Articles Posted in DUI

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A suspected drunken driver hit five middle school students as they walked home from the bus stop last month. One student later died of his injuries.

A witness at the scene pointed out the car that had allegedly just crashed into the children.

The black vehicle had hit another car about 4,000 feet (1,219.2 meters) down the road. The driver then stumbled out of the vehicle. A woman who was four months pregnant was injured in that crash, according to authorities.

The 48-year-old was arrested. He is apparently a former police officer.

Officials said a 13-year-old died of his injuries at an Orlando hospital. Another child was in intensive care with orbital fractures. Three other children suffered minor injuries.

The man arrested has made his first appearance in court. He faces 11 charges, including DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide. He was being held on $600,000 bail.

Regardless of the situation, a car accident that results in a death is always traumatic. Adding a DUI charge to this just exacerbates the situation. DUI manslaughter charges can be confusing, which is why you need to get legal help right away. It is imperative that you understand the charges you are facing, what the consequences are, and what defense options are available to you.

Yes, a DUI manslaughter conviction can result in severe penalties. However, please understand that there are ways to defend yourself. Knowing your defense options are crucial. If you or a loved one is facing a DUI manslaughter charge in Polk County, you need to consult with a Polk County Criminal Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton as soon as possible. We are former prosecutors so we are armed with the knowledge and experience you need to achieve a successful outcome from DUI manslaughter charges.

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A man arrested after a fatal crash New Year’s Day in 2013, which killed one passenger and seriously injured two others, was found guilty Tuesday of multiple charges.

The 23-year-old man was found guilty of DUI manslaughter and two counts of driving under the influence with serious bodily injury.

The man was driving down Beach Boulevard with three other people in the vehicle after leaving a New Year’s Eve party when he lost control of the vehicle while attempting to make a right turn.

He struck a metal pole, which fatally injured a 20-year-old passenger. The other two passengers suffered serious injuries, but recovered. The investigation revealed that the man was intoxicated, with a blood alcohol level of .178.

He faces up to 25 years in prison. He will be sentenced the week of Oct. 31.

No matter what the situation, a car accident that results in a death is always a tragedy. Adding a DUI charge to this just makes the situation that much worse. Knowing what to do after you have been charged with DUI manslaughter can be confusing if you do not seek the legal help you need. It is crucial that you understand the charges you are up against, the potential consequences, and your viable defenses.

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A 16-year-old Winter Springs teen was arrested Thursday on charges of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide in a crash that claimed the life of an 18-year-old friend, according to Winter Springs police.

The teen was driving east on Shepard Road near Lisa Loop about 4:45 a.m. Aug. 27 when he lost control of the car, which left the road and hit a tree.

The passenger, died.

The teen allegedly had bloodshot eyes and slurred speech. The teen’s blood-alcohol content was apparently over the legal limit for Florida drivers.

It should also be noted that people younger than 21 cannot legally consume alcohol.

The teen was going at least 75 mph in a 25 mph zone.

The teen was booked into the Seminole County Juvenile Assessment Center on Thursday afternoon.

There are defenses in DUI manslaughter cases, which our Seminole County Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can use. Even if the evidence stacked against you seems overwhelming, there are certain circumstances that could lead to such evidence being thrown out of court.

Being charged with DUI manslaughter is a very serious offense that will forever impact your life if convicted. Florida is one of those states that imposes strict DUI laws to deter drivers from driving drunk, and these penalties are enhanced on a regular basis.

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According to the Florida Highway Patrol, an officer with the Orlando Police Department was arrested this past weekend in Manatee County for DUI and hit-and-run.  

FHP claims that on Saturday, troopers investigated a hit-and-run accident involving two unattended parked cars at 7085 46th Ave. W. in Bradenton.

Reports indicate that the cop was stopped in the area after a Manatee County deputy observed him swerving on the roadway. Troopers said he was off-duty and driving his personal vehicle.

During the investigation, troopers allege they were able to link the DUI and hit-and-run to the police officer.

He was arrested and charged with DUI and hit-and-run.

The Orlando Police Department said the man has been with the force since 2012 and is assigned to the midnight patrol. Reports indicate that the man has been relieved of his law enforcement duties, credentials and firearms pending an internal investigation.

Anyone can be charged with DUI, as this case shows. Your actions following a DUI arrest are critical to the outcome of your case, and it is very important to obtain legal help as soon as possible. There are various defenses available for a DUI charge, and if used successfully, these defenses could lead to a reduction or even dismissal of charges.

While there are numerous defenses available, two that are often brought up involve the reason behind the stop and the method used to test the driver’s BAC. In order for a DUI stop to be legal, police must must have a legal reason to make a stop before administering tests to determine the driver’s BAC levels. If the officer cannot provide a reason for stopping the driver, the stop itself may be illegal and the charges could very well be dismissed.

If the stop is legal, then it is very important to assess the process that was used to determine the driver’s BAC. It must be evaluated that the right method was used and that the sample was analyzed properly.

