Teacher’s Aide by day, pantless driver by night? That’s what Pasco County deputies claim after pulling over Kristi Steuber earlier this week. According to a police report, Steuber was pulled over in Pasco County for speeding when deputies detected an odor of alcohol on her breath after making contact. Deputies claim Steuber attempted to explain where she had been and what she was doing but simply mumbled when asked. As is standard protocol when an officer has reasonable suspicion of DUI, Steuben was asked to exit the vehicle to perform field sobriety exercises. This is when things went downhill quickly for Steuber according to the police. Police allege Steuber had nothing on from the waist down when she exited her car and didn’t acknowledge this fact until asked twice to put on some pants. As one could imagine, based at least in part on the allegation of a breezy booty and her mugshot, Steuber was arrested for DUI and later is alleged to have blown a .135 and .137.
There are certain DUI cases that make DUI lawyers cringe. This, my friends, is one of them. Compared to many DUI’s I’ve handled, this breath test isn’t remarkable. As most know, in Florida, to be convicted of driving under the influence the State must prove the defendant drove or was in actual physical control of a vehicle and while doing so was either under the influence of alcoholic beverages or a chemical substance or a controlled substance to the extent that his or her normal faculties were impaired or had a blood or breath-alcohol level of .08 or more. The .13 breath test Steuber is alleged to have given, though above the legal limit isn’t a rockstar level. The struggle for her attorney will be the issue of pants. Having pants on when pulled over by the police is helpful when trying to convince them or a jury that the driver was sober. Obviously no pants isn’t proof positive that one is impaired, however one could safely say most prosecutors would rely heavily on this fact while making their case. Free legal advice- when driving home from the bar, wear pants.
Odd as it may seem, strange allegations such as this can often be used to a defendant’s advantage. It’s not uncommon to hear of a case where one appears to be blasted out of their mind yet still submit a breath test below the legal limit. Odd behavior or an appearance of extreme intoxication with no logical reason can be argued as involuntary intoxication, the cause of which is unknown. Unfortunately we hear about date rape drugs being used in the bar scene all the time. The effect of these drugs is often so extreme the victim has no idea what they’re doing. Should one be held accountable for something out of their control? I would say no. The long and short of the matter is that very often strange facts give rise to viable defenses for a person that may not have any culpability for what they’re accused of. Granted, a defense of this nature may not be available in this case but the fact remains that in some cases it is.
Time will tell what will happen in this case. No matter how egregious the facts supporting a criminal allegation are it is always worth having a Tampa criminal attorney review your case. Tampa DUI lawyer Jason Mayberry is available for a free consultation. Contact us today at 813-444-7435 or at 727-771-3847.