Pasco land developer J.D. Porter entered a plea of no contest to a lesser charge of reckless driving Wednesday morning in a Dade City courtroom.
Porter, 34, was arrested on the evening of Feb. 17 by a Florida Highway Patrol trooper on Mansfield Road, and charged with DUI and refusal to take a breath test. The DUI charge was reduced to reckless driving, while the refusal to take a breath test was dropped, according to Porter’s lawyer A.R. “Chip” Mander III.
Porter, a member of the family developing Wiregrass Ranch in Pasco County, was fined $500 and must serve six months probation in addition to paying $376 in court costs. He also must complete 50 hours of community service. During his probation, County Judge William F. Sestak said he is to have no alcohol and must attend and complete a DUI school. Porter could have received 90 days in the county jail.
Porter declined to comment following the proceedings.
About 6:45 p.m., troopers said Porter, of 34038 Triple Crown Court in Dade City, was driving his white SUV east on State Road 56 when he made a U-turn in the grass median just east of Mansfield Road.
Following the U-turn, the trooper activated his patrol car's lights. Porter pulled to the side of the road momentarily, then drove further off the roadway to the entrance of a ranch, according to the arrest report.
The trooper described Porter as “out of it” in the report. And said he smelled alcohol on Porter’s breath.
A search of the SUV by two other troopers revealed “several” guns in the vehicle, the report said.
He was released the following morning after posting a $150 bond.
Porter has been arrested three times in a span of two years in alcohol-related incidences. He was charged with a DUI in May 2011 and pleaded no contest to a lesser charge of reckless driving. He received a one-year supervised probation and 50 hours of community service. He also completed DUI school in that case.
Weeks after a July 4, 2012, arrest, in which deputies detailed an alcohol-fueled fight with his girlfriend, charges from that arrest were dropped by the State Attorney’s Office.