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Thanksgiving is a time of year when families get together to celebrate memories and honor traditions. However, this is also the time of year when law enforcement agencies gear up to catch drunk drivers on our roadways.

Most law enforcement agencies, receive federal grants to increase their staffing levels during the holiday season, which typically begins with the four-day Thanksgiving weekend and continues to New Year’s Day. Arrests for DUI are highest during this time period.

The following are a few tips that may prove helpful to avoid a Thanksgiving DUI:

  1. Do not drink and drive. If you have been drinking, call a cab, a friend or use a ride share app like Uber or Lyft to get home safe. If you know you will be drinking, designate a sober driver to take you home.
  2. If you are pulled over, do not talk to law enforcement about where you were or what you were doing. Remember, you have the right to remain silent until you have your lawyer present.
  3. If you are involved in an accident, stop immediately and remain at the scene. Do not admit to anything and request to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.
  4. Do not fall asleep inside your vehicle. You could get arrested if the officer observes that you have the keys in the ignition or if the engine is running.
  5. Drive cautiously. Police will be closely monitoring motorists for any mistakes they make. In particular, they will be on the lookout for motorists who may be driving too fast or too slow, or running red lights or failing to stop at stop signs.

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This Saturday, Tampa Bay will be celebrating the 2014 Gasparilla Pirate Fest. This day-long celebration welcomes the public to partake in a spectacular parade and festival inspired by Jose Gaspar. This annual festival accommodates more than 300,000 people every year, which results in large crowds of rowdy and excited guests.

While a fun time, it is important to remember that as with most things, larger crowds usually means more arrests for various violations. Reports from earlier Gasparilla Parades recount numerous arrests for open container violations, as well as various citations for civil infractions. Arrests for alcohol-related criminal offenses are also very high this weekend, particularly for disorderly conduct, DUI, Boating Under the Influence and underage drinking.

8431098388_181f4bc534_zDuring this Gasparilla weekend, it is very important  to practice safety in order to avoid a potential arrest. It can be quite helpful to prepare your agenda for the day ahead of time and make all necessary arrangements to get home safely at the end of the night. You can protect yourself as well as the safety of others by following the guidelines provided by the City of Tampa.

  1. Plan your day in Advance. Save time by planning where you will park and familiarize yourself will the street closures so that you can map your route there accordingly.
  2. Pick a meeting place for friends and family. By selecting a spot ahead of time, you and the rest of your party can know where to go in the event you get separated.
  3. Know the “Wet Zones.” The parade route does allow participants to drink alcohol openly, but only from select vendors selling along the route. Keep in mind that no coolers, kegs or open containers are allowed elsewhere on the streets. Police are stressing that no glass containers of any kind are permitted.

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You want to avoid getting arrested for DUI in Florida on New Year’s Eve and “becoming a statistic.” New Year’s Eve is a holiday that it is both cause for celebrating and relaxing. After the stress of getting ready for Christmas, people usually take this time to enjoy the end of the holiday season and contemplate their goals for the new year. However, because this is the last holiday of the year, there tends to be an increased number of people who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Listed below are several tips to help drivers avoid a DUI this New Year’s Eve.

  1. Limit Drinks

If you are at a party that has an open bar, and you know you are driving, know exactly how many drinks you are having so that you can watch your personal limit. Remember that once you start drinking it can be difficult to stop yourself from having too many. Be mindful of the exact amount you have had to drink.

  1. Call a Cab or Uber or Lyft

Public transportation can save many people from DUI-related accidents and arrests. Save the number of a local cab company in your phone, use a ride share app on your phone or attend parties or social gatherings close to a bus route.

  1. 15958303240_5a5181cc2a_zDon’t Go Solo

Don’t go to a party or social gathering by yourself. Bring along at least one other friend and make sure to determine who the designated driver is for the entire group before any alcohol is consumed.

  1. Eat!

While many people have New Year’s resolutions about weight loss, New Year’s Eve is one of those nights where you should eat. Food fills the stomach, making less room for alcohol. Try to snack on foods like meats or dark chocolate, which are known to keep you fuller longer.

  1. Offer Alternative Drinks

If you are hosting a party, include “mocktails,” sodas, punch, or even just water on your drink menu.

  1. Make Accommodations for Guests

If you know your guests have a far trip ahead of them, arrange for them to stay with you or at a nearby hotel. That way, no one drives home drunk.

  1. Leave the Party Early

New Year’s Eve is one of the busiest nights of the year. You can expect delays for taxis and other modes of public transportation, so be prepared. Leaving your party or social gathering early can also ensure that you get home safely and at a reasonable hour.

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is urging all party-goers to recognize that Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving this Halloween. As with all other holiday weekends, Halloween can bring about an increase in parties and celebrations in Florida and across the United States. Sadly, this also means that there will be an increase in drunk driving related injuries and deaths. Because of this, law enforcement officials are expected to be out in full force on Halloween night all across the state of Florida.

