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Judge Throws Out Evidence in DUI Case against Detective

A judge ruled evidence in a DUI case against Manatee County, Florida Sheriff Office Detective Jason Fitzwater is inadmissible. This leaves the prosecutor with a much weaker case, even though the case involved both a DUI and a wreck.

The Detective was on call on August 26, when he and two other detectives, with whom he was a fellow SWAT team member with, went to a bar. They all consumed alcohol that evening and later that night, the Detective got in a wreck and caused nearly $5,000 of damage to the sheriff's vehicle that he was driving because he hit a concrete lane divider. The Detective then called a superior officer, who contacted another officer who then began a DUI investigation. However, the judge threw out all the evidence from the DUI investigation because the Detective wasn't informed that a DUI investigation was occurring.

The DUI lawyer for the Detective had filed a motion to suppress, which led to the Judge throwing out the evidence. In other words, the evidence could not be used against him at trial, making the prosecutor's case very weak.

Because the evidence was thrown out, the Judge then found that there was a lack of probable cause to arrest the officer or even begin the DUI investigation. Despite the huge suppression win for the Detective, trial is still planned. The Detective has resigned from the sheriff's department.