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Video: Public defender blows .21, tries to get out of DUI in Florida

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Feb. 07–An Orange County assistant public defender whose blood alcohol level registered at two-and-a-half times the legal limit asked the trooper who pulled him over not to arrest him, according to video of the Jan. 28 arrest.

“I’m one of the good ones. I am a good person,” said Derreck Quarles, 37, who was arrested on his birthday. He has been a member of the Florida Bar since September.

Quarles faces a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol after registering at .213 and .211 on a breath test. The legal limit in Florida is 0.08.

He was released on a $500 bond from the John E. Polk Correctional Facility in Seminole County, and his arraignment is set for Feb. 24.

Quarles will continue to handle his regular caseload, said Robert Wesley, public defender for the Ninth Judicial Circuit.

“As defense lawyers we believe in the presumption of innocence, letting the legal system run the full course and that people make errors,” Wesley said in an email. “My entire career I have sided with the notion that people can improve themselves, overcome bad choices and stupid acts and still have a seat at my table.”

Quarles repeatedly asked Trooper Deborah Hawkins to take him home, saying he wanted to help people and that he would not drive drunk in the future.

Hawkins declined, explaining that he was under arrest and that she was taking him to jail.

“I know it’s hard to see this now, but you can use this,” Hawkins said. “You know you can. You’ll be able to teach people.”

glotan@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5774

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