Commissioner Jose 'Pepe' Diaz pleads not guilty to DUI
Posted on October 05, 2015 5:00 PM EST
Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz pleaded not guilty to drunk driving
. The not guilty plea stems from his DUI arrest on Sep. 19 in Key West.
R. Wunsch, the commissioner's defense attorney said that Diaz has a right to plea not guilty. Adding that they are "going forward."
Diaz' hearing was on Monday, Oct. 5, however, he did not attend his hearing. Instead, Wunsch entered a not guilty plea on the commissioner's behalf.
Diaz was arrested by Key West police after they pulled him over driving his Harley-Davidson motorcycle nearly 30 mph above the posted speed limit; he was clocked going 74 mph in a 35 mph zone on South Roosevelt Boulevard.
The arrest happened during the Key West Poker Run motorcycle weekend. Diaz' arrest was captured by police body cameras and by dashboard cameras, which showed Diaz declining a breath alcohol test and failing field sobriety tests.
In a statement Monday morning, Brian Andrews, a media consultant for Diaz said that just like anyone else facing similar charges, Mr. Diaz will be going through the legal process and following his lawyer's advice.
Andrews also said that Diaz will be using all of the legal opportunities afforded to him under the law as he works with his attorney to resolve the matter, the Miami Herald reported.
Commissioner Diaz Draws Community Support
After his DUI arrest, a county law-enforcement group posted a petition online about the incident. The Miami-Dade's Hispanic Police Officers Association says: "We support Diaz."
In a change.org petition urging Gov. Rick Scott not to suspend Diaz from office, the association's executive board called Diaz a "remarkably valuable individual to the community."
The president of Miami-Dade's transit union wrote that he was very disturbed when he learned of Diaz' arrest, but he said the incident was a "bump in the road" that in no way diminishes Diaz' impressive accomplishments over the years.
A pre-trial conference has been set for Oct. 29 by Jude Wayne Miller. According to Diaz' attorney, a trial date is expected to be set for the 9th or 16th of November.
If Diaz is found guilty of driving under the influence, he faces a maximum penalty of nine months in jail.
Gov. Scott has yet to mention Diaz' arrest, and a spokesman said that the governor's legal office is reviewing the matter. County leaders doubt that Diaz will be suspended since the laws governing misdemeanor arrests require that such offenses be related to a commissioner's public position.
Are you facing DUI charges in Miami-Dade County? Our criminal lawyers are available 24/7, so contact our office without delay!