI Lawyers Whittel & Melton

November 16, 2020

Tony La Russa, now the manager of the White Sox, has been officially charged with driving under the influence stemming from a February incident that happened in Phoenix.

Charges were apparently filed Oct. 28, just a day before his position with the White Sox was announced.

A White Sox spokesperson said that they knew of the 76-year-old’s DUI case when he was hired.

dirty ball

La Russa has a previous DUI on his record dating back to 2007 in Jupiter. He pleaded guilty to DUI after police found him asleep inside his running SUV idled at stop light smelling of alcohol.

He made a statement following the 2007 incident saying he takes full responsibility for his actions and that it would never happen again.

If you are charged with a DUI in the Tampa Bay area, you are definitely not alone. According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, there were 4,077 DUI arrests in the county in 2017. While these numbers may provide you with some comfort, the reality is that you are facing the possibilities of a driver’s license suspension, large fines, jail time, and your employment status being negatively impacted as well as other areas of your life.

Regardless of the circumstances of your DUI arrest – whether it is your first offense or if you have previous DUI arrests – you need to reach out to a qualified DUI defense lawyer in your area to help you through this legal matter. Our Tampa DUI Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are well-versed in Florida DUI law and are very familiar with police and prosecutors in Hillsborough County. We can provide you with a free consultation right away so that we can begin fighting for your rights.

A Tampa DUI Traffic Stop

In order to legally pull someone over, law enforcement officers must have a reason to stop the driver. This means that they have to have a reasonable suspicion that the driver has violated the law in some way. They cannot just stop someone because they think they are driving drunk – they can only stop a driver if they violated a traffic law, such as running a stop sign, speeding, etc. Just keep it in mind that police officers will usually find any excuse to pull a driver over, especially on a Friday or Saturday night when more people tend to drink and drive.

If you are stopped, just know that the officer will be looking for any signs of impairment. Based on their observations, they may ask you to submit to field sobriety tests or a breath test, which they can legally conduct on the side of the road. A breath test entails blowing into a device that will measure your blood alcohol content (BAC). If your BAC is .08 or higher, then you have “failed” the breath test and the officer will likely arrest you at the scene. They will most likely have your car towed and impounded, and then transport you to jail.

You can still be arrested for a DUI even if you haven’t “failed” a sobriety test. Police only have to have probable cause to make a DUI arrest, which can include their observations. If they detect an odor of alcohol on your breath or in your car, then you can be arrested. If they see any open or empty alcohol bottles in your car, you can be arrested. If you have glassy, red, or watery eyes, you can be arrested. If you have slurred speech, a lack of coordination or balance, or seem disoriented or confused, then you can be arrested.

Statements by anyone arrested are often the centerpiece of the government’s case against those charged with a Florida DUI. It’s important to keep any and all comments to the barest minimum possible. If the Tampa DUI officers have decided to arrest you for DUI, please don’t attempt to talk them out of it, those comments will only be used against you later in court.

DUI charges in Tampa, Clearwater, New Port Richey, Brooksville are all prosecuted essentially the same. In none of those jurisdictions have defendants been able to talk away any charges, even with a World Series ring, it’s a very high hurdle.

Our Tampa DUI Attorneys at Whittel & Melton will examine all of the details of your DUI matter, including what happened before, during, and after you were stopped by police. If we find that the arresting officer had no reasonable suspicion to stop you, then we can argue that they violated your Fourth Amendment rights and that any evidence gathered should be suppressed, or thrown out. This leaves the prosecutor with really nothing to prove your DUI, so they could drop the charges against you. We want to help you avoid the consequences of a DUI conviction in Florida as they can be quite severe, even for first time offenders.

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