Mayor enters deferred prosecution deal on DUI charges
Published: Monday, April 1, 2013 at 4:25 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, April 1, 2013 at 4:25 p.m.
Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe today entered into a deferred prosecution agreement that resolves the pending DUI charges against him, the State Attorney's Office announced.
As part of the agreement, the mayor will be able to participate in a DUI Intervention Program made available to first-time offenders who have no significant prior criminal or traffic history. He will be required to complete all requirements for those convicted of DUI and agree to be monitored for 18 months as well as give up his driver's license for 14 days, the State Attorney's Office reported.
Shortly after the State Attorney's Office announced the agreement, the mayor's campaign office issued a statement saying, in part:
"As I've previously stated, I accept full responsibility for my actions in driving after having consumed alcohol on March 21. I would like to repeat my apology to my supporters, friends, and the people of Gainesville for the harm that I have caused. No specific detail or details of Thursday's events excuses my poor judgment or changes the fact that I made a very bad decision.
"I also stated that I would accept the sanctions of the State Attorney's Office as part of taking responsibility for my actions. Today I formalized acceptance of those sanctions by entering into an 18-month deferred prosecution program. Among other things, this program includes 50 hours of community service and an alcohol evaluation program. I will follow all recommendations of that evaluation."
State Attorney Bill Cervone announced the agreement in a statement faxed just after 4 p.m. to The Sun.
"In reaching the decision to allow the Mayor to participate in the program, which is similar to others utilized in various location in Florida, the State Attorney's Office has considered the facts of the case and the Mayor's personal but not political background," Cervone said in the written statement. "The case involves a breath test result of .06, which is below the legal limit presuming impairment, and certain field tests suggesting but not conclusively proving impairment."
The agreement will require that Lowe:
* Refrain from violating any federal or state law or county or municipal ordinance.
* Donate $500 to CDC Family & Behavioral Health Services.
* Pay $100 as the cost of prosecution.
* Perform 50 hours of community service.
* Complete DUI school.
* Receive alcohol/substance abuse evaluation and comply with any treatment recommended.
* Enter a plea to reckless driving as a lesser included offense once he completes the terms of the agreement.
The deferred prosecution agreement came a little more than a 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.
The mayor said in the statement released by his campaign office that he now would focus on his job as mayor and winning re-election.
"Having accepted the sanctions of this program and full responsibility for my actions, I now turn my focus to my duties as mayor and as a candidate for re-election," Lowe said in the statement.
"While my actions have disappointed many, the issues facing our city are greater than me as one person or this particular incident. In order for our city to continue to progress, we must come together to secure our future."