A 36-year-old Volusia County sheriff’s deputy was charged with DUI Saturday night after an off-duty crash in his personal vehicle in Daytona Beach.The man faces several charges, according to Sheriff’s Office, including DUI, two counts of DUI with property damage and three counts of DUI with injuries.

The crash was reported just after 7 p.m. at Williamson Boulevard and Dunn Avenue.

Three vehicles were involved, and three people were transported to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries as a result of the crash.

The sheriff’s deputy was not among those injured.

The Daytona Beach Police Department investigated the crash.

The sheriff’s deputy was placed on administrative leave with pay effective immediately.

A DUI arrest must be taken seriously, especially when injuries have occurred from a crash. Florida is one of the most aggressive states in the nation in promoting laws aimed at combating the devastating impact of drunk driving. Prosecutors seek harsh penalties for DUI offenders. If you or someone you know is arrested for DUI resulting in serious bodily injury, you need a Florida DUI Defense Lawyer on your side to help mitigate the consequences of your arrest.

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New Year’s Eve is a time to celebrate the start of a new year! While we want you to start your New Year off with a bang, we don’t want 2018 to start behind bars.

Alcohol-consumption at celebrations is a major contributing factor in increased drinking and driving and vehicle collisions during the holidays. Our Florida DUI Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton have compiled a list of simple ways to avoid a DUI arrest this NYE.

  1. Don’t drink and drive! Buzzed driving is still considered drunk driving and you don’t have to be at Florida’s legal Blood Alcohol Content limit of .08 to get arrested. Slight impairment can be reached with just one or two drinks, especially when you factor in your size and weight and how much alcohol you’re consuming in each drink. If you’re  under the influence of alcohol and get behind the wheel, you could be charged with a DUI. Police officers prove impairment through observations like the odor of alcohol, bloodshot or watery eyes, slurred speech, swaying or field sobriety tests. This means that a prosecutor does not need breath or blood results to bring DUI charges against you.
  2. Designate a sober driver. Choose a reliable person who either doesn’t drink or is responsible enough not to take even one sip of alcohol to be a designated driver. If you don’t have one, call a cab, use Lyft or Uber or any other means of safe transportation to get home in one piece.
  3. Stay the night at your friend’s party. Before you start drinking, ask if it’s okay to stay the night. Most hosts would rather have a house full of overnight party guests than have a bunch of drunk people on the road. We think waking up on your friend’s couch is much better than waking up in the drunk tank with DUI charges pending. Another Option is to book a room at a nearby hotel.

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If you are like millions of other Americans, you will likely be traveling somewhere over the Thanksgiving holiday. According to the annual AAA Travel Forecast, nearly 51 million people across the country will be traveling 50 miles or further. More congestion on the roadways is pretty much inevitable.

The holiday season is notorious for higher incidents of drunk driving. In fact, an average of 728 people will be injured or killed in a drunk driving accident daily from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day  according to the Center for Disease Control.

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is known as “Blackout Wednesday.” Thanksgiving Eve is quite popular for binge drinking due to the fact that most people do not have to work on Thursday. On that some note, college students will be heading home for a break with friends.

Everyone can benefit from following these safety tips, regardless of how far you will be traveling over the holidays:

  • Visibility is reduced at night, so try to travel during daylight hours.
  • Stay on top of traffic updates and anticipate heavy traffic areas. Be prepared for delays and use a GPS to find alternative routes if necessary.
  • Make frequent stops and rotate drivers to avoid fatigue.
  • Never drive if you are intoxicated. Designate a driver or make alternative plans.

Tampa Bay law enforcement will be out in full swing over the Thanksgiving holiday. Patrols will be increased and sobriety checkpoints will be set up in certain areas.

The simple solution to avoiding a DUI is to avoid driving when intoxicated. However, you can be stopped for other reasons. Even if you are under the legal limit, having had a drink could mean that you are subject to closer scrutiny. Additionally, driving under the influence of drugs or prescription medications can impair your driving. Be mindful of more than just alcohol this holiday season.

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18-year-old actor Ethan Cutkosky, who plays Carl Gallagher on the Showtime series “Shameless,” was arrested and booked for DUI Thursday in Los Angeles.

