Articles Posted in DUI Serious Body Injury

A 23-year-old Hudson man was arrested and charged with DUI with property damage after he allegedly crashed into a home overnight.

According to FHP, the man was traveling northbound on Balsam Avenue approaching the intersection of Shadow Lake Boulevard around 2:20 a.m.

Troopers claim he failed to slow or stop and collided with a posted stop sign and then the front of a home on the 13000 block of Shadow Lake Boulevard.

The crash caused an estimated $75,000 worth of damage to the home and caused minor injuries to the 71-year-old occupant of the home.

The man is also facing careless driving charges.

The man was a probationary Sheriff’s County deputy in Pasco, working in corrections since 2013. He has resigned following his arrest.

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Charges against a 31-year-old St. Petersburg man accused in a fatal DUI crash have been upgraded now to DUI manslaughter.

The man faces these charges after the death of a woman who passed away late Monday at Bayfront Health St. Petersburg as a result of her injuries suffered in a traffic crash last weekend.

According to Pinellas Park police, the 34-year-old St. Petersburg woman and her boyfriend were driving just before 1 a.m. Sunday in the 4000 block of Park Boulevard in Pinellas Park when they were struck by a 2016 Toyota Corolla.

Deputies say the 31-year-old man  was drunk when he drove through a red light and struck the woman’s 2003 Toyota Camry.

The woman her boyfriend were rushed to the hospital, where the woman later died. The man remains in critical condition.

In addition to DUI manslaughter, the man is also facing two charges of DUI causing serious bodily injury.

Pinellas Park police said surveillance video from a nearby restaurant captured the crash.

The man refused field sobriety tests at the scene of the crash.

Pinellas Park police did force a blood draw on the man.

DUI manslaughter and DUI causing serious bodily injury cases are quite complex as there are numerous factors that must be addressed immediately. Our Tampa DUI Lawyers at Whittel & Melton are former prosecutors, so we know what types of issues these cases raised. We can examine the evidence with the hopes of answering the following questions:  

  • What was the cause of the accident?
  • Is there any proof of who was actually driving the vehicle?
  • Was your blood alcohol content above or below the legal limit? Was a blood, breath or urine test lawfully obtained by law enforcement?
  • Did your negligence cause the death of another person?
  • Were there any witnesses to the accident?
  • What do experts and accident reconstructionists have to say about the evidence?

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Drinking and driving in the great state of Florida has some pretty steep consequences.

Wallet Hub compiled a ranking of the strictest and most lenient states in the U.S. with DUI penalties and Florida took the No. 14 spot.

The strictest state in the country is Arizona, followed by Georgia, Alaska, Oklahoma and Nebraska while South Dakota, the District of Columbia, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Vermont were the most lenient.

According to the site, the data was found by examining 15 categories including minimum jail time, minimum fines, and average insurance rate increase after an arrest. The overall findings showed that the average fine for a first DUI is $347. Wallet Hub also reports that 92 percent of states “require offenders to equip their vehicles with Ignition Interlock devices after DUI.”

In Florida, there is no minimum jail time sentence for a first-time conviction. A second conviction mandates a 10 day minimum time. A DUI becomes a felony after the third offense with older DUI offenses factoring into penalties for up to 10 years.

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Debby Ryan, star of the Disney Channel show “Jessie,” was recently arrested for DUI.  

According to reports, the arrest happened sometime last week, when Ryan was driving around in Los Angeles. She allegedly hit a Mercedes and injured the driver.

When police arrived at the scene, they arrested the 22-year-old actress for felony DUI after she performed a sobriety test.  

Ryan allegedly blew a .11 — the legal limit is .08 — and the authorities dropped her arrest to a misdemeanor.

She’s has been released on bail, which was set at $100,000, but has been charged with driving under the influence and driving with a .08 blood alcohol level or higher.

Anyone can be charged with a DUI – and this case shows that even celebrities are not immune from being arrested. Even consuming just one or two drinks and getting behind the wheel could result in disastrous consequences. Alcohol affects every person’s body differently, so it is best to refrain from drinking and driving at all times.

A DUI arrest resulting from an accident can enhance the consequences of a conviction. If another person was injured, this further complicates the DUI charges. Instead of a misdemeanor offense you could be looking at a serious felony.

