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Florida Lawmaker Accepts Deal After DUI Arrest

KAREEM COPELAND, Associated Press GARY FINEOUT, Associated Press
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File photo of a gavel in a courtroom. (Credit: Thinkstock)

File photo of a gavel in a courtroom. (Credit: Thinkstock)

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A member of the Florida Legislature arrested on a drunken driving charge was sentenced to six months of probation and subjected to alcohol tests under a plea deal agreed upon Thursday.

Rep. Dane Eagle, 31, was arrested in April after an officer spotted him driving erratically and he refused to be tested. The Cape Coral Republican refused to resign after his arrest.

Eagle, who was not in court for the hearing, pleaded no contest to a lesser charge of reckless driving, according to the state attorney’s office.

Part of the deal requires Eagle to also perform 100 hours of community service as well as spending time in a program that counsels drivers.

Eagle will also have to subject himself to tests to see if he has been drinking.

“First, I want to again apologize to my constituents, family, and friends for the embarrassment this whole ordeal has caused,” Eagle said in a statement. “As I have maintained throughout, I did not drive under the influence. I did, however, exercise poor judgment that night, and in my carelessness I drove recklessly. … I take full responsibility for my actions and accept the penalties for the reckless driving sanction I have been issued.”

Eagle was arrested shortly before 2 a.m. after he pulled out of a Taco Bell about two miles from the state Capitol, Tallahassee police officer David Keller said in his arrest report. Keller said he watched as Eagle tried to make a left turn from the parking lot and almost struck a concrete median in his path. Keller said Eagle then stopped at a red light, but went across the stripe in the street. He then made a U-turn and almost hit the curb, the report says. Eagle then drove 45 mph in a 35 mph zone, struck a curb and ran a red light before he was stopped, police said.

Keller said he smelled alcohol on Eagle’s breath and his eyes were bloodshot, but the state representative denied drinking. He said that when he asked Eagle to walk back to his patrol car, he stumbled and fell against his SUV. Keller said that when he asked Eagle about the alcohol smell, the legislator again denied drinking and said it came from friends who were in the car earlier.

Eagle previously said he does not think Keller’s report “is a complete and accurate picture of the events.”

Eagle, a real estate broker, was elected to the House in 2012.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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