Former University of Miami Baseball Player Charged With DUI and Probation Violation

December 30, 2010 by David S. Seltzer

At this time of year, much of my job as a Miami-Dade drunk driving criminal defense attorney is defending people caught in the police crackdown on intoxicated driving that always comes with the holidays. That’s why I was interested to read about the arrest of a former University of Miami baseball player who was kicked off that school’s team after a drug arrest. Frank Ratcliff, 19, was arrested for drunk driving Dec. 14 on Stock Island, where he has been living while working as a bellman at a hotel on Key West. His blood-alcohol level was reportedly 0.20, two and a half times the legal limit of 0.08. The arrest violated the terms of Ratcliff’s Drug Court deal for an earlier drug-dealing arrest, meaning he is likely to face further penalties for that offense as well.

Ratcliff was a star at Key West High School and did well with the Canes. However, he was arrested Sept. 9 after he sold 21 grams of marijuana -- less than an ounce -- to an undercover police officer. A subsequent search of his apartment in Coral Gables found 100 more grams of marijuana and 19 vials of hygetropin, a human growth hormone banned by Major League Baseball. In addition to being kicked off the baseball team, Ratcliff faced two drug possession charges and a charge of selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a school. He entered Miami-Dade’s Drug Court, a drug diversion program that allows participants to keep a drug conviction off their records if they complete addiction treatment and probation. This arrest violates that probation, exposing Ratcliff to potential prosecution.

As a Fort Lauderdale DUI criminal defense lawyer, I hope Ratcliff has a good attorney, because he will need help to deal with the consequences of this arrest. The DUI alone will carry multiple penalties -- four-figure fines, community service, probation and potential jail of up to nine months. Because Ratcliff is 19, he will lose his driver’s license for six months and be required to complete DUI school before getting it back. This is assuming there’s no illegal drug involved. In addition, the arrest could cancel his Drug Court participation, which would expose him to criminal prosecution for the possession and sales charges. An experienced south Florida intoxicated driving criminal defense attorney will negotiate hard to keep clients in the program. In this case, Ratcliff’s age may help, and the court may have sympathy if it believes he was drinking to avoid using drugs -- but this is ultimately up to the judge.

If you’re charged with driving under the influence in Miami-Dade County or anywhere else in Florida, don’t wait to call Seltzer Law, P.A. for help. We are available 24 hours a day and seven days a week, because we know police and prosecutors don’t stop making arrests just because office hours are over. For a free, confidential evaluation of your case, contact us through the Internet or call 1-888-THE-DEFENSE (1-888-843-3333).