According to reports, Cutkosky was driving his orange BMW at around 10:30 PM and began to straddle the traffic lanes, which prompted cops to pull him over.

He allegedly performed poorly on field sobriety tests and was arrested on the spot.

It’s unclear if the DUI was drug or alcohol related.

The state of Florida takes a pretty hard stance on DUI arrests involving a person under the age of 21. In fact, the state has a “zero tolerance policy,” meaning a young person charged with DUI can face severe sanctions including jail time or incarceration, probation, fines, court costs, community service hours, and a driver’s license suspension.

For those under the age of 21 charged with DUI, Florida has enacted a zero tolerance legal limit of .02. This legal limit means that even one drink can put a driver over the legal limit.

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A Clearwater official was arrested last weekend after being accused of being drunk while driving a golf cart.

According to police, the man, who is the city’s community redevelopment agency director, drove the golf cart into outdoor tables at the Clear Sky Restaurant on Cleveland Street.

Authorities said the 38-year-old then grabbed a person by the neck who was filming the incident. The man then allegedly left the scene.

He was stopped a short distance later and eventually taken to the Pinellas County Jail but not booked.

Instead, he was entered into an Adult Pre-Arrest Diversion Program early Sunday, which allows adults arrested for low-level crimes to avoid jail by completing community service, counseling or drug treatment.

That would allow him to complete community service instead of jail.

However, the man has been placed on administrative leave. He has worked for the city since 2016.

A golf cart is considered a vehicle under Florida law, so driving one while drunk could result in DUI charges. In Florida, we are lucky to enjoy mild weather throughout the year, which enables many Floridians to take advantage of golfing in the winter months.  A round of golf with friends can include a few alcoholic beverages along the way, which could lead to legal consequences.

While most golf courses are on private property, driving a golf cart while under the influence of drugs or alcohol can result in DUI charges. Because a golf cart is considered a vehicle under Florida law, this means that you can actually be arrested after a day on the golf course for operating the golf cart while under the influence. Even if you weren’t on the golf course, many Floridians tool around in golf carts as an alternate mode of transportation, and you can still be arrested for DUI on a golf cart if you were outside a golf course.

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Halloween is today, so our Tampa Bay DUI Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton wanted to make sure we warn all residents to refrain from drinking and driving. A DUI arrest is no treat.

Police will be on the lookout for adults partying during the Halloween festivities. You may even notice an increase in police patrols and sobriety checkpoints in an effort to catch people driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Increased patrols and DUI checkpoints can yield huge results for police like DUI arrests, traffic citations and impounding vehicles. Whether you are stopped while driving or at a DUI checkpoint, it is very important for you to be aware of your legal options and rights. A DUI conviction may result in a loss of driving privileges, jail and fines.

When you are facing a DUI arrest on Halloween or at any time, it is vital that you act immediately and contact a Tampa Bay DUI Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton. During your free consultation with us, we will review all your legal options and make you aware of what needs to be done first. For instance, you have 10 days from the day of your arrest to contact the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles, or DMV. A hearing must be scheduled to retain your driving privileges until the matter is decided by the hearing officer, otherwise, your license will be suspended.

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Golfer Tiger Woods will plead guilty to reckless driving in South Florida for an incident back in May, and enter into a DUI diversion program.

Woods will enter the plea Friday for a May 29 arrest where officers found him unconscious in a parked car.

Woods has also agreed to enter into a diversion program for intoxicated drivers. He’ll spend a year on probation, pay a $250 fine and attend DUI school.

A toxicology report showed the 41-year-old Woods had the active ingredient for marijuana, two painkillers, a sleep drug and an anti-anxiety drug in his system when he was arrested. There was no alcohol, however.

Being ready for trial is always the best way to defend a DUI case, however, sometimes after pretrial negotiations, an alternative to a DUI plea can be reached. The most common plea that enables a DUI to be dropped is a reckless driving plea. There is a huge difference between a reckless driving charge and a DUI in Florida. DUI is an alcohol crime that stays on both your driving and your criminal records forever. Reckless driving is a non-alcohol specific traffic offense. If you are able to get your DUI charge dropped to a reckless driving charge, your record will show the DUI charges were dismissed and that you instead pled to the reckless driving traffic charge.

