Tampa readers may have heard that Kenneth Williams, former cornerback for Florida State University, was arrested by university police officers last month in Tallahassee on suspicion of drunk driving. According to legal documents in Williams’ case, officers reported that he had been swerving in his lane, stopped at a green light and hit a curb, and that he had red, watery eyes and spoke with slurred speech.
What is unique about Williams’ case is that, because parts of the traffic stop were not recorded on video, prosecutors were left with a case in which it would have been difficult to prove to the jury he was driving while intoxicated. This is largely because he refused to submit to a roadside breath test and field sobriety testing. Prosecutors ultimately dropped his charges due to a lack of compelling evidence. The most significant outcome of the case is that Williams had his license suspended for refusing to submit to testing.
The way prosecutors handled the case reportedly proved to be somewhat controversial, but prosecutors have to consider a variety of factors when deciding to take a case to trial. Not only is there the issue of the sufficiency of the evidence, there is the question of the difficulties in convincing a jury of the defendant’s guilt, as well as potential constitutional violations and the costs of pursuing the case. Prosecutors have to consider all these factors and determine how the costs of pursuing a case balance out with the likelihood of success.
Working with a skilled criminal defense attorney in DUI cases, of course, can help ensure that a defendant receives the advocacy they need to protect their rights. In a future post, we’ll talk about some strategies a criminal defense attorney can employ to strengthen a DUI defendant’s case.