A DUI charge can happen to anyone, even for those who never thought they'd find themselves ensnared in such charges. The prospect of dealing with the law and facing punitive action is very daunting. Many people charged with a DUI were every bit the law abiding citizen prior to their charge. Sometimes even those who make the law find themselves standing face to face with it.
At the end of last month, a Florida lawmaker found himself charged with drunken driving shortly after a House session. Representative Cary Pigman, 58, represents a largely rural district of Florida that includes parts of Highlands, Glades and Okeechobee counties, and part of western St. Lucie County. According to the police report, Florida State Patrol initiated a traffic stop at 10:44 p.m. near a service plaza in St. Lucie County, seven miles south of Exit 152 for Okeechobee Rd. The trooper noticed the vehicle drifting across lanes and into the right shoulder.
Pigman told the trooper he was headed south to visit family in Okeechobee County; he drove a Jeep and there were no passengers in the vehicle. He denied having consumed alcohol, however, the trooper noted an “odor of alcohol” and saw an open bottle of wine in the passenger seat. Prior to the traffic stop of Pigman's vehicle, a BOLO (be-on-the-lookout) had been issued for a reckless driver traveling southbound in the area. At 11:55 p.m., Pigman consented to field sobriety tests in the plaza parking lot, which he allegedly performed poorly on. Approximately three hours after the initial traffic stop a BAC reading was taken, reporting .14. After being processed, Pigman posted the $750 bail amount and was released from St. Lucie jail at 8:15 am the following morning.
Pigman was charged with a misdemeanor DUI. Fred Piccolo, spokesman for the Speaker of the House, noted that felony charges prompt immediate disciplinary action from the House - not misdemeanors. The day after the arrest, Pigman released a statement about the incident. "Last night I was pulled over by the Florida Highway Patrol on the Turnpike in St. Lucie County after a long drive back from Tallahassee," he said in the release. "I was charged with driving under the influence. I want to apologize to my family, my constituents, and my colleagues in the Legislature, for the embarrassment this has caused me and them.” Recently, dash cam footage of the sobriety tests and arrest was released and aired across various media outlets. It appears Pigman was cooperative with law enforcement and the arrest was carried out without incident.
Elected to a third term last year without opposition, Pigman chairs the House Health Quality Committee and boasts an impressive array of other professional achievements. He is currently in the U.S. Army Reserve and has seen 3 deployments since 2011. He is also an emergency medicine physician. The day of his DUI charge, he introduced bill HB 243 which relates to public records and non-sworn investigative personnel of the state Office of Financial Regulation's Bureau of Financial Investigations.
Representative Pigman's unfortunate DUI charge stands in stark contrast with the rest of his record - highlighting the truism that a DUI really can happen to any of us. If you have been charged with driving under the influence in Georgia, you are undoubtedly worried about how this charge could affect your professional and personal life as well as your future. It is imperative that you contact Georgia DUI Attorney Richard Lawson immediately so that he may begin reviewing your case and building you a credible defense.