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Friday, December 11, 2015

DUI expert charged with DUI

Florida attorney Tom Hudson is known as one of America's pre-eminent DUI defense lawyers, writing one of the definitive books on the topic, “The Drinker's Guide to Driving: The Secrets of DUI from One of America's Top DUI Lawyers.” He holds law enforcement certifications usually reserved for police officers assigned to DUI enforcement units, and he's qualified to administer both the Intoxilyzer 5000 and 8000 breath-testing machines. Last Sunday, Hudson found himself on the receiving end of one of the devices, stopped by Sarasota County Sheriff's Office deputies at about 7:30pm. An hour later, the Intoxilyzer 8000 indicated that Hudson's breath alcohol level was .12, over the legal limit of .08. He was charged with DUI. His willingness to provide a breath sample, coupled with other decisions he made during the hours he spent in custody, have some local defense attorneys scratching their heads in wonderment.
Hudson says he can't comment on a pending case. “But I encourage people to be cautious during the holiday season,” he said. “It's easy to be unaware of the amount of your consumption.” Deputy Stacey Eve says she saw Hudson's vehicle approaching in her rear view mirror at excessive speed. She turned on her radar, which showed he was travelling at 50 mph in a 35 mph zone. Once Hudson passed her, Eve followed, noting in her report that Hudson's speed varied from 49 mph to 55 mph, and that he “made jerking movements and traveled briefly from one side of the right lane to the other.” Once stopped, and after Hudson rolled down his window, the deputy noted “an odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the inside of the car,” that Hudson's speech allegedly “sounded slurred as he spoke,” and that the lawyer's movements were “sluggish and exaggerated.” She called for a traffic unit to respond. Deputy Sgt. Chuck Flint and Deputy Jimmy Adams were dispatched.
They recognized Hudson immediately. He is well known by local law enforcement. In 2010, Hudson hired a private investigator to videotape the driving of on-duty law enforcement officers. The video showed them making the same driving mistakes that officers cite as reasons for stopping drivers on suspicion of drunken driving: making wide turns, crossing double yellow lines and riding on lane markers. The stunt helped a Sarasota man beat a DUI charge. When he saw Sgt. Flint, Hudson shook his hand and said, “Hi Chuck.” Flint recorded that Hudson's speech was slow and that he was atypically “soft spoken.” “All of this is in stark contrast to the defendant's normal behaviour and demeanor,” Flint wrote. Hudson told the lawmen he'd had a drink at a bar in Sarasota. He refused their request to do field sobriety tests - the examination where officers gauge the driver's sobriety based on their coordination and ability to follow simple commands.

He was arrested and taken to the Sarasota County Jail. Deputy Adams asked Hudson to take a breath test. Hudson, who has filed numerous motions in other DUI cases attacking the accuracy of the breath-testing machines, agreed. The test takes two samples. They indicated Hudson's breath alcohol level was . 121 and .128, respectively. After the breath test, Adams asked Hudson if he would be willing to take a blood test, too. Defense attorneys say that test is far more difficult to refute at trial than a breath test. Defense attorneys can attack the blood-draw procedure or the chain-of-custody, or hope for an out-of-date collection kit, but the results themselves are hard to disprove. But Hudson agreed. A paramedic took a sample from Hudson's right arm, which Adams packaged and sealed. Those results are pending. Hudson was issued a citation for DUI and speeding. When asked, Hudson declined to to say why he admitted drinking, or why he so readily agreed to the tests of both his breath and his blood. “I can tell you this, it's been an eye-opening experience to see what my clients have been going through for the past 15 years.”

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