Prosecutors Drop DUI Case Against South Beach Nightlife Promoter Michael Capponi

January 19, 2011 by David S. Seltzer

As a Miami-Dade drunk driving criminal defense attorney, I was interested to read about dropped charges for a nightclub promoter and real estate developer. Michael Capponi, who promotes nightlife events around South Beach, was arrested in late October for allegedly driving under the influence, according to the New Times Miami. Under the influence of what, however, was difficult to say because his blood-alcohol concentration readings were reportedly under the 0.08 legal limit and a urine test came back clean. Capponi has said publicly that he believes the arrests were connected to his acknowledged past as a heroin and methadone addict.

Capponi was arrested early in the morning of Oct. 22 after leaving a party. According to a New Times Miami blog post from the time, he was pulled over and then held for nearly 24 hours on bail of $1,000. On his release, he sent a statement to the media saying police told him he failed field sobriety tests. He said he blew a 0.06 BAC both times he took a breath test, only to have the officer insist that he must be on drugs. He voluntarily took a urine test, he said, but was kept overnight despite his cooperation. His statement said he was planning legal action against the police. In the more recent blog post, Capponi’s south Florida DUI defense lawyer said the urine test showed no drugs and that prosecutors should have waited for those results, as he said they normally do.

Of course, no one can tell us what the officers and prosecutors were thinking except those individuals. But as a Fort Lauderdale intoxicated driving criminal defense attorney, I suspect Capponi and his lawyer are right that Capponi’s past influenced their decisions. Police officers may have genuinely believed Capponi didn’t pass field sobriety tests -- especially since those tests are known to be unreliable -- and jumped to conclusions. However, those conclusions shouldn’t have survived even after the police received the contradictory evidence provided by the breath and urine test results. This situation shows that police officers and prosecutors absolutely do make mistakes -- and that sometimes, innocent people are criminally charged as a result. That’s why no one charged with a DUI in south Florida should plead guilty just because they believe the evidence against them is solid.

If you’re charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Florida, you should call Seltzer Law, P.A. right away. For a free, confidential case evaluation, please send us a message online or call us toll-free, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, at 1-888-THE-DEFENSE (1-888-843-3333).