Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe enters not guilty plea to DUI charge


In this March 21, 2013 file photo, Mayor Craig Lowe leaves the Alachua County jail. He has entered a not guilty plea on a DUI charge.

Erica Brough/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 12:32 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 5:49 p.m.

Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe entered a written plea of not guilty Thursday to charges of driving under the influence and careless driving.

The plea came one week after Lowe's arrest in the early morning hours of March 21, when he crashed his 2005 Honda Civic in northeast Alachua County around 2:20 a.m., according to a Florida Highway Patrol arrest report.

His car had major damage to its front, and all four tires were deflated after the wreck.

Lowe performed poorly on field sobriety tests and registered a .069 and .061 on a blood-alcohol breath test administered at the jail about four hours after the crash, according to the FHP.

Two days before the crash, Lowe had advanced to an April 16 runoff for mayor against former two-term City Commissioner Ed Braddy. While serving on the City Commission in January 2006, Braddy also was arrested for DUI. He pleaded no contest to the charges.

Lowe had been scheduled for an arraignment on April 11, a little less than a week before the runoff. That hearing is now canceled, according to court records. A pretrial conference is now scheduled for April 24, after the mayoral runoff, court records show.

State Attorney's Office spokesman Spencer Mann said it is common for a defendant's attorney to submit a written notice of appearance and a written plea.

"It's not unusual," Mann said. "It happens every day."

Lowe's attorneys also filed a demand for all of the state's evidence against him.

Lowe could not be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.

The law firm of Hertz & Kearns released a statement on Lowe's behalf. It read, in part:

"A plea of not guilty, being filed, permits the attorney and the client additional time to discuss the charges, the options the client has with respect to those charges, and to conduct additional investigation, if needed. Filing a written plea of not guilty waives the client's appearance as well as the attorney's appearance in court on the date of the arraignment."

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