DUI charges are nothing to mess around with. Not only can these charges hurt your wallet, but they could cause you to lose your job, your driver’s license and possibly require jail time. The state of Florida takes DUI charges very seriously, and prosecutors look to make examples out of even first-time offenders. With that said, just because you have been charged with a DUI this does not mean you cannot beat these charges. Each DUI case is unique, and depending on the circumstances surrounding your arrest, our Florida DUI Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton may be able to help you achieve a successful outcome. In certain scenarios, it may be possible for the charges against you to be reduced or dropped altogether.

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St. Patrick’s Day is here! This holiday celebrates Irish heritage with food, green attire, music, dancing and, often, the consumption of alcohol. According to reports from the National Highway Safety Administration, St. Patrick’s Day sees one of the biggest increases in drunk driving arrests and accidents compared to the rest of the year. In fact, during the 2014 St. Patrick’s Day holiday period, more than 28 percent of all motor vehicle crash fatalities involved drunk drivers. Moreover, from 2010 to 2014, nearly three-fourths of the drunk-driving fatalities during this holiday period involved drivers who had blood alcohol contents (BACs) above the 0.08 limit. Of those crashes, 266 resulted in death.

If you are arrested for a DUI in Florida, you can face very harsh consequences. For a first offense, you could potentially serve time behind bars along with heavy fines, probation, suspension of your license and even the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device. DUIs that involve bodily injury or death are even more serious and carry even more severe consequences.

The increased number of drunk drivers on the road on St. Patrick’s Day not only leads to an increased risk of becoming involved in an accident, but also an increased chance of being arrested. Law enforcement is well aware that holidays lead to more DUIs. Because of this, they increase patrols and set up DUI checkpoints in hopes of catching anyone drunk behind the wheel. They are ready to make arrests, so be aware of this as you are out celebrating.

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If you have had one too many drinks and can’t drive home New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, AAA will give you and your car a ride home.

Through its “Tow to Go” program, which is geared towards limiting the number of drunken drivers on the road by providing free lifts on a tow truck, the company is offering free rides throughout Florida through New Year’s Day.

“Tow to Go is basically a safety net or a last resort for people who don’t have a plan in place when they are away from their home and celebrating,” said Tow to Go program spokesman Matt Nasworthy.

Those who may need a lift do not have to be AAA members, but the service is offered on the availability of AAA drivers and tow trucks.

If you need a ride, the service is confidential and a tow truck driver will take you to a safe location within a 10-mile radius of your location.

The rides are intended to be a last resort for people who do not have a safe way to get home. AAA recommends planning ahead and selecting a designated driver or using a cab before calling for a tow.

The program is funded by Anheuser-Busch Wholesalers, who have co-sponsored the program since its inception.

To request a free tow and ride from AAA, call 855-286-9246.

The program has been offered since 1998 in Florida, and has provided more than 24,000 rides to impaired drivers.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Florida had the third highest number of DUI-related fatalities in the nation in 2012. If you are found to be under the influence of alcohol and are in an accident, in addition to harsh criminal penalties, you could be held liable for all of the costs resulting from the collision. If a fatality does occur, you could be found at-fault in a potential wrongful death lawsuit along with the criminal consequences.

The average cost of a first time DUI can range up to $10,000, including fines, legal defense, and auto insurance increases. If you are going to be out celebrating this New Year’s Eve, be smart and refrain from drinking and driving.

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A central Florida woman has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for a fatal drunk driving collision.

The Volusia County judge sentenced the 44-year-old woman on Tuesday. Jurors found her guilty of the fatal DUI crash in October.

Authorities believe the woman was speeding in November 2012 when she rear-ended a 22-year-old woman, who was stopped at a red light.

The woman’s blood alcohol level after the crash registered at 0.152 percent, according to police. Florida law considers a driver impaired at 0.08 percent.

Car accidents can cause serious injuries in many ways, especially in rear-end collisions. However, when alcohol or drug use is involved, what could have been a simple car accident may become a serious felony criminal charge. In the state of Florida, a driver with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher, and who causes injuries in an accident may face charges of DUI Manslaughter.

