Florida Representative Refused Breathalyzer, Arrested for DUI
A Florida state representative refused to take a breathalyzer test and was arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) this past Monday. Dane Eagle, a Republican representing Cape Coral, Florida, was stopped after attempting to make a left turn out of a Taco Bell parking lot and almost hitting a concrete median in Tallahassee.
Although the arresting officers noted the smell of alcohol emitting from the vehicle, the fact that Representative Eagle had glassy, bloodshot eyes, and that he stumbled when exiting the vehicle caused concern. Eagle then refused to take sobriety tests and was arrested on suspicion of DUI.
Representative Eagle is not the only Florida politician to be arrested for substance abuse. In recent months former Representative Trey Radel resigned after he was arrested for cocaine use and subsequently entered rehabilitation for drug addiction.
Although the outcome or details of Representative Eagle’s DUI arrest are not yet known, the situation brings up the question as to whether state representatives should have the legal right to invoke legislative immunity and refuse to take a breathalyzer when stopped by police on suspicion of DUI. Take the state of Minnesota as an example – policies may be changing after a Minnesota state representative was stopped for an illegal U-turn and, after being suspected by police of DUI, invoked legislative privilege to avoid an arrest. Now the Minnesota Constitution is under review as lawmakers decide whether to strike that provision and hold lawmakers accountable for their actions.
Although Representative Eagle has only been elected to the House since 2012, he was behind the introduction of the Drug-Free Public Officers Act last month. The bill calls for elected and appointed officials at the federal, state, and local levels to undergo mandatory drug testing. If the official refused to take a drug test, they would be asked to resign. Given recent events involving the senator, the new bill may be up in the air.