If you plan on drinking this Halloween, make sure to designate a sober driver before hitting the town. Consuming even just “a few” drinks could still place you over the legal limit. You do not want to place innocent trick-or-treaters and other roadway users in danger. Avoid drinking and driving entirely. Police will be ready to pounce if they believe they spot a drunk or buzzed driver, so save yourself the terrifying ride to jail and the horrifying costumed mug shot as well.

11064883376_6771bd6c4a_zHalloween Drunk Driving Facts

  • Nearly half of all car crash fatalities on Halloween night involved a drunk driver in 2012.
  • In 2012, 26 people were killed in car accidents involving drunk drivers on Halloween night.
  • In 2012, 10,322 people were killed in drunk driving crashes across the nation, accounting for a third of all traffic crash fatalities for the year.
  • Young drivers between the ages of 21 and 34 years old make up the largest group of drunk drivers involved in fatal collisions.
  • In 2012, 18 percent of all drivers under the age of 21 involved in fatal crashes were impaired.

The best way to make sure your Halloween is happy and safe is to be smart and stay sober if you plan on driving. Just one drink can be one too many – buzzed driving is still drunk driving. If you plan on consuming any amount of alcohol, make sure you have a safe ride home lined up. Pre-program a cab company’s number into your phone or make plans with a designated driver.

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Former Saturday Night Live funnyman Chris Kattan received his sentence six months after he was arrested on suspicion of a DUI.

The 43-year-old comedian is required to pay a $500 fine, attend a three-month alcohol program, 104 Narcotics Anonymous classes, and will be on probation for the next three years, according to reports. Moreover, he is banned from driving with any drugs in his system, unless he has a valid prescription, and has been ordered to participate in the Hospital and Morgue Program, which is designed to show people the potential tragic consequences of their reckless behavior.

The Night at the Roxbury star was arrested in mid-February early in the morning after he crashed his Mercedes into a Department of Transportation vehicle that was parked on the side of a Los Angeles freeway doing maintenance work. While no one was injured in the accident, Kattan did fail a field sobriety test and was arrested and booked into the Van Nuys jail. He was released a short time later on a $15,000 bond.

7th Annual Chrysalis Butterfly Ball - Red CarpetSince receiving his sentence, Kattan has not commented on the incident.

The case is not completely settled just yet. Next month, a restitution hearing will be held to determine how much money Kattan owes the state for damage to the truck he hit.

DUI charges for driving under the influence of drugs are usually treated just the same as DUI charges stemming from alcohol use. There is one difference between the two, which is how police measure impairment. For an alcohol-related DUI, police usually measure a driver’s blood alcohol concentration using a Breathalyzer device or blood test and then compare the results to the legal limit, 0.08 percent. For a drug-related DUI, the methods law enforcement uses to determine impairment is much more subjective.

Police commonly rely on observations made during field sobriety tests, which allows an officer to observe a suspected DUI driver’s attention level, state of mind, balance, physical ability and other factors that the officer then will use to decide whether the suspect is impaired. While the presence of drugs can be found using blood tests, the existence of drugs in a person’s blood stream may not solely be an indicator that a person was driving under the influence of the substance.

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Disney Channel star Billy Unger was arrested over the weekend on suspicion of drunk driving after he was stopped in his Nissan Altima on Pacific Coast Highway, according to authorities.

Unger is best known for his role on the Disney sitcom “Lab Rats.”  He was reportedly going 65 mph in a 45 mph zone on PCH around 12:10 a.m. Saturday when he was pulled over near Las Tunas Beach, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office.

The arresting officer approached the 18-year-old actor’s Altima and claims he could immediately smell the odor of alcohol.

nissan keyThe officer also alleges that Unger’s eyes were bloodshot and watery.

Unger’s blood alcohol level was reportedly 0.08, right at the legal limit for an adult, and he allegedly did not pass a sobriety test. He was immediately arrested for suspicion of drunk driving.

Unger was later issued a citation and released on his own recognizance, which is standard procedure in DUI cases.

The detective did mention that Unger was very cooperative.

Unger issued the following statement Monday on Twitter:

“As I move forward responsibly in this matter, I simply ask the public, and more importantly my fans, to reserve judgment and allow the opportunity for me to address this issue properly through the legal system.”

When a driver under the age of 21 is pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol in Florida, they can be charged with DUI if their blood alcohol content is .02 percent or higher. While the legal limit for driving for those over the age of 21 is .08 percent, Florida has a strict zero tolerance policy for underage drivers that choose to get behind the wheel of a car after drinking.

If you are charged with underage drinking and driving, you face a license suspension. For any underage driver that submits to a breath test and blows a .02 or higher, their driver’s license will be suspended for six months with a 30 day hard suspension following a first time DUI arrest. This means that the driver cannot drive anywhere for any reason for those 30 days. Following the hard suspension period, the driver may be able to obtain a hardship license for “business purposes only” or for “employment purposes only.” Now, if the underage driver refuses to submit to a breath, blood or urine test then their driver’s license will be suspended for one year with a 90 day hard suspension.

Additionally, if you are arrested for underage drinking and driving and your blood alcohol content was .05 percent or higher then you must complete a DUI program.

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