SEFFNER, Fla. (WFLA) – A Polk County K-9 deputy told a state trooper he knew the law and wasn’t driving before he was arrested for DUI, dash camera video of his arrest obtained by 8 On Your Side shows.
“I was not operating a vehicle. You didn’t pull me over. I know the law. I’m a deputy with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office,” Seth Morozowski said during field sobriety testing. “I was not even in the front seat of the vehicle when you showed up. I was in the back seat.”
Under Florida law, defendants do not have to be driving to be arrested for driving under the influence. Prosecutors must prove they were “in actual physical control of the vehicle.”
“You have to be in [the vehicle.] Secondly, you have to have the capability of operating the vehicle, not being in operation of it,” explained attorney Rusty Franklin, with The Franklin Law Firm.
Franklin is not involved with Morozowski’s case but reviewed it.
“Most of the time the actual physical control cases that I see that are going to be prosecuted and prosecuted aggressively is when the person is in the driver’s seat of the car,” said Franklin. “In this instance, there were allegedly two people in the vehicle, in the car, both of them were in the back seat. So that’s a unique issue in this case.”
At approximately 2:30 Saturday morning, a Florida Highway Patrol officer approached Morozowski’s pickup truck that was stopped on the side of I-4 in Seffner.
Morozowski was in the back of the truck with a female, who also works at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
“I’m a deputy,” Morozowski tells the officer as he walks out. “We went to Tampa and had some drinks.”
Morozowski has served with the sheriff’s office for 9 years and 2 months, according to a spokesperson.
Morozowski told the officer the keys were in the ignition of the truck.
He was taken into custody after some attempts at field sobriety testing at a nearby weigh station.
“You’re a deputy. You should know better,” the officer said to Morozowski.
“But I’m not intoxicated,” replied Morozowski.
On the ride to jail, Morozowski told the officer how much he had to drink.
“I think I had two Jameson diets and I had a beer in about 2 hours,” he said.
At the jail, Morozowski’s blood alcohol content level was .212 and .209, according to his arrest report.
According to the arrest report, the female passenger told officers Morozowski drove the pair from Tampa, where they both had been drinking.
“The defendant experienced several mood swings while awaiting the booking process to include blaming me for his impairment and potential loss of his job, to acknowledging that I was doing my job, to advising I should not work in Polk County because he would ensure no deputy would back me up if I needed help, and more,” wrote the FHP officer in the arrest report.
News Channel 8’s Staci DaSilva contacted Morozowski by telephone.
He declined to comment, directed DaSilva to his attorney and hung up. He did not provide a name or phone number for his attorney.
Morozowski is on paid suspension pending termination proceedings, the sheriff’s office said.
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