The biggest benefit to a reckless driving charge is that it carries no mandatory driver’s license suspension. Even a first time DUI charge can suspend your driver’s license for up to a year. This saves you the trouble of having to apply for a hardship license for some period of time and then paying the fees and taking the time to reinstate your driver’s license.

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A 32-year-old man was arrested on multiple charges early Friday after police said he crashed a U-Haul moving truck into a St. Pete Beach hotel.

According to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, the man drove the UHaul truck into the Hotel Zamora located at 3701 Gulf Boulevard just after midnight.  

Officials said the man then drove off from the area. He was arrested about two hours later.

When deputies arrived there was substantial structural damage to a hotel parking garage drop ceiling. Witnesses provided deputies with a description of the moving truck.

Shortly afterward, deputies stopped a 10 foot U-Haul truck with roof damage, driving north on Gulf Winds Drive at 64th Avenue in St. Pete Beach.

Officials said the man told them he attended a party at Hotel Zamora. After the party, the man was driving his passenger to her car in the parking garage when he struck the parking garage drop ceiling with the roof of the U-Haul truck.

The man apparently said he fled the scene and hid the truck in the area until deputies left the area. He said he was in the process of moving to Miami.

He is facing charges of leaving the scene of crash with property damage, one count of DUI, and one count of possession of a controlled substance (cocaine).

Operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol can lead to life-changing penalties. These charges are further complicated when a crash occurs resulting in property damage. A Tampa Bay DUI Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can make sure you understand your legal options and what to expect from the criminal justice system. We can walk you through every stage of the process, working with you to aggressively pursue your desired outcome.

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A 32-year-old woman is accused of crashing her car into another vehicle and then fleeing the scene with two boys in the back seat while driving under the influence, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

Just after 10:30 p.m. Friday, deputies responded to a hit-and-run crash near the intersection of Boynton Beach Boulevard and State Road 7. They apparently spoke to a driver who said his car was rear-ended and that the other driver headed south on State Road 7.

Eventually, a deputy found a red Nissan Altima stopped on the side of the road with front-end damage with the 32-year-old woman behind the wheel, according to the report. In the backseat were a 11-year-old and 7-year-old.

While speaking with the woman, the deputy allegedly noted a smell of alcohol on her breath and that her words were slurred and her eyes were glassy.

The woman apparently submitted to a Breathalyzer tests showing her blood-alcohol level was nearly double the legal intoxication limit of 0.08. Her first test was allegedly 0.150 and the second was 0.146, according to the report.

The woman faces charges including DUI, child neglect and hit and run. She was released Saturday from the Palm Beach County Jail on $6,000 bond.

Being charged with DUI in Florida can be the start of a never-ending nightmare. Depending on the circumstances, you could be facing a misdemeanor or felony charge. There are not many things that can make the situation worse in such an event, but one of them is if you had a child or children in the vehicle when you were pulled over.

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The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, along with Clearwater Police, Gulfport Police, Largo Police, St. Pete Police, and Tarpon Springs Police, conducted a DUI Wolf Pack Sunday night.

The DUI Wolf Pack was conducted throughout Pinellas County in an effort to reduce DUI related injuries, deaths, and property damage.

The results of the DUI Wolf Pack are:

Criminal Charges:

12 DUI

3 Possession of a Controlled Substance (Misdemeanor)

2 Possession of a Controlled Substance (Felony)

2 Driving While License Suspended and/or Revoked with Knowledge (Misdemeanor)

1 Resisting Arrest Without Violence

1 Refusal to Submit to Breath Testing

Total Charges – 21

Citations:

36 Speeding

1 No Valid DL

14 Driving While License Suspended and/or revoked with Knowledge

8 No Valid Insurance

1 Violation Driver’s License Restrictions

1 Open Container

33 Other Non-Moving Violations

27 Other Moving Violations

Total Citations – 121

The goal of a Wolf Pack is to educate drivers and create public awareness about the dangers of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and any chemical or controlled substances.

“Wolf Pack” is the name the Pinellas County Sheriff’s office has given these enhanced DUI operations. Their increased patrols were undoubtedly due to the Labor Day holiday. Any time there is  a long holiday weekend, it is safe to assume that police will be conducting DUI checkpoints in an effort to arrest any impaired drivers.

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