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Around 40 million drivers will be travelling on the roadways over the long Thanksgiving weekend to spend time with family and friends. In fact, Thanksgiving weekend is the most travelled holiday period of the year. It is estimated that 418 people will lose their lives in motor vehicle collisions in the United States this Thanksgiving weekend, according to the National Safety Council.

For college students, Thanksgiving Eve is sometimes referred to as “Black Wednesday,” and it is unofficially known as the busiest bar night of the year, which means it is also the biggest drunk driving night of the year.

As many people celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, their celebration also includes the use of not just alcohol, but also drugs. Alcohol or drugs, or a combination of them, will put drivers at risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accidents that could kill or injure themselves as well as others.

It is important to mention that Florida has a Zero Tolerance policy for drivers under the age of 21. Any driver who is under 21 who is stopped by law enforcement officers and has a blood alcohol level of .02 or higher will automatically have his or her Florida driver’s license suspended for six months. There are many other devastating consequences that accompany a DUI conviction, including academic penalties as well as criminal consequences.

Avoid a DUI this Thanksgiving

There are a few tips that can be followed to prevent DUI injuries and deaths, including:

  • Plan a safe way to get home before heading out to your party
  • Before drinking, designate a sober driver
  • If you are intoxicated, please do not get behind the wheel of a car. Call a taxi, use public transportation, call a sober friend or family member, or even use a ride share app such as Uber or Lyft so that you are sure to get home safely.
  • Remember, Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk. Take the keys and help them make other arrangements to get where they are going safely.

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign is underway. From August 19 through September 7, 2015, the national drunk driving enforcement crackdown will run to increase awareness through public safety campaigns. Law enforcement agencies across the nation will be out in full force to catch drunk driving offenders.

This year, the NHTSA will be taking a multi-pronged approach to educational awareness. They will be using paid, earned and social media advertising outlets, as well as working with a variety of local resources across the country.

Drunk Driving: A Look At the Numbers

  • Around one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the U.S. involve drunk drivers.
  • In 2013, 10,076 people were killed in drunk driving crashes in the U.S.
  • On Labor Day weekend in 2013, there were 424 crash fatalities nationwide.
  • Nearly half of the 424 fatal crashes  in 2013 involved drunk drivers.
  • In 2013, an estimated 1 in 5 child passenger deaths happened in drunk-driving crashes.
  • Drunk driving crashes cost an estimated $49.8 billion annually.

Increased Enforcement of Drunk Driving Laws

In the upcoming weeks, local and state law enforcement agencies will be stepping up their drunk driving enforcement efforts. Expect to see an increased number of patrols out as well as more DUI checkpoints. Labor Day weekend is notorious for drunk driving offenders, so you can expect to see additional police units out and about looking for drunk drivers.

Do not risk a DUI or the lives of others. Always get a safe ride home.

Stay Safe Over Labor Day Weekend & Avoid a DUI Arrest

Labor Day Weekend can be especially dangerous for drivers in Florida and across the country. The NHTSA urges motorists to remember that buzzed driving is drunk driving. Even just one drink can be one drink too many. If you intend to celebrate with alcohol, always make a plan to get home safely. When in doubt, call a friend or a cab.

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The Fourth of July is just days away and people all over Tampa Bay will be planning to attend various celebrations, or perhaps planning one of their own. As is the case with other holidays, Fourth of July festivities often involve the consumption of alcoholic beverages. State and local law enforcement are aware of this fact, and you can definitely expect to see increased DUI patrols during this holiday weekend.

4428561177_831c2f9269_zThere are several things that you can do to reduce your risk of being arrested for DUI. Obviously, the most straightforward course of action is to refrain from drinking alcohol. However, there are perfectly responsible ways for Tampa area residents to enjoy alcohol this Independence Day. If you do choose to drink, here are a few ways to avoid a DUI arrest:

  • Plan ahead. Before heading out, make sure you have a plan on how you will be getting home safely.
  • Select a Sober Driver. If you are going out with a group of people, choose someone you can trust to act as the designated driver.
  • Use Public Transportation or a Rideshare Service. Tampa has a variety of public transportation options. You can always use a rideshare app such as Uber and Lyft as well. By leaving the driving to someone else, you will eliminate any risk of being accused of drunk driving.

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